The United States is in dire straits. Our country is $13 trillion in debt, with a $1.4 trillion deficit. According to the Heritage Foundation, entitlement spending—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—will completely consume all federal revenues by 2052, meaning that all of the government’s money will go toward these three programs, and these three programs alone.
The economy has yet to awaken from its slumber. Unemployment remains above nine percent and underemployment—those who aren’t working or are working part-time and want to work full-time—is at 18.6 percent according to Gallup. Tax revenues aren’t enough to pay for our bloated government, yet the Congress won’t raise taxes for fear of exacerbating the effects of the recession and losing their jobs.
Stocks are still well below their pre-recession high. Housing starts remain sluggish. And the Federal Reserve continues to lend money to banks at zero percent interest, which, when all the money they’ve loaned finally leaves banks and enters the market, will likely lead to at least moderate inflation.
Nothing seems to be getting better. Americans are wondering if our best days are actually behind us.
Socialism is not the answer. It leads, argued Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek, to serfdom. Everywhere it has been tried, it has failed. Whatever its merits theoretically, practically it does not pass muster.
Pure capitalism is not the answer either; it is “heads” to socialism’s “tails.” Though it does lead to prosperity, the unfettered free market concentrates the control of the means of production into a few wealthy individuals and businesses. In this system, few are rich and many are poor.
These theories will not fix our mess because they are separated from humanity. Socialism worships the state, while capitalism’s deity is the individual. Left out are traditional structures like the family, churches, local government and community groups. Everything must be bigger; Walmart, McDonalds and Starbucks reign supreme.
The country’s manufacturing base is quickly disappearing. We no longer make our own TVs, airplanes or even cars. Our free trade ideology has resulted in the bolstering of China’s economy while hindering ours. It’s time for a different policy. A protective tariff should be passed which will eliminate our trade deficit of $42.8 billion and bring manufacturing jobs back to America. The blue-collar worker should not be forgotten.
Wall Street has replaced Main Street as Washington’s main focus. Instead of bailing out these companies when they overextend themselves, they should be allowed to go bankrupt and restructure. They are too big, and rather than being protected by the government, should be broken up into smaller entities.
The Federal Reserve should be greatly scaled back. Its Congress-granted power to print money and lend it to banks should be abdicated. The Fed promotes fiscal irresponsibility and the “bigness” of Wall Street. It needn’t anymore.
What we need is smaller economy that has rational limits, one that has no huge booms or huge busts. We need an economy that is beholden to no ideology. We need a humane economy that puts the interests of its people first.