Get your political fix from an unrepentant political junkie.
August 20, 2015
Historically, capitalism is the only economic model to lift people out of poverty. Socialism has succeeded in bringing a good many people down, but not so much in lifting them up.
Intentional or unintentional, incentives greatly determine the outcome of any policy. Socialism incentivizes mediocrity and conformity. Capitalism incentivizes excellence and creativity. Predicting which model stimulates economic growth is like predicting who will win the World Series, the Washington Nationals or the New York Yankees.
To see these principles in effect, look at countries with economic freedom and their rate of economic growth. The continent of Africa is “repressed” or “mostly unfree” and consistently ranks at the bottom for economic freedom. Russia and Greece rank “mostly unfree” in the same range as India, China, and Vietnam. “Mostly free” Britain is #13, with Ireland and Germany at #9 and #16, while France and Italy have joined “moderately free” Eastern Europe. Formerly among the top-five “free” countries for decades, the U.S. dropped to “mostly free” at #16 but has now risen back up to #12. The top five free economies are Hong Kong #1, Singapore #2, New Zealand #3, Australia #4, and Switzerland #5.
Rankings are based on four categories: Rule of Law (property rights, corruption), Limited Government (government spending), Regulatory Efficiency (business, labor, and monetary freedom), and Open Markets (trade, investment, and financial freedom).
Countries with less economic freedom face unsustainable debt and economic decline. At best, they are stagnant, treading water. In the U.S., more citizens are receiving than are paying into the government coffers. The ship is leaking. Unbelievably, American policies are speeding in the direction of Greece and France, and presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are blatantly claiming these socialist policies as the panacea for the sluggish American economy. Nevermind that the sluggishness is caused by the very policies that Sanders and Clinton are peddling on the campaign trail.
Socialism claims to give people more power through their government, but that is the opposite of what actually occurs. Socialism takes power away from people and transfers it to a bureaucracy and the political class.
Socialism also legalizes theft of private property. Wealth distribution is the forcing of one group to surrender their property for it to be given to another. That is immoral. Americans instinctively disapprove of theft, yet, we vote for it every election cycle. Two-thirds of federal spending is wealth distribution, euphemistically called “entitlement programs.” If it is wrong for the government to force you out of your house and move another family into it, it is equally wrong for the government to force you to take money out of your bank account and give it to another.
When other factors are present, such as family disintegration, an unjust legal system, and ineffective education system, the frustration of financial stress and feelings of powerlessness often become anger, and that anger is often expressed through violence. Fortunately, we live in a republic, and we can choose to funnel that frustration through the democratic process. Or, we can riot in the streets, loot, and pillage our own neighborhoods. I suggest the former.
Socialism crosses the boundary from persuasion to force. Forcing reformed behavior, even virtuous behavior, violates the freedom of the individual. God gave us free will. Who is the state to take that away?