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Rewarding failure

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General Motors chairman Rick Wagoner asks taxpayers for millions more in "bail out" after losing almost $31 million in 2008.

We may have an African-American president in the United States, but we are sinking to a new level of discrimination. With the proposed $3.55 trillion budget, which includes about 9,000 earmarks to fund such things as a "tattoo removal violence outreach program" and almost $2 million for swine odor and manure management, a small group of people will bear the burden of this record spending.

The hated "rich" will now fund the biggest chunk of wasteful spending ever seen in our history - at a time when those very people should be putting their resources into creating jobs, spending money to fuel the economy and buying into the descending stock market. But now they won’t have the money, because congress and the president will decide who gets money and who is forced to give up their money.

This is the biggest unnatural disaster to hit our country in decades. It is a catastrophe completely created by men (and a few women). The terrorist attacks of 9/11 cost an estimated $27.2 billion. Hurricane Katrina cost a reported $110 billion. President Obama’s Stimulus Act cost $787 billion. Now his new budget quadruples even that massive spending, putting us into the unfathomable range of multiple trillions.

The Era of Big Government is back and despite what you may believe, you will pay for it.

Aside from the purely anti-American philosophy behind this colossal transfer of wealth, the practical fallout of this move will hammer everyone.

When the government confiscates the wealth of our country’s most productive people, there are many ripple effects. First, those people cannot hire, buy or invest. That means fewer jobs, a slower economy and lower stock value. That affects the local contractors, car salesmen and everyone who owns a 401(k).

Second, when the government takes away the incentive for the successful to produce more wealth, they will quit creating wealth. The top wage-earners can retire today; they don’t need to work. But when they do continue their success, it helps the economy as a whole. When they quit contributing to the expansion of the economy, everything slows down.

Third, when the government takes money, they waste money. The very nature of a bureaucracy incurs unnecessary expenses, thereby devaluing each dollar that goes through it. If a wealthy benefactor gave $143,000 to a local museum, the museum would get a $143,000.

But when the government taxes citizens in order to give $143,000 to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, as they plan to do in this budget, they have to collect far more than $143,000. This is the Economics of Destruction and only empowers the elite in elected office.

Finally, when success is penalized and failure rewarded, it turns the entire American ideal upside down. Take General Motors, for example. The company reported a $9.6 billion loss in the final three months of 2008. It has already received $13.4 billion from the U.S. Treasury since Jan. 1. It’s asking for another $16.6 billion in taxpayer aid. Why are the American people forced to continually "bail out" this failing company? Will the government ever be in a position to tell another company "no?" If GM cannot sell enough cars to cover their costs, they need to change! The bankruptcy and reorganization laws are in place just for this purpose.

Instead, the automakers that are doing business right get nothing while the ones that do business wrong get money. It’s beyond absurd; it’s economically immoral.

On an individual level, we are setting the stage to reward people who do not work while penalizing those who create success. This is no longer a social safety net, it is pure socialism, which fails every time.

Thomas Friedman, who writes for the New York Times, wrote this week that "this is not the American way. Bailing out the losers is not how we got rich in this country, and it is not how we’ll get out of this crisis."

Tribune Media Services’ Cal Thomas calls it "a fool’s bargain with the U.S. government" and wrote, "Once, we honored and encouraged hard work, individual responsibility, integrity and achievement. The fruits of success were our reward. Today, we discourage such things by rewarding failure, mediocrity, incompetence and envy."

They couldn’t be more right. It pains me to watch what’s going on in our nation right now. I fear for the stability of the country we will leave our children and grandchildren. Those of us still holding a sense of right and wrong must speak up and speak up loudly. The country voted for "change," but, as my son recently quipped, "change" may soon be all that’s left in our pockets.


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