When we fail to respond to history we fail ourselves. There is but one word for people who don’t understand that history is truly prologue, insanity. But the road to insanity is exactly what the new economic plan by Presidential candidate Clinton portends to lead us to. Hers is a plan based in politics and not in economic reality.
In order to capitalize on the media’s obsession with “income inequality”, she wants to grow the middle class by transferring wealth from one segment of society to another. She doesn’t propose to pursue growth of the economy, so that everyone has an opportunity to build wealth; she doesn’t want to promote families, thereby creating long term wealth growth potential; she doesn’t want to promote business development, a proven way to create jobs. No, Mrs. Clinton wants to lead America down that same path to economic failure that is very much in the news quite literally today.
In current events Greece is a synonym for big government, share the wealth economics. In truth, and much closer to home, Louisiana is an American version of that same failed approach. Why Louisiana? The answer is that history is truly prologue.
Louisiana is by its good fortune one of the asset richest states in America. And yet, for over 100 years, when comparing socio-economic outcomes it has lagged behind almost every other state. How can that be? History tells us that answer and it can be summated in one word, populism. Populism is a political strategy that is thinly disguised as an economic policy. In order to appeal to her constituency, Mrs. Clinton wants to change the hugely successful American economic model by promoting a politically based, big government approach that can only be described as national populism. This is to a great extent the same model that has plagued southern Europe since the Second World War and that is now pulling Greece into the abyss.
Louisiana’s original version of what would be Clintonian populism was themed “a chicken in every pot” and, in response to the Great Depression, was based in an era dominated by share the wealth thinking. But unlike so many other states that decades ago found great success when they abandoned populism’s political appeal, in Louisiana it lingers today. Like Greece, our state’s underlying economic philosophy is comingled with politically motivated populist beliefs. The result is we have never been able to capitalize upon our assets and now so many of our people live in abject poverty and government dependency. As our citizens have become accustomed to the hybrid political/economic populist approach to government, it has become virtually impossible to move away from the economic malignancy that saps our state’s life spirit.
This is the insanity that Mrs. Clinton offers to our great nation. If she is successful, the middle class will feel richer for a brief period but, just as in Europe and Louisiana, as our national economic engine slows the outcome will be unavoidable. Our country, a nation that has been the world’s economic powerhouse for generations, will slip into economic malaise aligned with a continuation of loss of influence.
History is prologue and Louisiana’s history, so closely matched by Greece’s recent history, screams to us that populism is the fool’s gold of political/economic approaches. It sounds good and helps a politician when, after they create a demand from the people to be rescued from fear and envy, they offer populist solutions. But we must be vigilant to avoid falling into the trap that the false assurances of populist policies promise. America is great because of Americans. It is great because of a capitalist economic strategy that has served us well for generations gone by. To abandon that greatness, to follow false promises will only doom our exceptional nation to decline and failure.
Instead of following leaders with the allure of phony promises we must get back to fundamentals; education, family, hard work, saving, and so forth. Quick, easy solutions based upon populist principles are not the answer and we should boldly reject any candidate that would try to overlook history by promoting such ideas.