Where is America Going?

Where is America Going?

© David Burton 2012

Government Agencies

     Where is America going? That’s today’s $64,000 question. That and some other relevant questions are herein presented. The answers? That’s up to every living soul in America that has enjoyed the unsurpassed benefits of living in this country.

Socialism, Authoritarianism, Capitalism, ???

     Today’s most contentious questions seem to boil down to how much to take from the rich and give to the poor. Some view the issue as that of penalizing the most productive elements in our society and rewarding the least productive – some would even go so far as to call the latter the non-productive. One can legitimately ask if Americans have forgotten what, in the last 200 plus years, has made the United States the great nation that it became and which it still is. Entrepreneurship, capitalism and rugged individualism, with a minimum of government interference, have all contributed to the American success story. History has proven time and time again that collectivism, socialism and statism are failures. No nation in the history of the world has achieved what the United States has. Still, there are the educated elite and the do-gooders who revel in calling America a failure and capitalism a blight that robs the masses of their dignity. What do you think?

     America’s core values are spelled out in our currency. They are: Liberty, In God We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum. Proponents of Western European style socialism would exchange liberty with equality – material equality and social equality. And, for the sake of material and social equality, they would take away some of our liberty and replace it with their Utopian ideal of equality. For the majority of our history, “when some of our fellow Americans honorably earned more than others, they were not resented, they were emulated. But in the eyes of {today’s Euro-socialists} such Americans are to be resented – and as much of their money as possible must be taken from them – in the name of equality (sometimes referred to as ‘fairness’).
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     “And instead of a society rooted in God-based values, {they seek} a society as devoid of reference to God as possible.
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     “{They} have also rejected the third great American value, E Pluribus Unum, which has created the uniquely successful American experiment . . . by replacing ‘From many, one’ with so-called multiculturalism, with a cult of ‘diversity’ and with the hyphenation of all Americans.
     “Big and bigger government is not an American value . . . Handing our children and grandchildren unprecedented debt is not an American value . . . Dividing Americans by race and class is not an American value . . . A {militarily} weakened America is not an American value either.
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     “{America needs} to return to its {basic} values, the values that are the reason this country became the greatest nation on earth.” (Ref. 1)

     “We are in nothing less than hand-to-hand combat, fighting for what America is about and what it takes to get this country back on the track of growth and prosperity. Whether we are, most fundamentally, a welfare state in which government runs the show, or whether this is a free country in which free, private citizens run the show.” (Ref. 2) Recent trends point to the movement of this country away from what has made us great and provided an unparalleled standard of living and generosity toward the less fortunate peoples in the world. If current trends continue, we will move toward becoming another failed welfare state with nearly everyone either working for the federal government or receiving subsidies from it. Today, “federal spending, historically “18 percent of our economy, is now 25 percent.” (Ref. 2) Governments do not create prosperity. At best, they can foster an environment in which people can prosper. Simply put, the less government, the better. Our social activists reject this concept. Their agenda is to place everything under government control and leadership – the failed ideal of socialists and communists and those who believe in the concept of Utopia. Unfortunately the world is not now, never has been, nor will it ever be Utopia. What America needs today is to have “policy makers … focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, and investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways to use fiscal policies to boost growth.” (Ref. 2) In other words, let’s get back to what has been shown to be a successful path and move away from the path that has repeatedly been shown to be a miserable failure. Following a utopian idealistic pied piper is certain to lead to doom.

     In his 2012 State of the Union speech, President Obama made a number of statements with which I take exception. “We were told that we must have equality of outcome – yet that is not America. Somehow equality of outcome has been confused with equality under the law, equality of opportunity.
     “We were told that the American people need a level playing field. The confusion starts when government attempts to define the meaning of the word level. America has a level playing field – it is called freedom.
     “We were told that everyone is entitled to success. It is as if there can be no failure. Perhaps American values are being confused with some other nation, but in America, one of the greatest rights is the right to fail . . . and then be able to try again.
     “We were told that everyone needs to pay their fair share. Once again, confusion reigns supreme. Why not ask the question, what is the fair share that Americans should be allowed to keep when they look at their paycheck?
     “We were told that the executive branch needs more power. Not only is someone confusing the guidelines found within our Constitution, this statement is downright scary . . .The executive branch is supposed to be weak. The American people rejected a strong executive branch over 200 years ago and placed the power in the hands of the people – its elected Congress.
      “Needless to say, when one listens to the rhetoric of liberal speeches, they do not embrace American ideals, American Exceptionalism. And that is confusing.
      “American Exceptionalism is simply freedom; that is the total sum of our greatness. Government was created to protect that freedom, yet with every law, regulation and rule created by Congress or Executive Order, we lose freedom. Liberalism has resulted in debt, dependence and destruction.” (Ref. 3)

     What is needed is for government to get out of the way, so that private industry can prosper and create job. Don’t ask business what they need government to do for them. Instead, ask business to tell the government what isn’t working so these failures can be eliminated. Instead of instituting more government entitlement programs, fix the existing programs so that all Americans can enjoy the entitlement of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We simply cannot continue on the path where government attempts to provide everything. Instead, we need to quickly limit government spending and restore the guiding principle of limited government.

A Parable About Socialism

     A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat and very much in favor of higher taxes to redistribute wealth to support more government programs that help others such as herself.
     She was deeply ashamed of her staunch Republican father, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his and not share it with the rest of society.
     One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.
      Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.
      Her father listened and then asked, ‘How is your friend Audrey doing?’ She replied, ‘Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.’
      Her selfish father asked his daughter, ‘Why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.’
     The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, ‘That’s a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I’ve worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!’
     The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, ‘Welcome to the conservative’s philosophy.’
(Ref. 4)

Let's Get Back to What Has Made America Great

     In spite of the naysayers and the eternal pessimists, the fact is we live in the greatest country the world has ever known. There has never been a single society that has produced more, created more or offered more than America. The truth, borne out by history, is that in America, anything is possible. Today, being rich has become evil rather than being admired. In times past, we were able to make dreams become reality. Now we have so many government controls and barriers that it’s difficult to dream, much less accomplish anything. More than 2 centuries ago, we achieved independence and established a truly democratic government on the basis of a 20 page Declaration of Independence and a 20 page Constitution, not some 2,000 page bills filled with earmarks.

     There are two types of people in this world - the creators and the takers. The creators create products, services, jobs, and wealth. The takers live off of the sweat and creativity of the creators and contribute nothing to our society. We encourage more and more Americans to become takers and to remain takers with more and more government entitlement programs. When someone is offered a choice of "work to get paid" or "paid to not work" these takers choose the latter. A 99 week unemployment benefit program (Workers Comp) guarantees that a large portion of the population will stop looking for work for 99 weeks. I know - there are many Americans who really want to work, but just can't find a job. Should these Americans receive up to 99 weeks of Workers Comp? Absolutely! But, how many others are there that would rather "be paid to not work"?

     As Americans, we need to stop apologizing for being the most powerful and wealthiest society in the world. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – instead we should be proud of it. Our country was always based on a society that had the freedom to go down any path without the government standing as a barrier in our way. Today, we have a government that constantly paints all of Wall Street as criminals, all doctors as performing unnecessary operations, all wealthy as being greedy, all insurance companies as being rip-off artists, and all people as being incapable of finding their way without the guidance and control of government. Instead of being encouraged to be an achiever or a creator, it has now become fashionable to be a non-achiever among the "99%" or the "47%" - in other words, a taker. To be a successful achiever or creator is now evil in the eyes of too many Americans.

     No society controlled by government has ever achieved greatness. Europe is now finding out they have to throw off the shackles of government entitlement programs if they are to prosper and survive. The people of these countries are finding getting everything for nothing eventually is destructive – there is price to be paid and the eventual solution can be very painful. Even when the takers in Europe become aware of the possible demise of their own country, they are still not willing to give up the freebies. Today, we have riots in European countries by those that have become addicted to taking.

     The time has come for the U.S. to stop turning away from the path that has made us the greatest nation on the face of the earth – the greatest nation in the history of the world. The pied pipers that strive for total equality for all are blind dreamers. They cannot see what history teaches. They live in a dream world that lacks reality. Their Utopia is a figment of their imagination. The facts are there for all to see – it’s called history. But, the blind cannot see and we are being led down a path of destruction by the blind. America’s forefathers had the vision to see what was needed and showed us the path to greatness. It’s time to get back on that path and to get of the path of socialistic idealism. It’s time to once again be proud to be an American, to be proud to be an achiever, to be proud to be a success, to be proud to achieve wealth, to be proud to do good in the world.

     Where is America going? Let’s see one direction as excerpted and updated from Ref. 5. Ask yourself the following question - “Why work if I make $1,800 a month in unemployment benefits?” This was a question asked by a 20-something woman in 2011. At 28, this young lady – let’s call her citizen Jane – “had been on unemployment for over 52 weeks. Her old job was as a designer . . . During her time off, she’d been selling some of her paintings via Facebook. Of course, all her art earnings were not reported, otherwise, her $450 weekly benefits would start getting garnished after the first $250 dollars of income earned.
     “Citizen Jane is planning a two month trip to Jamaica with her friends, and she wants to do the right thing by suspending her unemployment benefits for that time period because she won’t be looking for work.
     “Despite her good intentions, she could not get through to the California Employment Development Department after calling 58 times. That’s right, 58 times!!
     “So guess what? She’s going to Jamaica for two months and will have her friend back in California fill out her bi-weekly continued claim form. One of the questions she will have to answer is, ‘Did you look for work during the week?’ She will answer, ‘No.’, but undoubtedly, her unemployment benefits will still hit her Bank of America debit card like clockwork. (Ref. 5)

     Is this the America that you want for yourself? Is it the America that you want for your children and grandchildren? Is this where America is heading?

     We are embroiled in a struggle between two competing visions of America's future. “In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise -- limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution.
     “The forces of big government are entrenched and enjoy the full arsenal of the administration's money and influence. Our leaders in Washington, aided by the unprecedented economic crisis of recent years and the panic it induced, have seized the moment to introduce breathtaking expansions of state power in huge swaths of the economy, from the health-care takeover to the financial regulatory bill . . . If these forces continue to prevail, America will cease to be a free enterprise nation.
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     “Now, as {in the time of our founding fathers}, entrepreneurship can flourish only in a culture where individuals are willing to innovate and exert leadership; where people enjoy the rewards and face the consequences of their decisions; and where we can gamble the security of the status quo for a chance of future success.” (Ref. 6)

     The real tipping point in the struggle between American free enterprise and European-style socialism was the financial crisis, which began in 2008. The meltdown presented a golden opportunity for the supporter of socialism to attack free enterprise openly and remake America in their own image.

     “The statists offered a full and compelling narrative {of the financial crisis}. Ordinary Americans were not to blame for the financial collapse, nor was government. The real culprits were Wall Street and the Bush administration . . .
     “The solution was obvious: Vote for a new order to expand the powers of government to rein in the dangerous excesses of capitalism.
     "It was a convincing story. For a lot of panicky Americans, the prospect of a paternalistic government rescuing the nation from crisis seemed appealing as stock markets and home prices spiraled downward. According to this narrative, government was at fault in just one way: It wasn't big enough. If only there had been more regulators watching the banks more closely, the case went, the economy wouldn't have collapsed.
     “Yet in truth, it was government housing policy that was at the root of the crisis. Moreover, the financial sector -- where the crisis began and where it has had the most serious impact -- is already one of the most regulated parts of our economy. The chaos happened despite an extensive, intrusive regulatory framework, not because such a framework didn't exist.
     “More government -- including a super-empowered Federal Reserve, a consumer protection watchdog and greater state powers to wind down financial firms and police market risks -- does not mean we will be safe. On the contrary, such changes would give us a false sense of security, especially when Washington, a primary culprit in the crisis, is creating and implementing the new rules.
     “The statist narrative also held that only massive deficit spending could restore economic growth . . .
     “This proposition is as expensive as it is false. Recessions can and do end without the kind of stimulus we experienced, and attempts to shore up the economy with huge public spending often do little to improve matters and instead chain future generations with debt. . . .
     “If we accept {the statist’s reasoning}, and base our nation's policies on it, we will be well on our way to a European-style social democracy. Punitive taxes and regulations will make it harder to be an entrepreneur, and the rewards of success will be expropriated for the sake of greater income equality.
     “The . . . risk . . . in the new culture war {is that} we will forsake the third unalienable right set out in our Declaration of Independence: the pursuit of happiness.
     “Free enterprise brings happiness; redistribution does not. The reason is that only free enterprise brings earned success.
     “Earned success involves the ability to create value honestly -- not by inheriting a fortune, not by picking up a welfare check. It doesn't mean making money in and of itself. Earned success is the creation of value in our lives or in the lives of others.
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     “The goal of our system should be to give all Americans the greatest opportunities possible to succeed based on their work and merit. And that's exactly what the free enterprise system does: It makes earned success possible for the most people. This is the liberty that enables the true pursuit of happiness.
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     “Just compare the protests in America with those in Europe. Here, we see tea partiers demonstrating against the government's encroachment on the free enterprise system and protesting the fact that the state is spending too much money bailing out too many people. Why are people protesting in Greece? Because they want the government to give them even more. They are angry because their government -- in the face of its worst economic and perhaps existential crisis in decades -- won't pay the lavish pensions to which they feel entitled. There's no better example of the cultural difference between America and Europe today, yet it is toward European-style social democracy that our socialist supporters wants to move us.” (Ref. 6)


  1. My Dream Speech for Mitt Romney, Dennis Prager, The Valley Pioneer, Page 28, September 2012.
  2. Senator’s candor welcome, Star Parker, Boston Herald, Page 19, 27 June 2011.
  3. If We Do Not Return to the Values that Made US Great . . . , Tom Weaver, The Valley Patriot, Page 25, August 2012.
  4. Socialism As A Means To A Brighter Future, Financial Samurai: http://www.financialsamurai.com/2011/08/01/socialism-as-a-means-to-a-brighter-future/, Accessed 3 October 2012.
  5. The Best States For Unemployment Benefits: Would You Work If You Could Make $1,800 A Month Doing Nothing?, Financial Samurai: http://www.financialsamurai.com/category/big-government-love/, Accessed 3 October 2012.
  6. America's new culture war: Free enterprise vs. government control, Arthur C. Brooks, The Washington Post, 23 May 2010.


  11 October 2012 {Article 144; Govt_33}    
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