Students of history will point back to the period of enlightenment. One of those societal points of inflection which, once complete, resets the approach to the future. The process challenges historical paradigms and provides alternate and often divergent schools of thought which serves to divide the populous into two camps. The enlightenment period offered a scientific perspective intended to be a supplement to, or replacement for, the religious perspective which at one time enjoyed a monopoly. The navigation of these periodic societal points of inflection typically includes wars, revolutions, and political overthrows.
One of those all-important points of inflection occurred in 1776 with the publication of Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations.” It represented a road map for free markets and a laissez-faire economic structure. Founding fathers Thomas Jefferson even proffered: “The government that governs best governs least.” The free-market capitalism approach protects society and the consumer from exploitation through the invisible hand of competition.
Today there is a scenario emerging that suggests a particular party is engaged in a conspiracy to put the economy on its knees and keep it there until the election. Subsequently, we exit with new leadership and along with such, a new social construct. Essential to the strategy is appropriate distractions along the way. With the election just six months away those distractions are appearing. The Democrats blame the Trump administration for making support too generous to a point it mitigates the incentive to return to work. Then at the same time flaunt their own $3 trillion supplement package, replete with non-COVID pork, that has no chance of clearing the Senate. Distraction, distraction, distraction. Of course, further distraction is the actual COVID-19 for which I don’t blame either party. I blame China and I blame the World Health Organization, who we significantly fund to protect us from things “just like this” … they did not.
We indeed needed to react to this dreaded disease. All Americans were affected by this. Either with firsthand experience of the disease within their own families, or living in fear of contracting the disease, or more statistically probable, suffering economic pain due to the overreaction of some policy makers.
Granted, to not react would have been devastating, but to overreact even more so, as we have temporarily destroyed the world’s strongest economy. Temporary, as this too shall pass, but not all will survive. As of this writing, unemployment is at 14 percent, expected by the Fed to rise to 32 percent. Q2 GDP is anticipated to contract 40 percent. These are not recessionary numbers, but depressionary. Unfortunately, this disease, at present, has claimed 100,000 lives. Terrible, but a far cry from the millions predicted in the initial modeling. Yet, “MILLIONS” makes a better headline, or, if you like, a better distraction.
However, as you know from my previous writings, I am greatly troubled by the assault on capitalism, entrepreneurship, business leaders, etc. We have become public enemy No. 1. Responsibility for such is not only many political leaders, but the media, to a great extent. The popular front and center feature of the greedy bastard businessman, indicted, convicted, jailed, and all legitimacy so. However, for every one of those, there are millions of business owners and leaders that do it right. Day in and day out, they ethically create jobs, that in turn, provide the means of living, education, and health care. They take their profits and reinvest and reinvest and reinvest to do more of the same. And a good same it is.
Speaking of distractions, impeachment attempts now re-emerge from the Democrats centered around the redacted passages to the Mueller documents. At what point do you tap out and let it go, lest you damage your party in the still important court of public opinion. Distraction, distraction, distraction. Likewise, long after Obama was elected President, the Republicans held on way too long to the “birther movement” which suggested Obama was not a real citizen thus an illegal President. Enough already!
So, the progressive agenda suggests that we would be better off without free markets, runaway capitalism, and its exorbitant greed. Should not things be more centrally planned and more fairly distributed? Would we not all be better off with less privately-owned companies, businesses, and capitalists?
So, let’s test that …
As of this writing, eight weeks ago we shut down capitalism, business, and entrepreneurial incentive. The result 40 MILLION (expected to hit 47 million) Americans lost their jobs, 15 MILLION of those no longer have health insurance. Many of those employers and jobs are not coming back. Think of the delayed male and female preventative exams: PSA, cervical, breast, etc., that will inevitably lead to a diagnosis later than “could/should have.” The suicides, the stress induced heart attack and loss of life. The families financially devasted. Was it worth it?
So, in the end how did you like life without business … without commerce? Did we learn our lesson or as George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Can we please get back to what we do best … work?
“If this country is ever demoralized, it will come from trying to live without work.” — Abraham Lincoln