I would like to think that most people yearn to be happy in their life. Going on that assumption, the experience we have in living in a country like America is greatly impacted by how that country governs and manages its affairs.
While most of what makes us happy is up to us individually, sharing our lives with others in society requires that we know and do certain things that keep the affairs of the country supportive of our individual life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Today, those governing and managing America are making decisions and taking actions that are not supportive of individual life and freedom. Surveys throughout this mid-term election year of 2022 confirm that 70% think America is moving in the wrong direction. That we are going in the wrong direction is hard to understand when one (like me) has lived through 14 American Presidents. If you listen and read, you see evidence that we know how to make things work in America that supports individual opportunities and freedoms to grow in all aspects of life.
So, what is going on. Let’s look at just two key areas of our American society.
#1. Economic & Financial Growth – The free-market capitalism espoused by Adam Smith in his book “Wealth of Nations” published in 1776 accompanied our declaration of independence from England. Smith strongly believed that a free people required a free-market system that would allow an open, creative exchange of goods and services based on the natural forces of supply and demand. He referred to it as the “invisible hand” as he attributed the growth of a nation’s wealth to the self-interests of each individual’s own security which he found unintentionally promotes the good of society. After nearly 250 years of the American experiment, we can trace the impact of economic and fiscal policy by the federal government that supports Smith’s premise. It is pretty basic:
- Keep taxes low (gives people money to make purchases that drive demand and gives producers money to invest for growth driving supply)
- Restrict regulations (gives producers incentives to make more goods and services that drive supply and set prices that drive demand).
Today, we are in a supply/demand debacle with taxes, regulation and prices soaring:
- With taxes, especially the hidden one of inflation
- With regulation, especially on our energy producers that impacts nearly all products and services and
- With prices, especially with the highest inflation rate in 40 years.
It is all unnecessary as we know how this works. The Trump administration from 2016 to 2020 much like the Reagan administration from 1981 to 1989 followed Adam Smith’s guidance and created record level economic and financial achievements increasing employment levels and wages for lower- and middle-income earners and minority groups like Blacks, Hispanics, and women. This outcome was stopped in its tracks with the Covid Pandemic in 2019. Yet, today, we are still witnessing record levels of federal revenues (Gross National Product) due to the tax cuts of 2017 which are still in place but being threatened with increases.
#2. Law & Order – Another strong element for society to provide in direct support of us individuals living and working in our neighborhoods are the laws and their just execution. Without the infrastructure that has been put into place over our nearly 250 years as a country, we are not secure to take care of our individual affairs. We think this is all in place, but the recent initiatives to defund the police and not prosecute perpetrators at all levels of crime against society has resulted in record levels of crime in major cities as well as our suburban and rural centers.
This area of American society may be the most important one to address as a fearful society is not a productive, growing society. The incentive motivation necessary to take on new opportunities and their associated challenges and risks to grow individually are outweighed by the fear motivation that immobilizes one’s decisions and actions.
There are many more areas than these two, but if we can’t get these two back on track, it is near impossible to seriously look at our broken systems of education, immigration, elections, foreign affairs, federal deficits and mounting long-term debt and bloated, expensive and ineffective government bureaucracies most protected by inept, corrupt public unions.
We have lots of things that are broken right now, but we know how to fix them. We need the people (you and me) to know what is going on and do their part to get us back on track. We need to get the right people into government and that may have to start with testing the efficacy of our judicial system. We need people who are operating in corrupt ways to be called out and held accountable.
With the outcome of the mid-term election and our votes to get representatives who know how to fix America, we now have an opportunity to begin this process. With the Republicans now holding a majority (though slight) in the House of Representatives, they are promising to do just that. We need to figure out our own ways to put pressure on the good people in Congress and our state legislators to keep pushing against the bad guys. We don’t have much time, but we owe it to ourselves as individuals to regain a supportive government that represents what America is all about – economic and financial growth that raises the standard of living for all and law and order that ensures the safety necessary to take on the risks and challenges of new growth and opportunity for us all. The next 18 months are critical for America and for each of us in our individual lives. Let’s all do our part and in our own individual way.