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John Livingston

It’s Not Yours

Former Senator Phil Graham and Mike Solon published a wonderful article in the Tues. May 24th Wall Street Journal that I will link below. Anyone who has owned and built a business and been told “you did not build that”, ranchers, private entrepreneurs, and inventors should read the article. Any retiree or worker that has invested in a 401-k, and IRA, or a pension should read the article. I would recommend the article to CEOs and Board members of large and small private companies, and non-profits who for years have been allowing themselves to be held hostage and have paid tribute to socialist organizations by people like Jesse Jackson and Black live Matters activists. Tribute (bribes) being extracted in the form of donations from corporate profits or from taxing and transferring individual wealth and using those monies beyond the traditional functions of corporations and governments is sowing the seeds for destruction of free markets and individual liberty. “In Our Post Enlightenment world” public interest beyond the influence of political activists is defined by the actions of constitutionally constrained governments” representing the people’s interests not the interests of provocateurs or corporate pirates.

And what is it that governments are supposed to do to guard these rights? Read our Great Declaration.

  1. Provide security to individuals and society—The common defense(police, militia, military)
  2. Secure property rights
  3. Secure intellectual property
  4. Provide a legal system respecting contract.
  5. Protect liberty

These are the primary roles of government that connect the dots between liberty and economic prosperity. Governments and organizations that see their roles with an eye to “social activism” confuse the argument. The role for charity is not a role for government. The “Social Justice” movement of the Catholic Church in the mid eighteen hundreds speaks to individuals—where in the New Testament and The New Covenant is government described as the conduit for charity? “Render Unto Caesar”. Caesar can build roads and armies. But Caesar never has, nor will Caesar ever be able to change hearts. Charity in the Christian Heart is defined as a covenant relationship between the giver and receiver of charity to which God is a party. “What you do unto the least of my brothers you do unto me”. A government handout is not charity but is the opposite. It paves a road ((am not arguing for privatizing all road building) toward dependency and indenture hood. True charity leads to liberty not dependency.

Karl Marx very much appreciated the power of capitalism. The power of capitalism “surpassed Egyptian Pyramids, Roman Aqueducts, and massive cathedrals…achieving more colossal productive forces in less than 100 years” than all the proceeding generations combined. So said Karl Marx.

The bases of Marx’s THEORY OF LABOR were that all economic value comes from labor. The value of the entrepreneur, the inventor, or the manager of scarce resources—a banker or investor or even a mid-level manager, was a false claim against labor. Intuitively we all understand that this is preposterous. Labor working efficiently leads to increased productivity. A well-managed farm or business improves the efficiency and productivity of labor. It may even “create its’ own utility in the marketplace” where there was none before. A great teacher empowers students more than someone who just goes through the actions of teaching. Not all surgeons perform at the same level of efficiency—same with engineers and lawyers and football coaches.

When progressive liberals, businessmen, and politicians become “stakeholders” in a political or economic system, the efficiency and productivity of the system declines. The level of collusion and cronyism that inevitably leads to corruption is today being seen at all levels of government and business. When government controls the means of production via taxation, regulation, or through subsidies, and when government becomes a major customer of business—think THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX or Medicare and Medicaid—the two biggest customers in the health care marketplace, productive forces reach a limit and then decline.

Liberals like Bernie Sanders, Barak Obama, Elizabeth Warren (did you see on the internet that her Native American name is “LIES LIKE A DOG?”) argue that rich people get more than they deserve. Here is what they don’t tell you: 70% of corporate earnings go to labor, the biggest losers when wages are cannibalized by taxes or when tribute is extracted from profits are workers. And rich capitalists don’t own the wealth of corporations. Some 72% of the value of publicly traded organizations is owned by pension funds and 401-(k) s and IRAs. The top 1% earn 20% of income and reinvest 50% of their earnings back into the private sector. The also by the way pay 40% of taxes. When progressive economic policies and deficit spending tank the stock market it is everyday Americans that are hurt—not the rich and their crony political partners in collusion. Any public policy that adversely impacts efficiency in the marketplace and productivity, lessons the value of property and wealth. It is the little guy that is hurt. Nowhere has this been proven to be truer than in health care over the past 50 years and more acutely over the past 12 years. Access, quality, cost was the promise of the Obama’s.

Access has become more limited as large hospital systems adjusted to Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsides and hospital beds nationwide have decreased by 15%—prior to the great Political Pandemic. The quality of care for sick patients has decreased while the cost of care has increased for sick patients. Preventive care costs have also increased with minimal returns on investment (ROI)… Individual insurance premiums and co-pays paid for by families and employers have gone up every year since the (ACA). ACCESS—QUALITY—COST(?) A government promise is like a check ready to bounce. The promise is always subject to changing terms and We the People are the final creditor holding the bag. It is the fruit of our children’s labor, along with the decreasing efficiency and productivity of an economy paying off the debt of government largess that will eventually have to pay the piper. There is no bankruptcy or receivership process that has been established in law to pay for these transactions. Monetizing the debt with printed money, the Fed buying short term and lending long term like the bank that it is not, has only delayed the day of reckoning. It is not capitalism or free markets that has gotten us into our “economic pickle”. It is greed and corporatism, and Mercantilism and crony-collusion of our government and institutional leaders.

In the end it all comes down to the fact that they are wasting “scarce economic resources”. They are overspending and creating debt. They are placing a claim on the wealth and property of the people they are supposed to represent.

“IT’S NOT YOURS” WE EARNED IT. WE HAVE ENTRUSTED YOU TO PROTECT IT.

Do your jobs. Run your businesses like businesses. Take care of your customers, your employees and your investors—in that order. Government should be in the business of governing, not redistributing or over regulating. Work for the people you represent and who you have a duty to serve. Make it easier for us to raise our families and take care of ourselves. The cost of increasing the size of government comes at the price of increasing the dependency of people and businesses on government. That reaches a limit and then productivity declines. “Always has, always will.” The loss in the value of our labor, property and wealth always follows. Look what is happening today in our country.

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