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Capitalism Makes the American Dream Possible

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Talking about the future of the country, Jefferson once said: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

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Tom Grasson March 2012
Tom Grasson

Thomas Jefferson spent many years studying the previous failed attempts at government. At age 31, he authored the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America.” Not long after, at age 33, he authored the Declaration of Independence.

Jefferson was an authority on the history of governments. Equally important, he had a firm grasp on the nature of man. By the time of his election as the third president of the United States, his writings and speeches reflected his position on both government and its citizens.

Talking about the future of the country, Jefferson once said: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

This statement is as true today as when Jefferson first spoke it. I believe people seek the freedom to make choices for themselves. Yet, we are living in a time of entitlements where many are of the opinion that the government will provide for us. However, contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

A prime example of this is the Occupy Wall Street crowd clamoring for monetary equality. What they are protesting is not entirely clear, but high on their wish list is changing the free market economy. These somewhat educated blockheads are dissatisfied with the income inequality between the wealthy and the poor in this country. Furthermore, they view capitalism as the root cause of our economic woes.

It would be interesting to know just how many of these anti free-market protesters have personally witnessed the economic turmoil currently taking place in other countries. For certain, I would not want to trade the standard-of-living that I have come to appreciate for an opportunity to live anywhere else. Every time I return to the United States after an overseas business trip, I achieve a greater level of gratitude for the things (goods and services) that we take for granted every day.

We experience these good things because of the American Dream. Talented, ambitious individuals with an idea and a desire to make money are willing to work hard and invest in their future. Under a free market economy, they know they can be successful or they can fail, but they are willing to take that chance. Yet, for some reason, capitalism now has a negative connotation. Based on a 2009 Rasmussen poll, only 35% of American voters believe that a free market economy is the same as a capitalist economy. Even worse, another 2009 Rasmussen poll finds that only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

It is time to come to grips with reality. Socialism did not make this country great and it never will. It took a free market economy to make the United States the greatest country in the world. Like it or not, capitalism is a free market economy with its foundation rooted in freedom and responsibility.

 


tgrasson@gie.net

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