Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Remember When We Were Capitalists?

I was having a conversation with a group of coworkers a few years ago (back when people had those things called jobs) and we were talking about the price of gasoline in Europe. One fellow lamented the fact that we Americans had low gas prices as though it was a bad thing. I reminded him that high gas prices in Europe were because of their high taxes. Then I reminded him that we were capitalists, and were therefore supposed to have the lowest prices.

He looked at me and nodded. “Oh, yeah.”

How soon we forget.

It’s almost as if we need constant reminding how well capitalism works. Anyone who’s old enough to remember early electronic calculators also recalls how much they cost, around $250. This was in the early Seventies when that was a lot of money. They only had four functions, were rather large, and ran on batteries that had to be replaced or recharged.

Contrast that with today’s calculator. The last one I bought cost around $15, needs no batteries and performs more mathematical functions than I can name. A side effect of this technology has been to introduce a much higher level of precision into our daily lives. Not that we really need thirteen decimal places of accuracy at the grocery store, but it’s nice to know that we have it when we need it. Not too long ago, that level of precision was exclusively the realm of a scientist with a slide rule and really thick glasses. Now, everyone can have it. Technology has made us smarter, more accurate and certainly more efficient.

The point is that when capitalism is left alone, as it once was in America, it does wonderful things for us. Lately, it’s been disturbed and distorted by some very powerful politicians who either don’t understand how capitalism is supposed to operate, or they do understand and they're screwing it up on purpose.

Some have even gone so far as to proclaim that our system is broken, when they were the ones who broke it (hello, housing market). Of course they now want to replace it, (naturally with them in charge) but with what? History has proven that American capitalism is the best economic system to date. It’s done more positive things for our country and the world than any other economic system. We’ve raised the living standard so high here that you can now be considered poor and still own a flat-screen TV and a car. And a refrigerator. And a microwave oven.

That’s a fairly affluent poverty. Not many of the rest of the worlds’ poor can say that.

We taught the rest of the world how to do it. We established the rules for success, namely freedom for the people and a minimum amount of regulation and intrusion by the government. So you’d think the rest of the world would want to imitate our proven success and raise the situation of mankind to new heights?

Ahh, you’d be wrong, calculator-breath.

They want to take our wealth away from us instead of creating their own. That’s what the redistribution of wealth is all about. This takes the form of the various failed methods of government that we all should be familiar with, but aren’t. Even our own President Obama is a redistributionist, among other un-American things. Remember his conversation with Joe the Plumber during the campaign when Obama said spreading the wealth around was good for everybody?

How’s that working out for us so far?

Perhaps, had Obama actually studied American History in college instead of surrounding himself with well-chosen radicals so he’d look cool, he would know what it takes to get our economy going again. He sure as hell ain’t doing it now.

And after two years of his inability to get the economy moving again, the country finally figured it out and shellacked him in last November’s election. We want change, real change, the good kind this time, not this Socialist bullshit of failure.

We want our Capitalism back.

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