Sunday, June 12, 2011

Managed economy or free markets? ~ By Henry Lamb

America has almost forgotten what a free market really is. Government's insidious expansion of control over business activity, while denying that its control is implementation of Marxist/communist/socialist/progressive principles, is steadily killing free-market capitalism in America.

It will continue under Barack Obama and a Democratic majority in Congress. If free-market capitalism is not restored in the next election, it may vanish from the earth.

When you finish reading Henry's column, I'm sure that you will know where Henry Lamb stands on capitalism and a free market economy. And by the time you read what I have to say, you'll definitely be aware of where I stand when it comes to not just free market economics and true capitalism, but also on the importance of free enterprise based on the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans that made this country great!

At my age, some events of my life are no longer coming back to me with absolute clarity. However, there was one event that changed my perspective forever, and I can actually recall enough of that time with enough accuracy to make a point. It was 30 years ago, so I shouldn't be expected to remember every detail perfectly, but I remember enough to get my point across, I hope.

I was in the USAF (U.S. Air Force). Just prior to going on leave, I had learned that I was going to be promoted to Staff Sergeant, which rarely happened with just under four years in service. It happened that I was good at taking tests, and did well in the test for my promotion. Well, that's part of the background to this story, because my transformation happened when my family and I returned back to Iowa for some well deserved R & R.

During my time back in Iowa, I took a day to hang out with my two best friends, Phil and Dave. We went up to the Mississippi river at Phil's parent's cabin. Dave, Phil and I had fun fishing, but I didn't do so well in catching anything. Well, not until I caught the entrepreneurial bug, as we talked about various business ventures to start. Well, you see, we were young and dumb, and we thought that we could actually live our dreams by someday starting our own business! We just couldn't unanimously agree on what would work for us. It didn't matter, I was infected with the desire to DREAM, to work for myself. I just didn't know what I'd do for a business.

That all changed when I returned after leave to my duty station at Eglin AFB. My boss had been out of town for several days. I found out where he went when he returned. He had just attended a huge convention of fired up people up in Washington D.C. (of all places!). He was excited to tell me about what he was doing there, and I was even more ready and excited to hear what he could tell me. Well, SMSgt Wagner found out how easy it was to recruit people when he talked to somebody like me, that was looking for an opportunity!

Yes, I joined Jim and Yolanda in the business venture, in the summer of '81. Nearly 30 years ago, I began learning about free enterprise. And I got to meet a great American patriot and entrepreneur by the name of Bill Britt, a very successful Amway distributor from North Carolina, and my upline Double-Diamond... It was his words, which I heard both at conventions and on tape, that taught me about the benefits of capitalism and the loss of freedom with socialism.

When I finished up with my commitment with the USAF, I returned with my family to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I was fired up! The country was still trying to recover from the four years of Jimmy Carter. The economy here in Iowa was hurting. I just knew that I'd be highly successful after showing all my friends and relatives "the business." I already had my two friends that talked about getting a business going, at least in my mind. But, while I was out of town serving my country, they got busy in their lives. Dave got a job with a jewelry store and Phil became a firefighter. Okay, so I got two immediate "no's"! Hey, that's okay. But, the story became really sad after that.

After failing at convincing so many of my friends and relatives that there's a better way to live - with a dream - I became an expert at sharing the business with cold contacts, people that I met anywhere, anytime. Despite my lack of credibility, I forced myself to discuss the business opportunity with all kinds of successful professionals: Doctors, lawyers, realtors, insurance executives, and even a former Iowa Governor that was living in Cedar Rapids! They were all kind to me, but said, "no thanks." That was when I decided to try to help people that had not been so successful in life. And that is when I found out that socialist propaganda had already infected society. That was thirty years ago!

When the successful professionals I had talked to said, "not interested," in many cases it turned out to be a time issue. Yes, I knew all of the responses to that "excuse," and they all failed to convince anyone, but it was okay. They were succeeding, and by far, exceeded anything I've been able to do with my life. But none of those people put me down for having a dream. It was a different story when I discussed the business with people that were not professionals. Of course, some of them were in unions. They had things taken care of. And believe me, many of them that I still know aren't doing too bad (except for the ones that were working in manufacturing jobs that were moved overseas). Their lifelong careers at manufacturing plants, with great union benefits, have really paid off. Many are my age, and they are comfortably retired.

And the ones I contacted that were living in mobile home parks and apartments? Do I really need to say what their response was? Probably not, but I will tell you anyway, just so I can make the point clearer: I was told that 1) They deserved a better income in their jobs, and didn't feel obligated to have to work any harder than they were already, 2) They didn't think it was right that the owners of the companies they worked for made at least 100 times what they made (though, now it is thousands of times in many cases), and 3) If they made any more money, they'd lose their government benefits or pay more taxes!

Now, let's get back to what Henry Lamb tells us in his column. The government's managed economy system is all about confirming those afflicted with class envy. That's simply what is called Marxism. Really, had it been that I would rather have free health care rather than eventually flying in my own private jet, I would have stayed in the Air Force. Free or subsidized housing? Yep, that could have been taken care of too. Oh, but no, I had to go and start believing in free enterprise and Ronald Reagan economics... and true freedom - economic freedom. That seems to be long gone. I'm just sayin'... or dreamin'....

Managed economy or free markets?
By Henry Lamb

June 11, 2011 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2011

Editor's note: Listen to this column online.

America was once the envy of the world. Even the poorest people in America had far more than most of the rest of the people in the world. Throughout the first two centuries of her existence, America welcomed people from everywhere and supported their efforts to invent, to build, to create and to produce wealth from whatever enterprise struck their fancy. Labor unions and government regulations have put an end to that era.

For at least the last 50 years, government has continually tightened its grip on the economy by imposing ever-tighter controls over the activities of all businesses. Whether to promote safety or to protect the environment, government has made it nearly impossible for American business to compete with the rest of the world. In addition to this burden, labor unions, especially public employee labor unions, have fed Democrat candidates a healthy diet of campaign contributions in exchange for contracts that a free market would never tolerate.

The housing market crumbled because of government intervention. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 and subsequent revisions imposed government management of the housing industry by forcing banks to issue loans to credit risks a free market would never tolerate. To entice banks to make these unjustified loans, the government guaranteed repayment. When some of the people couldn't, or wouldn't, repay their mortgages, the government took your tax money to make good the guarantee. This is the single most important cause of the current economic disaster, and the responsibility rests upon progressive Democrats who firmly believe that government must control and manage human activity.

Environmental regulations and government-mandated comprehensive land use plans have destroyed the concept of private property rights and elevated government to be the singular authority that controls the use of all land – regardless of who owns it. There are countless horror stories in which government destroyed the lives of enterprising Americans by preventing them from using their own land and resources. Ocie Mills and his son spent nearly two years in a federal prison for dumping 19 loads of building sand on his own property. Bob Brace fought through the courts for 12 years to win the right to convert his own pasture to a cabbage field; he lost. Wendy Birnbaum has been fighting for 12 years to use her 112 Washington acres as a campground. She still has to pay monstrous taxes on her land, but cannot use it to produce revenue. There are literally thousands and thousands of these cases in which government rolled over its citizens with no thought of being limited by their consent.

Marxists/communists/socialists/progressive Democrats are absolutely convinced that if left uncontrolled by government, people will destroy the planet, kill their neighbors with faulty products and force people to work for slave wages. Capitalists know that the conditions the progressives fear most are the inevitable consequences of the very policies they advocate. The former USSR and Cuba are but two very good examples to document this fact.


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