Capitalist America, to Be or Not to Be Free
According to Barack Obama, the Democrat party and Occupy Wall Street, society’s ills are primarily the fault of the entrepreneurial class. The rich and greedy. Those evil corporations who sap the life blood out of working class men and women. For maximum profit. Servants to the god of mammon, capitalists defraud their workers of time and energy compensating them only as much as required to keep their work force at work and generating fat profits for the fat cats. The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Business owners obscenely profiting off of the noble sweat of their enslaved and powerless labor force. The exploitation of the common man.
This is the worldview of the liberal/progressive. The socialist, Marxist and anti-capitalist. And the President of the United States.
As the world’s foremost anti-capitalist, Barack Obama promises to punish “the rich.” Though the top 1% of Americans pay 37% of America’s tax revenue, Obama claims they should pay more. They should “pay their fair share.” As defined by Obama.
Instead of celebrating achievers as examples to follow, Obama has spread a malignant contagion of class warfare, deep resentment and good old fashioned envy. This manipulation of the darker side of human nature is the most sinister and ruthless kind of political tactic. Turning brother against brother. Blaming “the haves” and inciting the “have-nots.” Scapegoating is nothing new. Class envy and racial hatred are tried and true tools of despots and dictators. The world has seen this drama played out before. In Turkey, Germany, Cambodia and Bosnia. With horrific consequence.
Since William Bradford introduced market forces into the Plymouth Colony, America has been the land of capitalism. And capitalism favors the industrious. The risk-takers. The American economy was designed to provide a greater reward to those who innovate, invest, build, develop, create and hire. And when success is achieved, all Americans benefit.
Early American entrepreneurs grew the economy and in the process, grew the new nation. They provided innovative products and services. They created jobs and in some cases entire new industries. As a result of their efforts, tax revenues increased as the employers, employees, vendors, consumers and investors all participated in free market capitalism. The positive ripple effect in America and throughout the world is hard to overestimate.
This is the economic template that built America. And it can build America again.
But, business owners today face a grim reality. Innovation, risk-taking, investment, growth and hiring used to result in higher profits. Profits, of course, being the incentive for being in business in the first place. Higher profits resulted in further investment and growth. More jobs. More production. More profits. Leading to more investment, growth and jobs. It’s a neat little cycle. And it works. However, with Obama’s promise to increasingly “tax the rich,” there is no incentive to grow and increase profits. With the burden of Obamacare and the punitive costs associated with compliance, there is no incentive to hire more employees. Businesses and business owners want to grow. But, they will not invite punishment.
These thoughts have been clearly expressed by big and small business owners alike. Steve Wynn, Las Vegas casino mogul, was very clear in July of this year when he said, “… I’m telling you that the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.” Small businessman Bill Looman, the owner of U.S. Crane LLC, gained recent notoriety as he proclaims loud and clear from his company trucks, “We are not hiring until Obama is gone.”
Such is the world of Ayn Rand’s famous 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged. As the Atlas of Greek Mythology bore the world on his shoulders, Rand’s novel portrays business owners and entrepreneurs holding up the financial world while simultaneously supporting the non-productive members of society. Her words seem prophetic as she describes a world where the job-creators have finally had enough. Punished by excessive taxation and regulated to the point of extinction, the producers of society go on strike. Ceasing production, eliminating jobs and bringing the economy to its knees.
So, what if today’s producers and job-creators decided to slow down or stop producing? What would happen if American entrepreneurs and business owners refused to take risks, spend money, expand their businesses and hire new employees? The unemployment rate would shoot up. Jobs would be in short supply. Production would diminish. Construction jobs would grind to a halt. The economy would slow to a crawl. Tax revenues would diminish. State, county and city governments would struggle to meet their obligations. Some would be pushed into default. The federal government, given the ability to print money out of thin air, would continue to spend indiscriminately. Federal printing presses would go into overdrive, increasing the money supply and eventually resulting in massive inflation. Rapidly climbing food and energy prices would hurt those least able to afford it. Welcome to America, 2011. Like Rand’s Atlas, American businesses are beginning to shrug.
The reason is clear. Business owners and entrepreneurs are afraid. Of the President of the United States. And they have good reason. Obama is a socialist. A Marxist. A redistributionist. He lives and breathes “social justice.” His core beliefs are at odds with the economic structure and foundational truths that made America the greatest economic power in world history. And he’s not going to change.
And that’s the problem. American businesses do not face a problem of “uncertainty” as is often claimed. The problem is, they are quite certain about the future they face under Barack Obama. Punishing taxes and burdensome regulations. A future of government intrusion and interference in the free market. A future where government exacts such harsh penalties for doing business that it squelches the entrepreneurial drive and creates a disincentive for any new businesses or ideas to be born.
As a capitalist nation, the U.S. economy does indeed rest on the shoulders of those brave adventure seekers among us. Those bold innovators who choose to risk their time, energy, ingenuity and capital in pursuit of profit by producing something that the world wants and needs and at a price that the world is willing to pay.
As the American economy teeters on the brink of depression, American businesses wait and watch. The presidential election of 2012 will be the tipping point for the American economy. If Barack Obama wins a second term as President of the United States, capitalism will be fighting for its very survival. If capitalism cannot survive in America, it cannot survive anywhere for long. And where capitalism cannot survive, political freedom cannot exist.
“The record of history is absolutely crystal clear. There is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.” –Milton Friedman