Monday, October 25, 2010

A Letter I Wrote

One of the regular contributors to the local opinion column in our daily newspaper is an older woman whose politics are unabashedly left of center.  Earlier this year she wrote an essay on the economic recession and what was required to get the economy growing again.  She called for "grit and cooperation needed to reverse the current economic tsunami" and chastised those on the right who weren't interested in additional, federal "help" of the sort that had been dished out already.  I wrote a letter in reply, but never sent it on to the paper.  I stumbled across a copy of it earlier this week and liked what I had written.  Here it is:

Ms. S refers to the "grit and cooperation needed to reverse the current economic tsunami," and I agree, grit is required.  But not the grit to pass legislation that edges this country ever closer to a grim, nanny state where the fortunes of personal and corporate industry depend on their ability to suck up to and please their overlords in the federal government.  Car czars, climate czars, banking czars--are you kidding me?  Czars?

The grit that is required is the grit that will remake the country not in Barack Obama's far-left, utopian image, but largely in its original image, where grit implied the personal wherewithal to take care of ones self--to rise up through learning, not indoctrination, through creativity and invention, not confiscation, and through hard work, not envy.

Ms. S also references "great hypocrisy in knocking federal help."  Yes, it would be difficult for an elderly person who depends on Social Security checks to refuse them.  But all of these dependencies--on welfare, unemployment insurance, Medicare, Social Security, school lunches--are in many cases simply behaviors that have been learned as a result of incentives created by the government itself.  If none of those programs ever existed, would we miss them?  Not in my book; we would instead act differently in accordance with the incentives.  This is not to say that the available services and safety nets are not welcomed and appreciated by those who use them, but if schools didn't serve lunch (I grew up in Canada, where they didn't, and they still don't), would children go hungry?, or would they carry a paper bag to school with a peanut butter sandwich, two cookies, and an apple?

The incentives contained in Barack Obama's vision of America are those that will create increased dependency, class warfare, racism, and a lowered standard of living for all.  To avoid all this, and to "reverse the current economic tsunami", the culture of dependency must shrink, not grow.