The American Dream has needed defending in the past against attackers from outside our borders. Today it is coming under attack from within. Some of the attackers are those we elected to protect it.
People from around the world have immigrated to America for the freedom to create and pursue opportunity. This morning a Canadian woman told CNN she moved here with the hope of getting rich. “Being rich isn’t bad. Money represents opportunity.”
She’s right. The current commentary from Washington suggesting class oppression is wrong. Those who made money legally and ethically did nothing wrong; they took risks and worked hard. Those who made ill-gotten gains hurt everyone, the rich as well as the poor. Nobody is trying to protect them.
The rich are already taxed disproportionately. And today our President says they must be taxed more. My wish is that Washington would reread the story of the golden goose, because irresponsible and oppressive taxation and spending are about to kill it.
The rich are those who don’t chip in $25 for the expenses of their kid’s softball team; they buy the jerseys for the entire team. Wealthy people don’t contribute money to the church or synagogue building project; they underwrite the lion’s share of the cost.
“Not all rich people are so generous!” you say? True, but current legislation is aimed at America’s wealthiest, and that includes the generous as well as the stingy (and poor and middle class people can be generous or stingy too.)
Have no empathy? Then consider this: spending money that Washington doesn’t have mortgages your future and makes it harder for you to live and American dream by taking away the incentives of hard work and success and burdening the system that enables you to better your situation. Are you willing to trade short-term and uncertain security for long term opportunity? That is a choice being made for you by legislators right now.
The threat is two-fold: current thinking and action by our leaders wants to first further penalize the wealthy (the most productive sector of society) who have done nothing immoral or wrong and second create a tenuous safety net–not an opportunity–for those with limited means.
Don’t buy into the something-for-nothing talk coming out of Congress. Money comes from somewhere; in Washington it comes from your wallet or purse not just now but in the future. Congress wants to spend money you and I haven’t made, and money our kids will someday earn. That’s not hyperbole, but fact.The growth of the deficit is on a scale never before experienced much less contemplated.
As a trained economist, I assure you that even if there is some measure of success from the current stimulus package–and despite my disagreement with the means, like you I want to see it succeed–the price will be future inflation that will be economically crippling.
Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, rich, poor and middle class, we are all the beneficiaries of the American Dream. When it is diminished so are our opportunities, both now and in the future. To keep it healthy, we must focus on creating opportunities for all, not taking the easy and expedient route of spending money we don’t have.