Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Half-mile-high skyscrapers and liberty

I wrote the following letter to the Wall Street Journal on why America is in decline and how to change it to become a beacon to the world once again. It's a response to a columnist who wrote that America has become lazy and isn't hungry anymore to be the best.

Zachary Karabell is right that the Chinese economy may surpass the U.S. economy by 2030, but he is stunningly wrong that the reasons are that America doesn’t have an economic rival, that the U.S. is lumbering, that it needs to retool its economy, that it has gotten lazy as the dominant nation for nearly a century.

There is only one reason the U.S. is losing ground to China: ideas. Specifically, “progressive” ideas that have mandated government redistributive altruism (all forms of “welfare”), confiscation of corporate and individual income, regulation of corporate life, abandonment of the gold standard, Fed takeover of the monetary system, pro-union legislation hobbling corporate competitiveness, and disastrous tariffs. America was the fastest growing economy in the world in the 19th century because it had very little to none of the above – not because it was “hungry.”

If it were not for all of the above government grand larceny since the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, America could easily have five times its current standard of living; it could easily have scores of half-mile-high skyscrapers adorning major-city skylines; it could easily have a GDP five to ten times what it now has and be growing at a rate that would make China’s growth look positively lethargic.

If Mr. Karabell needs proof that Americans are still highly competitive (not “lumbering”), he need look no further than the least regulated industry: technology. In this field, where unions are loathed and where government has thus far been bafflingly complacent, our best and brightest outshine the world. The same could be true (and once was true) in all other fields if the government got out of the way and performed the only function it has a moral right to perform: protect individual rights, which includes the right to start up and run a corporation without a single peremptory piece of legislation dictating standards and without any single piece of taxation.

If this happens (with the death of progressivism), stand back and watch the once-greatest economic engine in the world return to and surpass its glory – and become a guiding light for those of integrity in the world and seeking a symbol of freedom and prosperity.


Daniel said...

Awesome! Hope it gets published.

David Elmore said...

Thanks, Daniel! Me, too. I get about a letter a month published in the WSJ, but this one is particularly close to my heart.