"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it." – Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931-2005
As the presidential run for the 2020 election starts to heat up, people are watching the Democratic candidates fight to outdo each other in promising more and more government programs. In fact, it's becoming known as the Free Stuff Primary.
A partial list of all the things the Democrats want to hand out as "free": child care, college, universal income, health care for illegals, reparations, mortgage assistance, Medicare for All … have I missed anything? I'm sure I have.
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With all the freebies the Democrat want to offer, the one thing universally missing is a lesson in basic economics, namely: There's no such thing as a free lunch. Free stuff sounds terrific until the issue of how it's paid for arises. (This leads to a joke I saw recently. Bernie Sanders walks into a bar and yells, "Free drinks for everyone!" Then he looks around and says, "Who's buying?")
Look, I'm not an economist. I'm just a rural housewife. So why am I able to grasp the basics of economics so much better than every single Democratic presidential candidate? It reminds me of a toddler attitude: What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine. The Democrats have apparently never matured beyond the economic awareness of toddlers.
So for all our faithful progressive readers, I would like to offer a primer of basic economics. I'll call it, for obvious reasons, Economics for Dummies.
- No one owes you a thing. No really. No one owes you food, or an education, or a car, or anything else others must sacrifice for. If you want those things, work your butt off and get them yourself.
- "Rights" do not cost anyone anything. If you think you have a "right" to something (such as a free college education), ask yourself whether that something will cost someone else's time, labor or money to provide it to you. If it does, it's not a right.
- Along those lines, no one owes you a living. No one owes you a job or a "living wage." If you're not willing to work hard, sacrifice, take risks and invest your own capital, then you don't deserve an income on par with a CEO's.
- The more government regulates business, the less efficient business becomes. Government regulations mean a business can't hire as many people, or pay its employees as well, or expand as the market would allow, because it is forced to spend its resources fulfilling all the insane nitpicky rules and bureaucratic paperwork the government requires.
- Businesses are not in business to employ you. Businesses are in business to make a profit. If employing you will bring them a profit, they will employ you. If employing you means they will lose money, they will fire you (or not hire you in the first place).
- Loans are not gifts. If you borrow money, you are obliged to pay it back … so don't borrow money you can't repay. That includes borrowing massive amounts of money to attend elite universities and not studying anything of value in a free market.
- Along these lines, you are not entitled to anything you can't afford. No one is entitled to a $50,000/year college education. No one is entitled to a $350,000 house. No one.
- The borrower is slave to the lender. Whether it's on a national scale or a personal level, debt is very, very bad news. And here's the thing: Most personal debt is acquired on a voluntary basis. Oh sure, you can protest that you didn't read the fine print, but it was your responsibility to read that fine print to see what you were getting yourself into. Your signature is (or should be) your sacred word. Remember, loans are not gifts.
- Competition is good, not bad. Competition weeds out inferior products and services and expands superior products and services. Government-forced monopolies produce crap. If you doubt this, take a look at the computer industry on one hand and at America's public schools on the other.
- Government redistribution programs are wildly inefficient. The amount of money reaching an intended goal is inversely proportional to the number of hands it passes through. Witness the comical inefficiency of government-sponsored "charity" programs.
- Receiving "free" money reduces the incentive to work. This is a hard concept for progressives to grasp, but I knew very few people who want to give up "free" money by working hard instead. A research paper by Michael Tanner and Tad DeHaven points out, "The choice of welfare over work is often a rational decision based on economic incentives. Empirical studies confirm that welfare is a disincentive for work." [Emphasis added.]
- Whining does not make you a more attractive prospective employee. Nor does dressing inappropriately, cursing, piercing every orifice, lavishly tattooing yourself, or other personal expressions of your individuality. Yes, you have the right to do all these things. But a business has the right not to hire you as a result.
- Life isn't fair. People are born with handicaps or suffer accidents or illness. The most admirable people are those who make lemonade out of their lemons. The worst thing the government can ever try to do is to make things "fair," because in so doing, it will make things drastically more unfair for everyone else.
- What's yours is yours, but what's mine is most assuredly NOT yours. It's mine. The government may steal what's mine and give it to you, but that doesn't make it yours. It just makes you the recipient of stolen property.
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One of the reasons President Trump is wildly popular among the unwashed masses is because he's attempting to right decades of wrong when it comes to unconstitutional regulations, corporate cronyism and other ills of government overreach.
What the Democrats are proposing is to make everyone dependent on the government. Bad strategy, folks. Bad strategy.