Sunday, April 5, 2009

Give us the money and we’ll see that it’s spent!

Webster’s dictionary defines “conservative” as “marked by moderation or caution”. I am conservative. America today is in dire need of some conservative thinking, not conservatism in a political sense (though that is historically where we find conservative thinking). America is having some difficulties; but the difficulties we are facing are no more daunting than those we have faced in the past. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d put the current challenge at a 5, maybe a 6.

Is any political party espousing truly conservative ideals?

The answer is an emphatic NO.

Both sides of the current debate are putting forward new ideas to solve the problem. Politicians should remember the adage that Ronald Reagan gave us, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” It is not a question of what government should do; government need do nothing. In fact, government “doing” will do nothing except exacerbate the current economic downturn.

How bad is the problem?

Unemployment is at 8.5%, not an historical high since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping track (the highest being 10.8% in November and December of 1982), which is almost double what it was two years ago. Having been directly affected by this increase, I feel what too many Americans are feeling right now. Americans are nervous about what is happening and they want it to stop. Unfortunately, far too many Americans believe that there is something that can be done. That there is some action that someone, somewhere can perform that will set things right; they think there is a solution in the same way that one can repair a mechanical object.
The economy is a vast, sprawling combination of interlocking assets that cannot be controlled. There is no magic control center that President Obama can step into and make some adjustments. There are numerous things that can happen when the government tinkers with the economy and most of them are bad. When governments invade a free market it ceases to be a free market. In order to succeed, the economy must be allowed to move through the normal cycles. There will be good times and there will be bad times, but the market will do what it does: trend upward.

So, why did I begin with defining conservative?

As citizens we must force our elected representatives to move slowly, cautiously away from anything to do with the economy. They should slowly move out of subsidizing businesses that have not changed their thinking since Eisenhower was in office. If your business goes bankrupt, it did so for numerous reasons that have nothing to do with government subsidies. If your business goes bankrupt it is because you failed to meet the needs of the consumer.
General Motors has not built cars that appeal to enough consumers in order to keep their business afloat. That’s it. It doesn’t take a degree in economics from Harvard to tell you that if people don’t buy your cars, you must either change the cars you are making or go out of business. It isn’t in the best interest of the people for OUR government to prop up a failing business. If Joe the Plumber goes down, there is no government subsidy to prop him up. That sucks if you’re Joe the Plumber, but that’s the way the free market works. Build something people want and they will buy it; don’t and they won’t.

Capitalism is often termed as cold-hearted. That is something we teachers call personification: giving something the attributes of a person. Capitalism is an economic system that flourishes when left alone in a free society. People lose jobs, people create jobs, people make money, people lose money. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. The word “Capitalism” is just a label. It doesn’t have it in for anyone.

Let’s look at something that every American knows about: Television. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. How many hours does the average person spend watching PBS? PBS is great. I love many of the shows. The best number I could find states that PBS has a 1.7 share as its highest program. That show would not last a minute on commercial television. But at the primarily government funded network, that’s the star! Commercial television gives us what we want, even if it is Jerry Springer and the trailer trash trio. One need only look at FOX News to see how the viewers preferences will eventually win out.

So Americans, here is what you need to do:

First: Relax! The economy will correct itself eventually. It will take longer if the President continues to meddle, but correct itself it will.

Second: Lead a new revolution through the ballot box. Vote out those with no fiscal responsibility, be they Democrat or Republican, and send people to Washington that will cut taxes. Consumer spending is what drives recovery. To paraphrase Churchill: Give us the money and we’ll see that it’s spent!

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