I get hot under the collar when I hear someone trying to make the point that big government programs and higher taxes are for my own good.
From one party you hear that more money is needed for bigger programs for all aspects of our life. They say that they know how to spend my money better than I do. Why don’t they just tell the truth and say, “Send me all your money and I will return it to each according to their need?”
Big government, big programs; everyone gets a free ride. At what point do the people working and paying the taxes that support that free ride just give up and become dependent on the big government’s handouts? Who will pay the bills then?
Remember that we are the taxpayers. It is our hard-earned money they want. We are the government, not them. Those people at the county offices, state and nation’s capitals work for us, not the other way around. We must keep them accountable to us.
You can read and hear a lot about the ills of NAFTA and imports from overseas. Those politicians wanting support from those who have or may lose employment complain the loudest about how our economy is being ruined by imports.
It is easy to make imports look bad to you when you are feeling the direct effect of loss or possible loss of work. It is at this point they ask for your help in laying the fault at the other party’s feet and say your economic hardship is the fault of the other party.
If the truth were known, I think they do not care about your problem. They have a political agenda for obtaining power and will use any means to get your support. Besides, why should anyone pay two dollars for an item in one box when they see the same identical item in another box for one dollar?
Should we pay more to assure a neighbor always has a job when we can pay less for the same item, keep one dollar in our pocket and know someone else has a job because of the purchase?
In our free society you do have the choice of buying the product made by your neighbor, whatever the cost. Should they be denied that choice? No! No more than I should be denied the right to buy the less expensive one.
And what is a fellow to do when he has only one dollar and needs the product? In a free market, he can afford to buy the needed item. A free market society always has the best there is at the lowest cost. A closed market usually has fewer options, if not just one, at the highest price possible.
You may not like it when another country performs a task at a lower cost, causing loss of jobs in a certain sector, especially yours. But someone somewhere with ambition and an eye for profit will use good old American know-how to build an all-new or better mousetrap and hire people for production.
Imports are not a threat to our society; they create the opportunity to do bigger and better things with the extra money saved when buying them. Some people and companies use those savings to make more products, earn more profits and hire more people.
When something costs you more than you can pay, you stop using it. In the 1950s and 1960s, Detroit produced cars of very shoddy workmanship. They had no competition or rules, internal or external, that required them to produce the best possible car at a fair price. The American public turned to imports.
Detroit had to improve the quality of their product or face losing a large share of their business. Imports gave the American public a choice. They voted by buying imports. Detroit got the message, changed their ways, produced a quality product again and won back a lot, but not all, of their customers.
They lost part of their market share because they got big and sloppy. Profit and power for themselves seemed to be their only goal. Should we have protected Detroit and continued to buy inferior cars? Without competition for Detroit, what would you be driving today and what would it cost?
Should we say our domestic producers should not have to compete with sources outside our country? Where do you draw the line of protection? Around our country? Around our state? Around our county?
Once you let this get started, you may find you might have to buy your next car from Joe’s Blacksmith Shop in Rock Spring. Don’t ask what that car will cost. It does not matter. You buy it or do without.
Competition from within and outside the country has made life better for all of us in the United States. If you do not think so, have all of your utilities disconnected. How long do you think it would take until you are living like our ancestors in, say, 1870?
Try keeping your current standard of living under those conditions. Competition and a desire for profit have produced new and better products for our everyday life. Protection from imports is not progress.
We listen to the news and it tells us the nation’s economy is improving. You read the Walker County Messenger and read a columnist saying there is a rising economy and a dying job market. How can the economy be rising when jobs are being lost?
To believe some, it would be all the Republicans’ fault. Finger-pointing to advance a political agenda is easy. Looking for the main cause takes work and the will to make changes. There is no immediate glory in that.
Could it be the employment opportunities enjoyed in our area are decreasing due to a change in demand and not outside competition? Everything at one time or another must change or our economy will eventually fail.
If our ancestors had not seen the possibilities of improving their lives by buying an auto from Henry Ford when he first marketed his mass-produced automobile and stayed with their horse and buggy, where and what would we be doing now?
Do not look at the decline of employment opportunities in our area as a hopeless situation. Look at change as a challenge. Change is an opportunity to have a bigger and better life, not bigger government programs and higher taxes.
Status quo should never be accepted. Sir Winston Churchill said it best: “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
Now, all we must do is meet the challenge.
Ken Whaley lives in Rock Spring. He can be reached by email at email@example.com