I have been infuriated by TARP and bailouts that messed with our free market by privatizing profits and socializing debts. I have watched both political parties facilitate this folly.
In the America I grew up in we didn't have "too big to fail"; we had the creative destruction of capitalism. We didn't keep weak companies artificially alive; we let them go so that more dynamic companies with smarter business models, better goods and services, would take their place, giving all of us a higher standard of living.
We let the market, the consumer, decide. We didn't force people to buy Edsels or drink New Coke they didn't want. We live without Packard, Studebaker, Hudson, and American Motors. We could live without Chrysler and General Motors.
In the America I grew up in, you got a mortgage because you were qualified, not because you had a pulse.
I worry about how America looks to our young people, just out of college or graduate school. Many of them are forced to take jobs that don't require a college degree, let alone a law degree or MBA. Many of them are up to their eyeballs in private debt, as they watch their government saddling them with public debt that will burden the rest of their lives.
We have always sacrificed for the next generation, not stolen from them. Instead of generational theft, we need generational thrift. Some young people are moving back home, delaying marriage and the start of their own families. Even once they get their careers back on track, their lifetime earnings will suffer.
Many will never catch up to where they would have been without the collapse. The America they have experienced is one of less opportunity and fairness than their parents and grandparents had.
They see a country where CEOs, who were paid about 30 times as much as the average American worker in 1970, are now paid more than 300 times as much. They see a country that had no net job growth in the last decade.
In my lifetime, jobs in every other decade grew between 20 and 30 percent. They see a country where household net worth fell 4 percent in the last decade.
In my lifetime, household net worth in every other decade grew between 30 and 60 percent. I worry most that our young people will lose the most precious part of their American inheritance; the boundless optimism and confidence, the can-do spirit that each generation, whether they built covered wagons or rockets to the moon, has bequeathed to the next.
We don't need more wasteful government boondoggles. We need real innovation like getting rid of taxes on our productivity and having the Fair Tax: a consumption tax that doesn't punish work and creativity. Otherwise, our young people's scaled-back ambitions and expectations, both for themselves and their country, will become self-fulfilling prophecies of diminished success and power.
That's my view, I welcome yours. E-mail your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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