Donald Trump tweeted, in the way that only he can, his support for capitalism. He wrote;
“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”
What the president is arguing for is capitalism, or free trade. To understand his statement, it is necessary to realize that we are in the middle of a ‘secret’ war between the most murderous ideology humankind has ever known and basic God-given human freedom: a war between central planning, and voluntarism.
What the President is saying is simply that we have been taking the short end of the stick for so long that if we were to get a better deal, even for a short time, it would be so obvious that we could not fail to see the benefits of a more free market.
To be clear; central planning is the core term referring to communism, socialism, totalitarianism – for any political and/or economic system in which the individual does not have the freedom to keep the products of his labor and use them as he sees fit. Voluntaryism is the core term for systems of economics or government where the individual’s right to choose is respected above all else.
The simplest way to demonstrate that we are in a battle between good and evil is to compare the virtues of capitalism to the vices of socialism. As ever, history will be our guide.
Just fifty years ago, Lyndon Johnson declared his “war on poverty.” There’s no doubt that this sounds exceptionally noble, and it seemed to stand to reason that if we would only tax the rich, it would solve the problems of the poor- assuming the money taken from the rich ever found its way into the hands of the poor. Unfortunately, human nature makes this an unrealistic ideal.
Nevertheless, the poverty rate did drop to 12% from 17% in the first decade of the new program. However, few noticed that in the five years preceding World War II, poverty dropped from 22% to 17%. In the absence of government intervention, Americans were lifting themselves out of poverty on their own.
Johnson’s war on poverty created ‘progress,’ but that progress came to a halt. But why? It came to a halt because a government cannot accurately judge between the truly needy and the lazy. By doling out unearned wealth to both the needy and the lazy, at least half of the redistributed wealth went to waste.
In other words, by redistributing wealth to everyone within the category of “the poor” the lazy waste at least half of it. Those lazy-poor remain in dire straights and continue to beg for handouts. This becomes a permanent drag on the economy which breeds resentment on all sides.
Despite the fact that the Johnson administration spent $22 trillion on the war against poverty, funding 22 government welfare programs, progress in the fight against poverty came to a halt. Johnson’s White House had clear evidence that a government solution was not working, but that didn’t stop them from pouring even more money into the war on poverty.
Of course, history tells us that this did not end poverty. The rates of destitution remained insoluble below a given point under these socialist controls. It should, if our scholars and policymakers would study history, stand as a permanent maker of yet another failure of socialism to serve as a meaningful answer to the problem of human suffering.
Let’s look at another example; the minimum wage.
It sounds compassionate, at first, to say that we should raise the minimum wage. But the end result is that internships and entry-level positions vanish. Why? Because in giving all of our attention to the worker and leaving the employer totally unacknowledged, we create a disparity wherein the employer has to eliminate entry-level jobs just to make ends meet.
Put yourself in an employer’s shoes. Imagine you would like to fill an entry-level position. This would be a position where the employee knows essentially nothing. The marked low level of pay he would receive would be commensurate with the high level of mistakes and low productivity he would be very likely to yield.
By allowing employers to offer very low pay, entry-level workers have next to zero barrier to entering any field they wish. Those with drive and talent learn the craft and move up to more advanced positions.
Jim McDermott, (D.-Wash.) says, “This whole business about somehow raising the minimum wage causes a loss of jobs—if that’s true, why don’t we just drop the minimum wage altogether and let people work for a dollar a day or $1 an hour?”
What the minimum wage has done is force these entry-level people to instead go to college, pay huge amounts of money just to be let in the door of the industry they wish to work in, and then labor under the yoke of extreme debt for decades.
It wasn’t that long ago that there was a major political push to raise the minimum wage- grossly exacerbating the problem. Unfortunately, economics is not widely understood- especially by those who have mastered the art of sounding compassionate.
Another seldom reported on result of the socialist programs of the middle 1900s, is the sharp decline in active charitable giving. When the New Deal was set into place, people began to accept the idea that charity was the government’s job. The sad product of this mindset was a dramatic decrease in charitable giving by individuals and by private sector organizations.
The clear answer to all of these problems is free trade.
Today, minimum wage and free trade are not the political issue du jour. It is gun control. This, it would seem, is a starkly different issue. However, we might notice a common thread between the right to economic self-determination and the right to self-preservation. In both cases, what we’re talking about is the right of the individual to voluntarily choose how to live.
On the left, we have socialist central planning- a system where the individual has no free choice- and no freedom to opt out… and with gun control- the individual is forced to rely on the protection of a one-size-fits-all government mandated security force. And, as anyone who has had a life of death emergency can tell you, having to wait for employees of the government to show up on time and do their jobs reliably in a crisis is like waiting for Godot.