The View From 1776

The Fourth of July and The United States of America

Reader Jan Paul Burr reminds us that it ain’t what it used to be.


By Jan Paul Burr

The United States of America is a name that for most of us, brings to mind the beginnings of a great nation. It stirs our emotions when we think of all the great things that this nation was involved in. We saw millions come to our shores in flight from poverty, oppression and starvation. Our nation gave them opportunities they had never seen before.

But, for many here, now, this nation is not the nation of opportunity they seek. They want a nation were “fairness” reigns supreme. They want a nation where government levels out the playing field so things aren’t so hard for those with less skills or money than others. They want socialism where the wealthy and business carry the burden of financing our government and social programs.

Oh, they dress it up with words like “progressive” and “liberal” and tell people that it will be “fair”. They promise things that sound like utopia. And, how will they do all these wonderful things?

They say they will do it through government at the Federal Level and the Federal Court system, for the most part. We have seen 70 years of their efforts so far and so maybe it is time to look at how well they are doing.

One of the best places to look is Social Security, since it is what they brag has been their crowning glory. It is a good example of how well almost all of their policies work. What started as a low tax, simple program, that would help those who didn’t save or prepare for retirement and the setbacks on the road to retirement, developed into a monster. Even FDR envisioned a time when the program would be funded in a manner that the flow of money into the system would be for the worker’s future retirement, not current retirees’ benefit checks.

Over the 70 years the program has existed, we have seen 20 tax increases, 11 times the system failed to have inflow meet outflow, and the payment of benefits that is nothing but wealth redistribution. We see 90% of earnings up to the meager $606 income level count toward your benefit check. Try living on that.

From $607 to $3,653, you only get to count 32%. Try living on 32% of what you make. Above that, you only get to count 15%. Name one investment you make where you pay in for a future withdrawal at retirement and they only let you count 15% of what you pay in. But, that is how socialism works.

What we find is that just 4% of your salary invested in bonds like those in the two bond funds found in the Thrift Savings Program that 11 million people use, returns as much at retirement as a low wage earner gets from social security and he also has a couple of hundred thousand dollars to leave his family.

Now, it is bad enough that you pay your share in but, the 7.625% the Company pays in and which is added to the price of their goods and services is passed on to you to pay as well. In other words, you pay and pay and pay under socialism to get back some of what you paid in.
When you look at how our social programs are funded, we find that we, the working men and women of this nation, not only pay, in prices for what we buy, for all the programs but, pay the cost of collecting the taxes for all those programs, as well. We not only end up paying for them but, the cost of collecting those taxes from business and the tax, itself, often puts the price of goods and serviced above the level of competition.

Therefore, we not only pay more but, lose jobs as well. In our last job growth report, 75,000 jobs were created. But, in that report were another 18,000 jobs lost in manufacturing and 10,000 lost in high tech employment because we can’t compete with India, Ireland, China, Korea, “new” Europe and other places. Why?

It is simple. We can’t compete because those old socialist nations went back to the principles of capitalism and rewarding individual effort and placing the responsibility for social programs more directly on the working men and women. While we were moving deeper into socialism and losing jobs and creating virtually stagnant wages, they were growing tax revenues at the same time wages have been rising. While they were creating tax systems so simple it was hard to cheat on them, we were adding pages to the over 60,000 pages of tax code and tax rulings our businesses have to comply with.

Often we hear someone say how we have high wages and they have low wages. But, seldom do you hear it put in terms of buying power. Some places now have 2, 3, 4 and even 5 times the buying power of our $1. So while we point out some worker in China in an auto plant may only make $2 an hour, he may have $10 an hour in buying power and his wage increases are occurring faster than ours. Ireland, for example, in about 15 years went from about ? our average manufacturing wage to $1.30 more than ours.

Now, that isn’t as great as it sounds since their cost of living rose so they haven’t made the buying power gains some in Asia have, but, they are much better off than when they had 15% unemployment and 120% debt to GDP. Those have dropped to 4.3% and under 30% respectively.

While this nation may still be the land of opportunity, we need to realize that it won’t be for long if we don’t stop our slide into socialism as the means of funding the social programs “we the people” may want. Don’t let socialists confuse you into believing that having social programs isn’t socialism. Socialism and Capitalism are choices in how we fund our society and the things we want society to provide, including opportunities as well as, education, assistance for truly needy people, defense, good monetary policy, good international policy, and the freedoms we outlined when our nation was founded, not what some five-of-nine Justices on a Court says they should be.

Until voters understand why socialism doesn’t work, they can be lured by all the promises utopian socialists claim socialism provides. Yet, look at any socialist nation and ask yourself, “Do I really want to live like that?” We would be much better off funding the social programs we want by using the policies rapidly growing nations are using, not socialism.

Visit MoveOff Network Members