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Let the American Dream Work Again

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

While our “Republican” President and the Democrats work to figure out how to bailout and nationalize more troubled corporations, citizens need to send them a message! Stop rewarding incompetence and let people experience the natural consequences of failed business models and poor decisions! Let the free-enterprise system work!

If you are not afraid of what is happening in Washington, you should be. Instead of maintaining a government committed to ensuring equal opportunity, the Democrats and our “Republican” President are trying to take away the possibility of failure! It’s clear that president-elect Barack Obama and the Democrats have campaigned and won on equal outcomes for all! They feel all Americans are entitled to healthcare, a living wage, affordable mortgages, jobs that won’t go away because of foreign competition or poor business plans, and a government committed to meeting every “need.”

Helping people and corporations in the tough times sounds compassionate, but there’s a bill to be paid! To ensure equal outcomes and bailout corporations, Democrats promise to enforce “unequal” tax obligations on “rich” citizens and successful corporations. Liberal Democrats love “compassionate” government solutions—Freeze mortgage payments, make companies and “rich” taxpayers pay for health insurance, make “greedy” pharmaceuticals provide drugs at a cost Americans want to pay and keep raising the minimum wage until citizens are paid what they think they’re worth. They’ll ensure jobs by making it hard to fire and difficult for companies to close unprofitable plants. Of course, more government employees must be hired to make the regulations and ensure compliance! Now, don’t worry about those businesses or the “rich;” they can afford it!

In this age of anti-rich politics, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, a book that fifty years ago shocked the nation is a must read. In a time of recession, the government turns increasingly socialist; independent business owners become the target of confiscation and interference. In an effort to save the country, capitalists strike! Business leaders disappear; factories, farms and stores shut down. Riots break out as food becomes scarce. Capitalists hide, waiting out the crash that comes. They return to build a better, freer society. Rand’s novel showed how badly a nation needs its innovators, risk-takers and capitalists.

Punishing the strong and successful doesn’t help the weak; poor people don’t hire anyone! The Republican Party has always affirmed that the strength of America comes from its citizens, not its government. The American Dream isn’t an entitlement or a right; it’s to be earned anew in each generation. Instead of promising equal outcomes, America has always been about ensuring the equal opportunity to “pursue happiness!” Optimism doesn’t come from political programs in Washington; true optimism is earned the way it has always been earned—by each citizen overcoming obstacles on the way to success.

Instead of confiscating more from wealthy Americans and successful corporations to give relief to “working Americans” and failing companies, consider Abraham Lincoln’s caution, “I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war on capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.”

Lincoln understood what most politicians don’t appreciate. In a creative, capitalistic society, there is no real war between capital and labor. The American Dream allows movement between the classes. In America, data supports that the same person can provide both capital and labor at different stages of their lives. There will always be poor, but 95% who started poor don’t remain poor. Many aspiring workers work hard to save, then to invest and ultimately to become entrepreneurs or owners of capital that works for them to create their own wealth.

These new “capitalists” provide the capital, the entrepreneurs, and the jobs that fuel new opportunities for new workers to earn the money to save, to invest, and to fuel new dreams. Capital needs labor willing to work, spend and save; labor needs applied capital willing to take a risk on new dreams. Both need a government that’ll ensure that Americans remain free to makes dreams happen and to reap the rewards from their hard work. Lincoln knew what every conservative believes—the future of America rests in the people, not the politicians.

At the 1992 Republican Convention, Ronald Reagan shared his secret of success as a President: “I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts.” As a past labor leader, his rock-solid confidence in all Americans connected, “I’m not taking your time this evening to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”

As always, making the American Dream work is work. Life is difficult. Companies open, and companies close. Some careers thrive; others are no longer necessary. There are and will always be obstacles, but, with focused efforts, people can and will succeed again. This is a message too many of our politicians have forgotten, but it’s a message that is critical to the future of America.

Call your elected officials. E-mail the President, your senator and representative. Tell them to stop bailing out the failures. Tell them to take a stand for liberty and the freedom to succeed and fail. Let them know that the American Dream won’t die unless they kill it.

Finally, stop looking for answers from Washington and start doing what you can to make the best of the economic hand we’ve been dealt. It’s American citizens, American corporations and American workers who will pull us out of this recession. Stop watching and waiting! Tell the politicians to stop messing with America and get out of the way so we can bet busy bouncing back!

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