Friends, This being the first of what I hope to be many weekly political posts I thought I would talk about the topics I plan to discuss in them.
Those of you who know me, know that I fall into the “Republitarian” slice of political belief. Obviously, my posts are going to support free-markets, small government, and occasionally some commentary on social issues from my more traditional viewpoint. What I don’t plan to do is engage in character bashing and blowing small quotes from left wingers out of proportion to scare everyone into believing what I have to say. I think that market is more than saturated. I plan to deal in facts and solutions. My hope is that you will help me develop a plan for persuasion and not just good one-liners to throw at those who disagree with the ideals of a free society that we hold dearly. For example, I recently read a poll from Zogby International that only 44% of Americans believe that most people who are poor got that way by making bad decisions. I was really surprised by this at first, but it really helped explain why so many people continue to vote for politicians who blindly hand out money to the poor with little to show for it. In their minds they see poverty as a matter of chance, so the ethical thing to do is to help out those who suffer from it because it’s not their fault. If this was true, I can understand their logic. But it’s not true. The vast majority of the poor are able bodied people with plenty of brains to fix their own lives. In his book “Choice Theory”, Dr. William Glasser really explains how we are the result of our choices and that each of us has immense power to change our lives. I have seen this in dramatic ways in my own life in the last several years. I have also seen the mountains of evidence that our poverty programs do not work, and that they have actually made many things far worse than before. We’ve all heard the horror stories of welfare abusers and the astonishing lengths that lazy or brutish people will reach to secure their free check from the government. The problem with our approach to convert people to limited government is that we fail to recognize how deeply the beliefs of many go. Those on the Right have a habit of dismissing the poor as lazy bums, but using this as a way to convert those in favor of poverty programs doesn’t work. Some of them believe that poor people got there by accident; it’s not their fault because all people are inherently good, and we know this to be true because God wouldn’t have created a world full of bad people. Sure we could spend the weeks and years it would take to show them the evidence that they are misguided, but we don’t have the time or resources to do this, and many would still never change their minds. Believe me, I have tried. The point of these posts will be to build a bridge between the ideals of a small government/free society and the deeply held, and at times religious, beliefs that many in our society hold. How do we build this bridge? The answer is the same for any task worth doing: Hard work. I will find the information, create ideas, and pass them on to you. You tell me what’s wrong with them, and give me your own ideas. As an example, I ran across an article a while back written about the most revered economist of the last half of the 20th century, the late Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman. He suggested replacing our welfare system with a “reverse income tax”. Those with low incomes would be given money in reverse proportion to their income. His analysis showed that this would do the least harm in perverting the incentives to improve themselves, and would be the least costly to implement. While it might strike some that giving any tax dollars to them is abhorrent, we need that bridge between a truly free market and what we have today. Dr. Friedman has provided a loose framework with the “reverse income tax” with which to build our bridge. If we propose a social safety net that encourages work, encourages savings, and encourages strong families we can not only create a more free society, we can also begin to salvage the lives of millions of Americans trapped in poverty by the awful system we have today. In the coming weeks, please let me know what you think. If you see any articles that pertain to what we have talked about, please forward them to me. Pass these posts on to anyone you know who might be interested and sign them up to receive them by sending an e-mail to me. I plan to upgrade to all the snazzy tools the internet offers if your interest justifies it.