Cartier: The failures of the social state (column)
Much is being discussed about socialism, with both sides arguing their case. Rather than repeat the mantra, let’s consider why the debate about socialism is so intense in this country.
In brief, it’s about short-term solutions and long-term impact. There is plenty of history showing countries going from prosperity to decay upon adopting socialist policies. The transition seems innocent enough. As a country prospers, there is a natural inclination to want everyone to participate in its achievements. Rather than expanding its current formula for success by encouraging business development and incentivizing innovation, some think that redistribution of wealth is the missing link. The idea may seem compassionate in theory, but in practice, it is severely flawed and even heartless. Why?
When given a choice, people will choose opportunity over a handout because opportunity allows for growth and prosperity; it is the substance of dreams-come-true. A handout is finite, comes with strings attached, and places individuals at the mercy of others.
Those who advocate for “free stuff,” aka socialism, emphasize the needs of those in poverty. The opposition reminds us that free stuff comes at a price and everyone pays. Some pay it directly in taxes, but often the recipients pay a hidden but greater price, in limitations that come with “free.” He who pays, rules, and those rules may not coincide with your hopes for the future.
If you want free medical care, you give up the right to select your physician, the medication you prefer, the procedures that you and your doctor agree upon, and you may need to wait for treatment beyond the necessary timeframe, to make a difference in your condition (limited by supply and demand for services & facilities).
When you accept food and housing, you are limited in where you may live and what food you can buy. If you make one penny more than the level designated, you lose it all. The agreement is, if you want help, you must stay in poverty. Anything that produces additional income is prohibited, thus working or starting a business will disqualify you from your “free benefits.” We frequently hear of mothers who want to work but can’t, for fear of losing those allowances. There is no little girl that says she wants to grow up to be a welfare mom, and no dad who wants to feel beholden to others for his family’s livelihood, yet that is socialism. You may work and live only in pre-approved areas, earning predetermined amounts. Exclusions are reserved for those in government.
Margaret Thatcher famously said, “The trouble with socialism is that eventually, you run out of other people’s money.” There will always be more people in need than there are funds available. What happens when the money runs dry? Venezuela. We know their riches-to-rags story. The best of intentions destroyed what was once a prosperous nation.
Under a socialist regime, the exodus of talent and money occurs. Those who were in need begin to realize the price they’ve paid and leave the country for opportunity elsewhere. The wealthy, who have worked hard and sacrificed for success, see it all disappearing and they leave to protect their families. Without business leaders and workers, there is no infrastructure left to sustain the socialist ideals.
Socialism implies that those in difficult circumstances are somehow “less-than” those who prosper … that they are incapable of achieving success. In this country, we are firm believers in the idea that people are stronger than their circumstance. Why? Because our history is filled with rags-to-riches stories; it’s in our DNA. We are downright fanatical about it. We even have a name for it … The American Dream, and people line up from around the world for a chance to live it.
Many of our forefathers came to this land with just the clothes on their back, and a vision in their heart. They gave up all they had, all that was familiar, to create the impossible for their children. Even those brought here unwillingly saw its potential and endured unimaginable hardships so that their children would have a life they never thought possible for themselves. This vision created the greatest nation man has ever known.
These pioneers understood the power of belief, determination and hard work. They knew that if given a chance, they could change the world … and they did. Empowering people, not the government, created success and sustained freedom. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were all they needed from the government. Our greatest achievements were inspired by individuals who saw potential where none previously existed. The government stood out of their way.
We have the freedom to succeed or fail on our own terms and most determine it’s worth the cost.
Jacqueline Cartier is a political and corporate consultant in Colorado and Washington, D.C. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information, visit http://www.cartierwinningimages.com.
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