Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How Do We Keep America Strong?

Much has been made of the recent "bailouts" and loan guarantees offered to private banks and corporations in the United States. It brings up the question of what the proper role of government should be and what would be best for all of us in the long run.

Individual (and Corporate) Responsibility vs. Government Assistance
Among the concepts that have made America a great and strong nation is one of personal responsibility. We are not a nation of wimps. We were founded on the principles of self-reliance and responsibility for our actions. If we were successful in our endeavors, we reaped the rewards; if we failed, we took our "lumps", retrenched and tried again.

Over time, we have begun to lose sight of this concept. Today, we have a Congress that appears to no longer believe in risk and reward, success and failure, individual liberty and personal responsibility. The action by Congress in regard to the Wall Street and banking failures, and now with the automotive manufacturers has been characterized as "capitalism on the way up and socialism on the way down." The message is it is OK to take risks while you are succeeding, but if failure looms, the government will swoop in to save you.

The problem in the long run is the loss of the sense of responsibility. Risk has been largely removed. Corporations may get the message that they can take all the chances they want, be lazy, complacent, inefficient, even corrupt. No problem. The government will rescue you with the taxpayers' dollars. When there is no risk of failure, individuals and corporations lose their sense of fear and responsibility; greed begins to take over. What are the lessons we are teaching our children, who will one day run the small businesses, farms and corporations in this land?

It takes courage to be a Republican, to stand tall and say it is not the government's responsibility to step in when businesses fail. But it is the best thing for everyone concerned in the long run. Businesses will learn to be better, smarter, and wiser.

We understand that when a business fails, people lose jobs and livelihoods. We need to be cognizant of that and provide every opportunity for those individuals affected to find new employment and business opportunities as quickly as possible. In a truly unencumbered free market, opportunities will be available for people to start over and build wealth. If we hold to these core principles, we will all be better off as individuals and as a nation.

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