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Monday, January 05 2009
The World War II generation of Americans has been appropriately termed the “Greatest Generation” for a reason. Not only did they depose dictators, resist the mad schemes of those bent on world domination, and prove courageous on the battlefield, they made incredible sacrifices at home to ensure one basic philosophy: that the country they left to their children would be better than the one they inherited.  How sad that the selfless Greatest Generation has been replaced by the Most Selfish Generation.
Far from seeking to preserve the blessings of liberty to our posterity, our current generation seems determined to serve our own selfish interests regardless of the consequences, even if it means depriving our children of their liberty. We are the entitlement generation, so self-absorbed and egocentric, we seek any “solution” to our troubles that doesn’t require sacrifice. Sacrifice is out, bailout is in.
Consider the current economic situation. Our bloated sense of privilege has warped our minds to the point that we feel entitled to a home, an affordable mortgage, a plasma screen TV, two nice cars, a fat pay check, and a secure retirement. Forget sacrificing to gain those things…it’s our “right” to have them. And this deadly philosophy has driven our society to the precipice of economic ruin. So what do we do? Recognize that this is the direct result of our sins of excess? Of course not. We are the Most Selfish Generation, after all. Instead, we run to Washington, D.C. and ask for bailouts, bridge loans, or whatever other euphemistic term must be used to cover over what it really is: theft.
Lost your retirement because of poor investment? Steal from the taxpayer. Losing your home because you bought one you couldn’t afford? Steal from the taxpayer. Corporation going under because of an unwise business plan and unsustainable contract obligations? Steal from the taxpayer. Can’t afford healthcare coverage? Steal from the taxpayer. Lost your job? Steal from the taxpayer.
“Oh, but it’s not really stealing,” we comfort ourselves. No? Taking money that isn’t yours from unwilling parties to use for your own benefit…hmmm. “But it’s for the public good,” we rationalize. Really? Let’s think about that for a minute.
Government doesn’t produce anything, so therefore when government makes payments, it has to confiscate that money from those paying taxes. So, as the number of people receiving these payments increases, what happens to the tax burden of those paying the bill? It increases to the point that those taxpayers soon become in need of government assistance themselves, but there is no one left to pay for it. It’s an unsustainable monster. 
Government was never intended to be the great engine of the American economy. Rather, government was intended to protect an environment of economic freedom where small businesses and corporations could compete to grow and prosper, providing goods and services—and jobs—to the masses. Unfortunately, as the Most Selfish Generation has taken charge of the marketplace, the only competition that is occurring is corporations competing with one another to convince Washington that they deserve a bailout more than anyone else because they’re “too big to fail,” or because “the economy might collapse.”
Is this type of system really for the “public good?” Of course not. Few people in the Most Selfish Generation today are wise or reasonable enough to realize that when government is asked to prevent failure, it can only achieve that objective by preventing freedom. The great prosperity America has experienced was the direct result of a market that allowed people the freedom to prosper. But along with that comes the freedom to fail. Depriving the market of the latter requires depriving it of the former.
The current economic hardship being felt by citizens and businesses across the nation should drive us to be more innovative, creative, and invest ourselves in making the sacrifices necessary to prosper once again—sacrifices generations of Americans before us made with magnificent results. But instead of self-reliance, we have become obsessed with looking for saviors in Washington, D.C. We want Barack to turn things around or Congress to take immediate action to solve our problems.  With all due respect to both, they can’t because they are not the horse that pulls the cart. We are…whether it’s convenient for us or not.
Peter W. Heck
Posted by: Peter Heck AT 08:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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