Deep in the trenches of oppression and opportunity, beneath the rubble of idealism and propaganda, lies the truth. No, the truth doesn’t lie but it is far too often manipulated, torn, and waved as the flag of special interests. Yet, where there are tears in the fabric of freedom, the thread of misconception can always be traced back to the source. America, the land of the free and home of the brave, was forged upon the pain and suffering, the ingenuity and wisdom, of cultures spanning the dawn of man. In the wake of tyrannical rulers, religious persecution, and endless bloodshed our forefathers knew that if our society was to survive, let alone flourish, government must be limited, people must be held accountable, and freedom must provide the inescapable blanket beneath which both must coexist. Over two hundred years later, the intricate yet flexible fabric they wove, the Constitution, led to the proliferation of the most powerful & prosperous country on Earth. Was this new-found republic perfect? No. Was it a resounding success? Absolutely. Evidently, however, that is still not enough.
Once upon a time, before Las Vegas, Twitter, and Global Warming coincided with revisionist history, American settlers died from basic ailments, starvation, or a chance encounter with a wily predator. Everyday needs – such as food, clothes and shelter – were a blessing; a sign of unspoken respect and indelible pride. Now, they are but foregone conclusions; a relic of want and envy that are too often discarded and forgotten beneath the sheen of a complacent, insatiable culture. Knowing human desire is as infinite as the stars, though it’s much more unlikely to be paid like one, how one provides for themselves is entirely a different question. There is no crime in wanting a better life, the pleasures of the pedestrian mind, yet who is responsible for bridging the gap between fiction and reality, opportunity and responsibility? More prophetically, who is to blame if you fail to reach your goals, or in today’s progressive paradigm, if your neighbor achieves more?
In the eye of the recent Wall Street protests reside the cruxes of social and economic justice; i.e., equality levied by the leftist hand of inequality. Liberalism, a distant relative from its patriotic predecessor during the Great Depression, evolved from the counter-culture of the 1960’s into an anti-American, anti-capitalism, secular spitball. They pretend to be a predominantly mainstream phenomenon by grabbing headlines and making bold accusations – supposedly threatened by armed, racist Christians high on Jesus – but the facts speak otherwise. As the country continues to flounder in the Great Recession, swept into the currents of a global downturn, liberals claim capitalism, corporate America, is at the heart of our problems; when more succinctly, it’s at the epicenter of their agenda. Allegedly, these firms systematically exploit struggling masses, they oppress their workers, and they never pay taxes. The problem is, these accusations are overflowing with stereotypes, assumptions, and just plain sensationalist ire.
Without corporate America, perhaps the single greatest catalyst of our wealth, power, and quality of life, this country would be a shell of itself. Big business accounts for a substantial percentage of hiring, building, and philanthropy in the United States. Countless public institutions and organizations – academic, medical, athletic, and the arts – are either founded or sustained through corporate donations. Furthermore, a number of these entities have and continued to pioneer innovations that transcend the world: from life saving treatments, to alternative energy research and everyday information solutions. If I may, what country’s “capitalist marauders” invented electricity, the telegraph, the telephone, the airplane, the automobile, the personal computer and made them available to individuals across the globe? That’s right; those evil, profit seeking corporations. Without their resources, their humanitarian and entrepreneurial spirit to push the boundaries of technological and cultural advancement, the world would indeed be a much darker place. Thank God for those energy saving light bulbs. Demagoguery loves the dark!
And what of duty, patriotism to you and me, but TAXES to the the soldiers of statism? Why are liberals so obsessed with taxes? Simple…CONTROL! They want more social programs, more handouts, more unabridged power. Yes, so much for the priceless institutions of pride and accountability. Not to rain on the left’s propaganda parade, but corporations pay 70% of all taxes in this country; hardly a paltry figure. Likewise, a majority of these firms pay at a 49% clip: a 40% flat corporate tax and a 9% dividend tax. That’s nearly 50% of your profits turned over to the powers that be! Sound fair? *crickets* Without a doubt these firms are either directly or indirectly responsible for a bulk of sales generated and salaries paid in America, as well as a major source of revenue collected by Uncle Sam. If the business of America is business, which it is, they represent the heartbeat of our progress and the anti-thesis of the socialist agenda.
Not to assuage the hand of contrarianism – those extreme cases used to paint the entire lot with hyperbole – but do corporations get tax breaks and specialized treatment? Of course some do; just ask GE, Obama’s biggest commercial donor in 2008. Or how about those lucrative contracts awarded to congressional home districts? It is definitely not unheard of for companies to be given special breaks by our local, state and federal government. These trade-offs are simply a proven method to lure corporations – the economic growth these companies provide to a community in terms of jobs and disposable income – with tax abatements, land grants, and zoning privileges. That’s what helps to keep them solvent and growing. Is it always right? Of course not! In fact, sometimes it’s downright criminal. But then again, what do critics say when they leave America for more profitable pastures? Regardless of the numbers, commonality or sensational exceptions, we’re missing the ultimate equalizer: politicians. Our elected officials – those elected by these same socialist activists – are the ones who write the tax codes and grant special privileges in exchange for benefits. So if corporations, even under the worse case scenario, are operating within the law, how does that make them the enemy? It doesn’t. It makes their accusers ignorant. Perhaps progressives should protest the exorbitant salaries and tax loopholes enjoyed by their numerous celebrity supporters. What’s the going cost of a game, a concert, or a movie again? Darn those greedy celebrities!
But what about all that profiteering; price gouging the common man to the point of poverty? From regulatory committee’s to fair competition acts – anti-collusion statues – there is a plethora of federal and state checks on today’s corporations. And if there is a shortcoming that needs to be addressed, such as in the case of Enron, Congress and the courts are readily available to meet the challenge. Once again, “We The People” hold the ultimate trump card. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If you disagree with a company’s practices, don’t work for them or buy there stock! With the exception of a few products, consumers set the bar as far as demand. Without you’re financial support, these car, clothing, and phone companies wouldn’t exist. And if you’re really determined, you can always start your own company and redefine the industry. People do it everyday. No, really, they do. Apple, anyone? All you need is a garage! Just remember, for every one business that succeeds, another 10 fail. Risk…work…reward.
“Wait, you haven’t even mentioned despicable slave wages that are dictated to helpless workers!” Hmm, do I even have to say it? I could list a mountain of legislation and oversight committees that are dedicated to procuring safe working conditions and fair compensation, but I won’t. It’s a jungle out there. Modern America is but a shadow of the egregious conditions that dominated the Industrial Revolution. Just ask Upton Sinclair. Today, workers’ salaries and benefits are at their zenith. Even at the lower spectrum of the corporate ladder, McDonald’s employees can receive health care and Walmart employees are offered stock options. Does your local convenience store or mom and pop store offer such amenities? Do you really believe local businesses don’t do everything in their power to make a buck? Sure we could pay menial labor $15 an hour, pretend minimum wage wasn’t intended for unskilled works, but what good is a $5 sub when you have to go to Mexico to get it? How many slices of ham are on that Congressional bill?
While we are on the subject of compensation, are you privy to what a United Auto Workers member makes? How about the Teamsters? Who’s transporting that dynamo product of yours out to the marketplace? The executives of these “righteous” unions, just like their corporate counterparts, make a very pretty penny. Any surprise these CAPITALISTS have joined the Wall Street protests? Mob rule means more union dues, higher salary demands. The oppressed proletariat smells money; MO’ money. Yes, don’t be a fooled by the incessant glare of idealism, for they too work the system. How else can an uneducated average Joe start at $40 an hour with full benefits and a retirement plan? There are many reasons why a string of firms are going bankrupt, or are on the brink of foreclosure. Everybody wants theirs, even at the price of failure. Yes, cutting off your nose to spite your face is still hip; especially if you’re a socialist drinking Starbucks decrying economic inequality.
So, for the sake of toasters, hot coffee, and world peace, what’s all of this civil disobedience really about? It’s about frustration and power. Voted the most liberal senator by an independent watchdog before his presidency, Barack Obama was the left’s game-changing, shining star; a torchbearer for their cause – along with the likes of self-admitted Marxist pals Robert Ayers, Robert McChesney and Van Jones – who promised to “dismantle capitalism brick by brick” and to institute social and economic justice. So much for the Constitution. Well, to their credit, they’re succeeding…with catastrophic consequences. As Obama’s approval numbers continue to spiral into oblivion while his list of failures continue to catapult into the stratosphere, Liberals are lashing out in a desperate attempt to save face, deflect attention from their leader/party’s woes, and preserve their agenda. With the landslide losses of the 2010 and 2014 elections, coupled with Hillary’s likely candidacy in 2016, these organized protests of opportunistic anarchy are nothing more an attempt to disrupt the system and “capitalize” on people’s suffering in an attempt to sway public opinion by blaming corporate fat cats for massive unemployment, the highest poverty in our nation’s history, and a crippling debt. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. If Bush was supposedly a disaster, despite accruing less debt and possessing an average unemployment rate of 5.4% in a tenure plagued by the economic fallout from 9/11, two wars and the credit collapse, what does that make Obama? Sorry, hope doesn’t change the truth.
No, Obama wasn’t dealt the best hand, but he has made it exponentially worse with worthless bailouts, wasteful spending, and socialist doctrine. Adding more debt than the first 42 presidents combined in his first term alone, while engineering a culture of entitlement that nearly doubled public assistance recipients to 50 million, is hardly the calling card of an experienced, responsible leader. If we ran our finances like Washington, we’d all be homeless and bankrupt in a week. The only difference is “We the People” can’t print 40 billion a month and call it progress. Spending sensibly within the framework of a sound economic plan – as a means to a means, not a means to end – is paramount to growth. When you provide a fertile platform for business to flourish, to create new money, people can find those jobs that lead to a better life. They can now afford their own healthcare, buy that home, and send their kids to college; thus nurturing the next generation of well-adjusted, self sufficient Americans. However, that requires two conditions: one, a government that is committed to the principles of free enterprise, and two, a populace that is willing to work and not determined to live off of the public dime. In the midst of socialist healthcare and a record number of welfare recipients, do I even need to answer that question?
The real tragedy of this progressive debacle, this smoke and mirrors ruse, is that capitalism – ingenuity and hard work – is being made the scapegoat for Washington’s failures. Whether a corporation posts a profit of a billion dollars, an athlete signs a 100 million dollar contract, or your neighbor wins the lottery, how is that violating the law? More importantly, what does that have to do with you? Is it forcing you to seek employment from a company you despise or to buy their products? How is someone else’s success, property, keeping you from furthering your prospects in life; from finding and keeping a job? Michael Moore, the anti-establishment pariah, sued to claim more profits from his conspiracy documentary, 9/11 Fahrenheit. Why? Because he felt entitled to the fruits of his labor. How ironic being capitalism, far from his favorite love story, is intrinsic to that very ideal. In life, you can either cower behind obstacles and excuses, or you can do everything in your power to succeed. Only one has a future.
The bottom line is that America is predicated on freedom, self reliance, and accountability. The Government, at its most rudimentary level, has two functions: to protect our liberties, this country’s sovereignty, and to provide transparency, accountability, in all its dealings. Every man and woman, regardless of their heritage, beliefs or class, is entitled to make a living without unnecessary government intrusion. Whether you’re an ordinary citizen or a multinational corporation, as long as you obey the law you are completely within your rights to pursue the American dream; whether you seek riches, a quaint house on the corner, or to dedicate your life to the poor, is a moot point.
Personally, I have never been wealthy, but if I were to come into money – albeit my own hard work or simply good fortune – I’d like to think I was entitled to keep my property. That’s capitalism, the Bill of Rights, in a nutshell. It’s also our forefathers’ charter against excessive government, otherwise known as socialism. You work…you earn. You innovate…you earn. You make your own choices…you control your own destiny. You should not be trapped by the glass ceiling of progressivism and ransomed to a federal leviathan of economic redistribution that chooses to limit our potential, to tax one man more than another, one business or product more than the next. How is that synonymous with liberty, let alone equal protection under the law? It’s not. The Government was not erected to run your life – to tell you what to eat, think, or do – merely to preserve your rights, this country, and the indelible institution of freedom. Though necessary safety nets are in place to help us when we fall, to help us get back on our feet, our survival, our success, is ultimately our responsibility.
Whether we like it or not, there will always be those individuals blessed with more ability, fortune or fame. That’s life. It’s not, nor will it ever be, fair. Why do people get cancer? Why are the guilty set free? Why do I drive a Pinto instead of a Porsche? Why? There comes a time when people must stop pointing the finger of envy at others…legal corporations, wealthy Americans…and start pointing the finger of self-realization at themselves. Beyond the glitz and glamor, there are many levels of success and affluence. And if you don’t fully appreciate America – the opportunity and securities available within – I freely invite you to visit any number of third world countries where drinkable water and free speech are subject to interpretation. Perhaps then you will appreciate the warmth of your bed, the food on your table, the smile on your child’s face.
You owe it to yourself, your family, and your country to do everything in your power to make a living. No system is perfect; there are only perfect intentions. That being said, we must always strive for the betterment of society. Remember, the Constitution – not the times or aspiring politicians – provides the blueprint for true hope and change. If you actually believe today’s demonstrators are more wise and learned than our forefathers – that the past 239 years of America’s evolution are but a footnote of greed and futility – then by all means, light that match. Historically speaking, it’s much easier to destroy than to build a meaningful legacy. If people continue to empower liberals who recklessly threaten to tear down our foundations of freedom, our hallowed way of life, then we might as well tear down this country and build a new one. And that my friend, will still require poverty, protests and union labor. I prefer, like my forefathers, to use my own two hands.
“You cannot legislate the poor into equality by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. When half of the people realize they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half realizes it does no good to work because somebody else is going to enjoy the fruits of their labor, that my dear friend, is the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”