Craig R. Smith is an author, commentator and popular media guest because he instantly engages audiences with his common-sense analyses of local, national and global trends. Serving as CEO of Swiss America for over 25 years, Craig understands that Americans want solid answers to the tough questions and that real leadership begins with servanthood. Craig's most recent book is "Crashing the Dollar: How to Survive a Global Currency Collapse," which heMore ↓Less ↑
Many times in life we find ourselves at major crossroads. When we do, difficult and often painful decisions must be made. America finds itself in that very position today.
Shall we continue down the path of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson thinking, which demands government take from the productive to meet the needs of every citizen? Or do we expect people to be responsible for their own well-being?
Ever since the knee-jerk reactions of FDR to the Great Depression, American politicians have adopted a cradle-to-grave mentality, virtually stripping the people of their freedom in the name of fairness. Democrats, in particular, believe that work, food, clothing, shelter, health care and cash in one’s pocket are all basic human rights – rights to be provided by the federal government.
Yet I find no evidence in the Constitution to support such foolishness.
In 1964, LBJ expanded the socialist tendencies of FDR to launch his Great Society programs. Welfare, food stamps, day care and other utopian ideals for the lazy soon followed. Within a decade America had birthed a new class of Americans who depended on government for their every need. That class is expanding at an alarming rate.
With more than 44 million Americans now receiving food stamps and almost 50 percent of all households relying on some form of government assistance, we are walking down a road of total ruin and modern-day slavery.
I, for one, believe the government owes me nothing but to keep the nation safe. I have often said, when interviewed, that the government must get out of my pocket, off my back and stay away from my children. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself and family.
Far too often, Americans turn to government for solutions that only “We the People” can offer.
In our latest book, “The Inflation Deception,” Lowell Ponte and I point out what Denmark discovered about its own unemployment assistance. The Danish government originally offered unemployed citizens benefits that lasted five years. What it discovered was that when such benefits were cut to four years, people miraculously found work. The same thing often happened when the benefits were cut to three years, then to two years.
I think we all get the picture here.
We now afford the jobless 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. That is more than ample time to give a person a hand-up. Beyond that, dependency forms and the lack of urgency disappears from the job-search process. Why take just any job if one can wait it out? The fact is: A job, any job, is far superior to a government check. That is, unless you believe government is your provider, not yourself.
I know of a man who took a job at minimum wage changing garbage-can liners at a fast-food restaurant. He arrived 15 minutes early and stayed 15 minutes late. Many times, he continued working after he clocked out. He gave 150 percent and never missed a day or showed up one minute late.
Five years later, this man was promoted to assistant district manager. Fifteen years later, he became district manager. Success cannot be denied a person who expects nothing and gives everything.
Nowadays young and old alike take a job and if they are not running the place in six months, they think there is no room for advancement. They show up late, wait by the clock to punch out the second their shift is over and act like the employer owes them a thank you for showing up.
That isn’t how it works, and I know. I have owned businesses for more than 35 years and have had hundreds of employees. All my managers and executives were once entry-level employees. They all worked hard, gave the company 150 percent and never complained – at least not to me. Nobody can keep people like that back.
But government tells us corporations are evil. They take advantage of people, and that is why we need unions. Government departments like the National Labor Relations Board and unions will protect the people and meet their needs. If anything happens, these entities will be the safety net, not the individual.
In our not-so-distant past, Americans depended on family, friends, community and self when things got tough. Some still do. Today, however, many are looking to the government first. Not me! I like my freedom.
There are growing ranks within the Democratic Party that espouse every human need as the responsibility of the government or a union. They believe they must take from some to give to others.
When I saw a commercial for MSNBC in which one of their hosts said health care is a fundamental right of every American, it cemented, in my mind, the liberal belief in cradle-to-grave slavery. If someone eats, smokes and drinks themselves into physical ruin, should it be the responsibility of anyone other than that person to deal with and pay for the consequences?
I say no!
It’s not because I’m mean or because I want to see people suffer. It’s because I understand as long as the government is providing, we will never get back to depending on each other and ourselves. Right now, the government is holding a gun to our heads, forcing us to help each other. Charity should be voluntary and for those truly in need.
I know what it is like to count pennies to buy food. I also know what it is like to buy an expensive meal at the best restaurant. I have felt the pain of not being able to buy my children Christmas gifts and the joy of buying them a new car. In each case, it was my failure or success which caused both to occur.
We must get back to believing that we are responsible for ourselves.
We have a choice to make. We either continue down this path that 75 percent of America says is the wrong path – the path in which government is our mommy and daddy and pays our bills and meets our every need. Or, we change!
Now is the time to change.
Congress must cut $1.5 trillion or more from our yearly budgets if we are to manage our debt until we can grow the economy to increase revenue. The false choices of cutting Social Security benefits to fund breaks for corporate jet owners may make for a good political fodder, but they hold no truth.
Mr. Obama and the Democrats can continue to scare the American people and play the class-warfare and race card if they like, but it will only leave us on this path to financial ruin.
I say let’s take the fork to the right that leads to free markets, a sure path to prosperity – a path that will ensure future generations personal freedom and economic certainty. It’s a path that will reward hard work, savings and responsible behavior. Let’s take the path for which millions have fought, bled and died.
Big Brother providing our paychecks isn’t living. It’s dying.