Friday, August 5, 2011

Governments Not Helpful

We are now reduced to bemoaning the obvious fact that governments are powerless to do anything about the current economic trauma. Why do we think this way? Governments have never had any real power to spur economic growth. Mostly, governments just get in the way.

But, over the years, a largely ignorant media has trumpeted the idea that governments are the solution to economic problems and much of the public now looks to government to solve their economic problems. Gradually, it is sinking in that government may be the problem, not the solution.

It is appealing to look to government to solve all problems -- provisions for old age, health care, education, whatever. But, government solutions to these problems sap the vitality of the economic system and the energy of its citizenry. Folks stop saving; students quit taking education seriously, citizens overeat...why not? We are all victims. It's not our fault, says the media. Let the government rescue us from ourselves!

Only individual effort, in the long run, makes any real difference. That's what the Asian economies know. Look at the effort that Asian students put in to their educational pursuits. The top students at practically every American university have Asian last names. Why? Because these kids know that they must make that effort themselves. Government is not going to do it for them. But, Americans and Europeans don't see it that way. They are convinced that they have already done their heavy lifting and now they look to government to solve their problems and provide for them.

The President's almost childish faith in the role of the big government belies the reality that his policies have turned the most powerful economy the world has ever known into a pathetic shell of its former self. Admittedly, he has had a lot of help from his Republican colleagues. They too think the government can solve our problems. It was the Bush Administration that proposed the prescription drug bill, no child left behind, the TARP and many other counter-productive policies. So, you can't blame all of this on President Obama. He's just one of the crowd.

It's time to take a second look at why our culture has lost its punch. Too much government. Too much class warfare. Not enough making people responsible for themselves and their families. The Asians see this clearly and the future is theirs. We are witnessing an historic shift in power. Ironically, a county emerging from communism is pointing the way to individual initiative, while a country born in a commitment to the individual is surrendering itself to the clutches of the collective.

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