In Jim Cook's Archive


Lately my wife and I have been going out to dinner with a wide variety of old and new friends. All are successful entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals. Never in my life have I seen the conversation switch so quickly to politics and the state of the nation. The people who make the economy tick are worried, angry and resigned to the likelihood of a grave decline in America’s economic status.

I’ve been writing gloomy scenarios about the future for forty years. Previously when I talked about creeping socialism and the decline of America, people would look at me like I was some kind of cultist. Now these people share my beliefs. They think we are walking away from what made us great and embracing a system that has only known failure.

The first topic that angers successful people is taxes. Naturally no one wants to pay more taxes but that’s not the half of it. They know that taking money from entrepreneurs and transferring it to bureaucrats is a job killer. Affluent people hire, and contract with, incalculable numbers of ambitious workers. They also provide the seed capital for new businesses and technologies. Millionaires and billionaires exist in countries with high living standards. Millionaires can’t be found in impoverished countries like Bangladesh or Somalia. Nothing could be dumber than to punish the successful job creators and reward the unproductive.

Another favorite topic is the lack of business experience in the current Washington administration. Most of these politicians and bureaucrats couldn’t run a small business. They have no conception of the sweat and tears necessary to create jobs. They dislike and fear the free market. They want command and control over the economy rather than trusting the buying choices and selections of the people.   Free markets are made up of people refusing to buy Volts and favoring petroleum products over green energy fads. Yet the Washington pols will try to trump the market and push their dubious energy schemes. Meanwhile oil entrepreneurs are creating jobs hand over fist and turning America into another Saudi Arabia.  Soon we will be free of foreign oil dependency for which Washington has the unmitigated gall to claim credit.

Affluent people also sound alarm at the envy and hostility whipped up against them by the left. America has never been afflicted by class warfare to this extent. What bothers my friends and acquaintances the most is the declining work ethic and character of those subsidized by government. They see crime, addiction and a belligerent attitude that causes foreboding for the future. When the majority of immigrants coming to America are on welfare or subsidies you know our country has changed for the worse. The underclass and minorities are voting for socialism and wealth confiscation. They enshrine the radical politicians who deplore the merit system and promise more aggressive taxation.

My friends know the liberal agenda spells the doom of what was once called the “American way of life.” They see the golden age turning into an era of impoverishment and danger. They worry about the future of their children and grandchildren. They suspect that the ambitious, the hard workers and the successful people will become a new minority bullied into oblivion by bureaucrats, liberals and freeloaders.

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