DANGER: America’s Troubling Changes

New and troubling is that some politicians see political gain in demonizing economic success, and in attacking the very American notion of individual initiative and personal responsibility. Even more troubling is the fact many Americans have been duped into believing an individual‘s success should be shared, and individual responsibility should be replaced with “group” or “government” responsibility. Do Americans realize the long-term impact of such changes?

First, the popular “tax the rich” mantra is bogus. The fact is — if every family’s earnings over $250,000 were taxed 100% in 2010 — it would have raised about 90% of the 2010 deficit! Thus, the “successful” top 10% of Americans, who pay almost 70% of all personal income taxes, are not rich enough to do what many politicians suggest. So who will pay? Big corporations cannot fill the deficit gap either. For example, if all profits from all Fortune 500 companies had been taxed 100% — it would have raised only about 22% of the 2010 deficit! Do Americans want policies that will cause stifling of individual initiative, failing businesses, reductions in future tax receipts, and loss of millions of jobs?

Second, history shows that capitalism is the best economic system to increase prosperity of a nation. With capitalism businesses don’t “take” money. Businesses merely collect the money that consumers and other businesses voluntarily trade for products and services. Only governments (with a monopoly on the legal use of force) and criminals “take” money. Government control of economic policy is typical of unsuccessful Marxist and oligarchy governments. Is this the “hope” Americans seek?

Finally, individual responsibility implies both ownership and accountability. We must take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, but “group” or “government” responsibility implies “entitlement” for everyone. The difference is significant because an “entitlement” is perceived as “free money” to spend (that raises total costs) rather than requiring a personal or family cost–benefit decision. Good cost-benefit decisions take into account consequences and accountability. Knowing a group or government will pay for (bail-out) failures takes consequences and accountability out of the equation, and is not fair to those few picking up the tab. What happens when every American feels “entitled” to everything they want, and there is no longer anyone to pay the tab?

Demonizing economic success, and attacking individual initiative and personal responsibility is a very dangerous game being played by career politicians who are more interested in gaining short-term power than the long-term best interest of our nation.  Greed and power driven political rhetoric does not represent the whole truth. If the political rhetoric sounds to good to be true, it is likely not true. The damage done will result in a catastrophic and irreversible change to our nation. Our nation is at a tipping point beyond which all of us will lose both freedom and prosperity. Do Americans really want this change? Are we Americans willing to destroy our nation for our young and future generations? Are we really that greedy, stupid or both? Will we vote for rock stars we like, and tell us what we want to hear, or for qualified individuals who may be able to save our nation?


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Dr. Cleland’s Ph.D. is from Purdue University where he specialized in complex systems theory. His technical training and experiences includes analyses of many types of systems, involvement with numerous federal, state, and local agencies, and management of a broad set of set of professionals, services, and trades people. He has managed scientists, engineers, policemen, firefighters, environment, health, safety and emergency planning experts, building trades and maintenance crafts personnel, and others.

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October 2012
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