Where is John Galt?

Where is John Galt? Follow along as we find out!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FREEDOM IS HARD…

I was searching for something to write about today, and my lovely wife said “Freedom is hard”, I can’t even remember what we were talking about, but that one sentence stuck.

I started thinking about the little things that have slowly made Americans ‘Risk Adverse’. Previous generations of Americans carved out a Nation from a primal wilderness, folks that were ‘Risk Adverse’ need not apply. So where did all of these people come from? How did the pioneering American frontiersman become the timid European city-dweller? I can only assume that we’ve breed out the rough and tumble and left only the polished urban dandy through the destruction of our will.

On October 24, 1929 the United States suffered the worst economic disaster in its history, the Stock Market dropped an astounding 11% (yes, only 11%) at the opening bell. Compared to the “crash” in October 2008, where the Dow lost 18% over the week, you’d think that they were overreacting in ’29. However, in 1929, an 11% drop on the first day was just the beginning and by the end, the Stock market lost 89% of its value. What does all of this have to do with Freedom you ask; well it was this crash that allowed the first of the ‘Freedom sappers’ to start siphoning our will…

In 1935, President Roosevelt implemented Social Security in an attempt to limit the effects of the Crash. As an aside, in 1935, Social Security did not include women or minorities (blacks); it was set up to reduce the effects of poverty only for white males (I thought that was interesting). What Mr. Roosevelt put together was in fact Socialism, a charge brought up in the Senate prior to passage, and worse than Socialism (if that’s possible) was that it began the slide into Government dependency. Now you didn’t have to plan for a fickle future, saving and husbanding your resources or working until you died now you could have leisure time and your benevolent Government would watch over you in your golden years. Now, with the Government looking out for Mom and Pop, Junior could live his life without the question of what to do with his parents when they got old. Yes, Mr. Roosevelt sure paved a golden future; all it required from you was a little contribution from you and your employer, what could be easier?

Of course, if we fast forward a few years, with the Social Security “lock-box” and its millions of dollars languishing outside of the grasp of Congress, we find a temptation that no Congress Critter could resist. Heck, that money was coming in far faster than the surviving retires could take it out, why not just add it to the General Fund and use it to pay for some of the other programs that are so important. Really, Social Security could never run out of money right. By the 1980’s Social Security was broke, a combination of long living retires, and less workers paying into the system due to trade imbalances, and outsourcing of jobs doomed the system. The fact that the Congress had raided the Fund was telling, but the inevitable crash was inherent in the scheme from the beginning.

Now, seventy (plus) years later and we are still attempting to repair a system that was designed to fail. On the Short term, Social Security would have worked brilliantly, if the first recipients of the Government largess had put money into the fund, and if Congress had resisted the urge to rob from the American Worker, a temptation no Critter ever resisted.

While Social Security was one of the first will sapping Government policies, it is far from the last, or in my opinion the worst. The rest might just keep me writing for a few weeks or maybe not…

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