Terry Paulson

When politicians try to fix economies, look out! In 1929, the stock market crashed, and the politicians made it worse. In 1987, President Reagan faced a stock market crash that fell by almost the same amount. What followed was not another depression, but 20 years of prosperity, low inflation and low unemployment. What was the difference? To the dismay of the media and many politicians, Reagan did nothing. He knew that the economy goes through cycles and would recover on its own.

Recently, when asked what the President and Congress should do, Harvard Professor N. Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, replied, “Absolutely nothing!” The economist Thomas Sowell provided needed perspective, “There is not one economist among the 535 members of Congress. But, in an election year, that is not a political handicap. Santa Claus has won far more elections than any economist.”

In the past, we’ve tried spending our way to being a very compassionate country. Our government invested $5.4 trillion on means-tested welfare payments in the “War on Poverty.” The investment would have been worth it, if it had worked, but it did not work. In fact, the results of this type of compassion have been devastating. Under the guise of caring, we’ve ruined families, making it more profitable to be a single-parent family than to have husbands in the home.

With the cost of Medicare, Social Security and existing entitlements skyrocketing, and federal and state governments having to cut budgets, much of America is in denial! They want more from government, and they want others to fund their addiction! As Gerald Ford said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.” You know who pays for everything Santa Claus puts under the tree—it’s you and I!

It’s time we measure compassion by how many people no longer need government programs instead of by how many are served by them. Outside of a necessary safety net, it’s time to cut programs, not expand them.

In November, a vote for the Republican team is not a vote to end compassion. It’s a vote for caring enough to assist without creating more dependency. Make sure a safety net doesn’t become a lifelong hammock. In fact, the push out of the hammock may be the most caring thing we can do to help more citizens gain confidence in their own ability to overcome life’s obstacles.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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