Saturday, April 13, 2013

Once Upon A Time

The American dream was, once upon a time, the idea that if you worked hard, postponed consumption, saved your money and invested it, you could live whatever lifestyle that you wanted.  The flip side was that if you failed, you paid the price for that failure.  That idea fueled the economic engine that made American the wealthiest country in the world.  Millions of people came to America, because of the freedom that the American dream represented -- the freedom to be who you wanted to be without the heavy hand of the government telling you what you could or could not dream.

We are now embarked, along with our friends in Europe, upon the journey to the American nightmare.  Political struggles, both in Europe and the US, are degenerating into class warfare, pitting higher incomes against lower incomes, and producing economies that no longer grow.  Massive unemployment is becoming accepted and commonplace.  The Eurozone unemployment rate exceeds 12 percent and American workers are leaving the work force to enjoy that leisure that an over-abundant "safety net" provides.

Freedom includes the freedom to fail, the freedom to make mistakes, the freedom to pay the price of your failure and your mistakes.  Once upon a time the discipline that was imposed by the freedom to fail provided the necessary incentives to succeed.  Taking away the freedom to fail with the heavy hand of government takes away the freedom to succeed.  It is not only the "too big to fail" that is the problem, it is the "too politically correct to fail" as well that eliminates the freedom necessary to make an economy successful.