Lost amidst the ever-escalating clash of civilizations, pitting Western nationalism against Islamism and its progressive apologists, is the fact that American capitalism once had a soul.
Our national economic brand has been damaged by recession, bailouts, and seemingly inextricable ties between government and business elites. The corruption of the capitalist machine will not be solved by positive government actions, but rather by negative ones that remove barriers to entry and smash the academic-government-corporate establishment’s grip on every lever in our society.
Government is not and will never be a productive enterprise. Entrepreneurs – always the nouveau riche, never entrenched – are the true heroes of capitalism. Here are some steps we can take to help them restore dynamism and dignity to the greatest nation on earth:
1) Simplify the tax code
Arbitrage opportunities and carve-outs for the superrich are inherent in the very existence of a labyrinthine tax regime. The economic growth that continues to elude us will require disentangling ourselves from red tape, replacing envy-driven progressive tax rates with a fair or flat tax, and cutting corporate taxes substantially to enable global competition while eliminating corporate loopholes that feed the false allure of socialism. The mega-rich – not the proverbial forgotten man – have the most to lose from transforming the tax code into an understandable document.
2) Ban bailouts
Bailouts for failing companies hurt the economy for the same reason that helicopter parents ruin children. Capitalist wealth creation flows from those who learn from their mistakes. Along with creating moral hazard, the optics created by corporate bailouts are an enormous boon to the anticapitalist far left. Like evolution, capitalism is a self-correcting system made stronger by the periodic failure of its components.
3) Cap government spending
Capping government spending is more important than tax cuts, which usually accompany quid pro quo spending increases. The seen effect of our multi-trillion dollar budget is skyrocketing national debt; the unseen catastrophes, which are rarely mentioned, are the opportunity costs of pork barrel projects and redistribution: brilliant, job-creating businesses that simply never hatch because government snatches money out of the hands of entrepreneurs. Entitlement spending must be addressed: Medicare, which began as a $3 billion dollar program in 1965, will cost $1 trillion a year by 2020.
Government spending should be made to account for the compliance costs of new regulations, which under Obama have reached hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Every cent of this enormous sum is diverted from productive resources and well-paying jobs.
4) End Corporate Welfare
Overhauling the tax code would not prevent corporate subsidies from entering new legislation. A Constitutional Amendment might be a good start. As long as government throws taxpayer money at millionaire farmers and useless projects like Solyndra, it will be hard to make the case that America is a free enterprise system that rewards hard work over government privileges.
5) Congressional term limits
The spirit of free enterprise requires governance by, for and of the people – the opposite of the kind of shady system that rams Obamacare and 20,642 regulations through the legislature in a seven year span. America needs responsible citizen legislators, not career politicians who become millionaires off of taxpayer money and insider arbitrage that is illegal in every other industry.
lobbying official bribery
Any citizen may “lobby” the government – i.e., ask for attention to be given to a problem that might only be resolved by regulation. Lobbying becomes nefarious when campaign contributions are given in exchange for legislation that puts a company’s competitors at an artificial disadvantage. Since politicians are the beneficiaries of these corporate bribes, only public outrage can force this issue to the forefront. The gradual move toward pure democracy, with social media displacing establishment journalism, lends a glimmer of hope on this particular issue.
7) Abolish the IRS
The IRS has become a fascist tool of political oppression. As such, it is completely antithetical to the concept of a free society. Those who turned a blind eye to the abuses of power under Obama might regret their reticence under a Trump or Clinton Administration. Once the tax code is rewritten and simplified, the IRS must be replaced with a smaller and more focused collection entity.
8) Repeal Obamacare
Obamacare sucks funds from the young and able in order to provide people with benefits they often don’t need. The problem can be solved by ending the employer mandate – the most fundamental reason for America’s high health care costs – and allowing interstate competition for health insurance. The health insurance industry is dominated by enormous corporations with myriad government privileges. Separate State from economics, and the result will be competition, innovation and lower prices.
9) End cable oligopolies
Small and innovative companies simply cannot compete with Time Warner and Comcast, which cut deals with local governments that give them exclusive rights-of-way and the power to charge ridiculous prices for cable and internet. With so many people tuned into programs selected by oligopolies, the establishment media controls the range of acceptable viewpoints. Ending local cronyism would strengthen the growing allure of Internet-based figures, who leverage podcasts, social media and YouTube to provide alternatives to boring news outlets.
10) Encourage entrepreneurship
Why do we encourage impressionable young people to take on $35,000 worth of debt to pursue degrees in gender studies? The opportunity cost for bright students is a career as a specialist or an entrepreneur; money is better spent on ventures that fail (and thereby inform) than non-specialist educations that reinforce the victimhood mentality of identity politics. If America wants to compete in the 21st century, young people need to read less about gender pronouns and more about entrepreneurs like Andrew Carnegie, who shaped the society they take for granted.
How is it that so many billionaires, perpetually maligned for their assumed privileges, spurned college diplomas in favor of real world tinkering?