Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Presidential Candidates – Economic Freedom

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 14, 2008

A major plank for any presidential candidate is how they view government’s role in the economy.  Some candidates view the
government as the insurer of the people’s welfare; while others, view government’s role more like an umpire to ensure all citizens play by the rules of free enterprise.  This discussion could develop into many separate books so I give an overview with a couple of
specifics cases that will validate the principles.  I feel strongly that no government can insure the welfare of its citizens.  By the very nature of government, it only receives money from the citizens.  How can a government take from its own citizens, pay for all the bureaucrats and still provide more than it has taken?  It is economically impossible, which means the plan is to take from those who have money to give to those who don’t.  There is not one example in the long history of mankind where a reward for laziness has produced more wealth.  Not one, ever!  

Collectivism, regardless of what name you give it—communism, socialism, fascism, Nazism or modern liberals—derives it support from what Albert Jay Nock termed “Epstean’s Law.”  Epstean’s Law states, “Man tends always to
satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion.”  What could be better for some uninformed voter than to vote for some politician who promises free food, health care, housing, ET all, under the guise of compassionate care for the less fortunate?  Big companies also get
involved by throwing money to politicians who promise special monopoly deals in the marketplace for their product or business.  Epstean’s Law applies to everyone rich or poor and must not be wrongly catered to or our whole country will suffer.  Look at all the well-intentioned government programs that fail and
perform the opposite functions of originally planned.  This is why democracies with time become collectivist, as mass-man votes against private property rights and for government welfare for all.   But Epstean’s Law also is the driving force behind every material improvement and labor saving device.  It is highly beneficial when directed by a competitive free-market economy based on the right of private property and equality before the law.  Henry Ford understood Epstean’s Law and stated, “I give the laziest man in my factory the toughest job, because he will find an easier way of doing it.”  This is the positive side of Epstean’s Law.

Government cannot provide for the welfare of its citizens and survive.
Even today we see the results of collectivist action in destroying our great country.  The taxes paid by
Americans are at an all time high—when you include all the hidden fees and charges.  The people are drowning through over taxation and are desperate to see their individual financial lives
improved.  It is tempting to believe that government can solve their issues and politicians are tempted to promise this to get elected.  DO NOT BE FOOLED!   All we should ask of government is to ensure that everyone plays by the rules and allows human beings to enjoy their God-given rights to grow as fast and as far as they are willing to work.  No one should get a free ride from the government.  But Orrin, what about the unfortunate who need charity?  I am all for charity and we are commanded in the Bible to provide for those in need.  Charity ought to be a private affair and not government directed.  The only thing that has saved this country from collectivism is the inefficiency of the bureaucracy in implementing the collectivist policies. 

Thomas Jefferson said, “The government governs best, which governs the least.”   The Soviet Union was government control of everything and we can see how miserably this failed.  If drinking the whole glass of poison kills the patient, what doctor should argue to only drink half a glass?  But this is exactly what we see happening in our government today.  We are not communist collectivist, but we are seduced in to thinking collectivism would be good in some areas.  In an Opinion Journal article, the economic freedom of all 50 states was compared.  Here is a snippet of the article, “In 2005, per capita personal income grew 31% faster in the 15 most economically free states than it did in the 15 states at the bottom of the list. And employment growth was a staggering 216% higher in the most free states. It hasn’t
been a “jobless recovery” in states that have adopted pro-growth tax and
regulatory policies.”  Economic history constanty re-proves and old truth.  The more government leaves the fruit of the harvest to the citizens, the more fruit is produced.

Let me give an example from a congressman
who understood this principle well.  Davy Crockett, the famous outdoorsman was also a congressman from Tennessee.  After the war of 1812, Congress proposed a bill to appropriate ten thousand dollars to Stephen Decatur’s widow.  The war hero’s widow had fallen on hard times
and Congress discussed giving the money to ameliorate her distress.  Only a hard heart would vote against such a
compassionate measure, but Davy Crockett had his reasons.  Here is Crockett’s speech he delivered to Congress:

We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. . . . Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity.  Every member upon this floor knows it.  We have the right, as individuals, to give
away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but. . . . We have no
right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. . . Mr. Speaker, the
deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of
his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to
him.  This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price.  If it is a debt, how much is it?  If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount.  There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. . . . But if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House.  There are thousands of widows in the country just such as this one. .

Sir, this is no debt.  The government did not owe it to the deceased
when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died.  I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. . . We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt.  We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate as charity. . . I am the poorest man on this floor.  I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.

Crockett knew that “Hard cases make bad law.”  The widow bill was defeated and some members did donate money for her hardship.  Not all of the congress participated with their private funds.  It seems most of congress is more willing to be compassionate with public funds than personal funds.  Imagine if Bob Dickie, the Team CEO, started taking Team funds and donating to charities of his choice.  These are Team funds and not at the disposal of any one of us.  In the same way, government funds are the citizen’s money held in a trust to provide the basic infrastructure for all of the people.  Politicians should not spend the public funds on pet projects or anything that creates a special deal for some against others.  This divides people and initiates Epstean’s Law in a detrimental way.  

Any candidate for president that proposes more government to solve the ills of the people is a direct descendant of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.  Whatever else government is, it is the society’s apparatus of coercion.  Government has monopoly power to enforce the rules of the game.  If someone enters a bank and attempts to illegally withdraw funds by violence—the police have authority to coerce the bank robber out of his actions through force.  To quote Edmund Opitz, “The business of society is peace; the business of government is violence.  So, the question is: What service can violence render to peace?  The
libertarian answer is that violence can serve peace only by restraining peace
breakers.”   If you don’t think the business of government is violence then stop paying your taxes and see if violence occurs.  Remember, every law passed also passes corresponding punishments for not obeying the law.  Every law passed means more government intervention to ensure the law is followed.
I am not for a lawless society, but am for reducing the quantity of laws
and the controls that bind the human spirit and liberties needlessly. 

To sum up, government provides for defense, ensures God-given rights, and allows the pursuit of happiness.  Government cannot ensure the welfare of its
citizens and any politician promising the government will take care of you is
either lying or hopelessly ignorant.  We as Americans must insist that our candidate for president allows America to do what it does best—freely solve our own problems.  A moral people following the principles of the Bible does not need a new Sovereign.   The more people follow God, the less they will need government regulations & rules to enforce a myriad of issues.  The American phenomenon is based upon free people thinking, doing and solving issues for themselves with minimal government involvement.  Ronald Reagan
said it best, “The ten scariest words to hear—‘This is the government and we are here to help.’”  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

One Response to “Presidential Candidates – Economic Freedom”

  1. […] do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.”   Ponder the principles that President Lincoln is teaching and ask yourself if anything has changed today.  No matter how much […]

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