Decline by Design

I have been trying to get my arms around the country’s continuing decline. “Arms around” means I’m trying to understand it. “It” is the phenomenon of economic downturn with reversal to upwards being nowhere in sight.
Recovery? What recovery, Americans want to know. And it’s no surprise that all that hope and change brought us neither, never mind any expeditious economic recovery.
Consider the stimulus. With trillions of taxpayer dollars poured into people’s pockets, you would think things would turn around. Nope. Could it be that all those government dollars were payoffs to cronies? Pooh to the people; put money into the hands of the people who keep the players in power.
If a CEO of a company did this, he would be in jail. Witness Bernie Madoff, the exemplar of private-sector greed, while we elect the politicians who rob our money legally and bring publicly institutionalized greed to new levels. The only way a politician goes to jail is when his private sex life goes public.
Consider business. The production of products results from the creation of value. Businesses create things of value that people will pay for. If no value is perceived for the product, people won’t pay to buy it. Not only do you have the choice to buy or not, you have several products from which to choose, arising from competition in the marketplace.
Consider government. It produces no products of value, only rules and regulations restricting the production of products you want. Furthermore…Governments take your money for products that you bought from businesses. These are called sales taxes.
When you bought something from government, you’ve purchased the privilege of enjoying something to which you had no rights. This are called license fees. When you work to produce a product of value or sold some that you produced yourself, you must pay the government for letting you. This is called income tax.

When you pay more for an inferior product because the government says its better, you are paying the government to play with a friendly company. This is called crony capitalism, it destroys innovation and competition, and you’ve been duped into thinking it created some kind of value.

In all cases, you paid the government something for the nothing you got in return. If we ran businesses like this, there would be no business at all.
Consider the economy. The government appears to be in the business of putting businesses out of business. No need for business, especially when government funds itself by giving people no choice but to pay or go to jail. But what government has failed to understand is that business funds the economy. And in the process and in a booming economy, government rakes it in too, even though it produces none of that value creation we talked about above.

Those of us in business know this about business, government, and the economy. But nobody in government does. That’s because no one in government has been in business much or produced a product of value that people want to buy.
Value creation…what’s that? In government circles, you get the glazed-over look when speaking of value creation. They’ve got no idea what you’re saying. For them, value results only from the conditions that made folks vote for the people in power. Making government bigger and the economy smaller: that’s what it’s about.

No group, no matter how rich, poor, disadvantaged or well-off, is off limits from this political corrosion. Productive work, trade, and business growth are the paths to recovery, not increased taxes when we are already increasingly non-competitive and unproductive on the world’s stage.
Decline by design. It keeps the people in power who got us where we are. It keeps the sluggish status quo. It’s what keeps us from recovering. It’s what we voted for, delivering, perhaps, what we deserve.


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