Skip to comments.Paulson: Time to respect success
Posted on 11/23/2009 9:04:29 AM PST by Signalman
Milton Friedman said with passion: The record of history is absolutely clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activity that is unleashed by the free enterprise system. As imperfect as American capitalism is, it has still made America the shining city on the hill where immigrants still stand in line and cross borders to find opportunity.
Those who worked hard to earn success and wealth used to be respected; now theyre more likely to be the subject of envy and derision. Its even become acceptable to embrace candidates who openly brag about redistributing the wealth of the top 5 percent of wage earners to subsidize their supporters.
In Europe, vandalism against the rich is growing. An international sales manager pointed to a beautiful, silver Porsche in the parking lot and said: If you own one, youre likely to have the hood keyed by vandals. They dont think the rich deserve what they own; they had to have taken it from others to get to where they are.
Certainly media news play a role by covering highly visible executives who failed to live up to the values they put up on their walls. Unfortunately, the good bosses, the ethical managers, the charitable rich benefactors and the job-creating entrepreneurs dont make the headlines by hiring workers, supporting charities or providing dividends to stockholders.
Hollywood adds to the negative image of business executives. In the 1960s, business people in movies were three times more likely to exhibit characteristics of rampant greed than other occupations. By the 1980s, they were 10 times more likely. Rather than a reward for offering valued goods and services, profit is ordinarily portrayed as the result of exploitation and fraud.
The church does its part to chastise the rich. Some pastors pray for social justice code for wealth redistribution by the government is good. Money is a frequent topic in the Bible, but Jesus didnt come to call Rome to institute universal healthcare. Believers were to be good stewards, to give to the poor, not to elect politicians to take from others to do the giving for them. The Good Samaritan wasnt just good; he used his money to make a difference.
President Barack Obama and his liberal Democrat leaders have declared war on wealth. The top 5 percent already pay 60.63 percent of all the individual income taxes collected. The president wants them to give even more.
Margaret Thatcher warns, The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money. Instead of trying to take from the rich and punish achievement, its time to learn from what they do and emulate them. Steve Forbes reminds us in his new book, How Capitalism Will Save Us, that America doesnt need a new idea! Obama needs to unleash a tried-and-true strategy stop throwing money away on losing companies too big to fail and start rewarding companies willing to invent the future and hire more Americans to do it. The American Dream can still work if we let it.