High Priced Tastes on a Government Budget

After a recent meeting between the President and a group of bankers, news sources reported that the President and the bankers agreed on essentially one thing: That they need each other. Actually, in a free market, businesses would not need government other than to preserve peace and protect everyone from criminal behavior. Government needs business more than business needs government. Why? Because government, in today’s context, wants to continue funding our massive middle class welfare state. Remember that Social Security and Medicare are federalized entitlements that everyone, to some degree, has come to depend upon and to which everyone feels entitled. These programs are reportedly going bankrupt in the coming years. On top of that unsustainable debt — to say nothing of the rest of the government — the current administration plans to add on the biggest entitlement in the history of man: “universal health care” for all Americans. Guaranteed health care will be far, far more expensive than similar programs in Canada and Western Europe. Why? Because Americans are more accustomed to first class treatment and state of the art technology, provided by our largely free market economy, than anybody else in the world. Socialized systems do not provide this.

Therein lies the dilemma for the American government and Americans themselves. Capitalism under the United States has produced the greatest absolute and relative standard of living in human history. As capitalism fades into the sunset and Americans begin to embrace full-fledged socialism — with government running most if not all of the economy — Americans are still going to expect the benefits that came from capitalism. But as capitalism fades away, the benefits will fade along with it.

Capitalism cannot function without the freedom to be left alone, and without a corresponding willingness on the part of business people to refuse subsidies, handouts and “bailouts.” Recently, errors made by business people in the context of a hampered market economy have resulted in these businesses “needing” to rely on the government. But the government can only produce for Americans what business is able and willing to deliver. The contradiction is that as business declines, so too does the excellence and innovation that Americans have come to expect. Those Americans who believe that excellence and innovation will continue as government gradually takes over everything are living in what some might call a “fool’s paradise.” A fool’s hell is more like it.