Friday, October 31, 2008

The Wealth Production America Needs and the Election

Throughout the last year, the author of this piece has been an insightful addition to CARE. Not a member of our staff, just a member of CARE, he has presented ideas that have been reflected in many of the opinion editorials written by CARE’s Executive Director Marita Noon. While he prefers to remain anonyms, going by the moniker Stranger in a Strange Land, we believe you will benefit from his view. An American, he has spent most of the last 40 years living overseas. His outsider perspective of the country he loves provides a fresh look at the current situation. We hope you’ll check this out and expect this to be just the first of many postings.

Forty years ago, America was a superpower, both revered and feared. The change has been gradual, filled with subtle shifts—imperceptible to the average citizen so close to the situation that they cannot see the big picture.

Attitudes would be different if everyone could take a step back and, through the filter of history, look at what made America the great nation it once was and compare that with our country today. People would be slamming on the brakes, insisting that we rethink our direction and revise the plans.

I am a stranger in a strange land. Born and raised in America, my attitudes and opinions were shaped in the Heartland.

My professional journey has kept me overseas for the last forty years. With pockets full of cash, I’ve returned—intent on investing my profits back in the homeland.

Washington wants foreign money to come back to America—and America badly needs the economic boost. Yet, the roadblocks to wealth creation are myriad.

I’ve spent the last several months nosing about in coffee shops, bookstores, bars, and malls throughout the West and Midwest. I’ve had the luxury of conversing with Americans from diverse ethnicities and ideologies. I’ve watched the television news intently and followed the election process. With the view of an outsider and the concern of a citizen, I am shocked at what I have learned. I fear the whole country is going the way of California.

California has a plethora of wealth-creating resources, yet it is hopelessly in debt. It depends on other states for their electricity and motor fuels—though blessed with resources to provide both. Despite the dilemma, they continue on with the policies that got them into this mess—seemingly refusing to change their philosophy.

Here’s where history comes in. Formerly, we were taught the principles from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. We understood the basic premise that there are two kinds of work: productive and unproductive. The new wealth comes from productive work and the unproductive, depends on it. For example, mining creates new wealth. Processing, shipping and selling the earth’s bounty are part of that effort and therefore create jobs. The government jobs that assist in regulating are unproductive. Without the productive jobs the unproductive would not exist. Both are important. The problem comes when the two are out of balance.

America used to be a “can do” nation where an individual was encouraged to create wealth. We became the wealthiest nation in the world.

The government regulators have erected roadblocks and created unproductive jobs with the sole task of saying, “do not.” The balance is weighted to the unproductive side. Wealth creation is stifled. The negative effects this imposes on our nation’s economy has brought us where we are.

The government is too big and too unhelpful. It has too much power over the citizens.

Fueled by pseudo-documentaries, such as Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”—filled with lies and misleading information, bureaucrats regulate, litigate, excoriate and tax vast supplies of essential resources into oblivion. (They must sit around and think up the next problem.) Today, those who want to “do” are considered guilty until proven innocent. We have to prove that nothing bad will happen if we proceed in extracting the resource.

The free market is prevented from functioning. Government control is flourishing.

Overseas, people see this as a ploy to get uneconomic systems, i.e. “alternative energy,” up and running at a higher cost while putting more and more problems in front of existing and effective systems. Thus, prices are forced up and fill government coffers with hidden taxes, creating more unproductive jobs that do not create new wealth and, in fact, hinder production.

Rather than encouraging production, the only way to stimulate the economy seems to be to print more money. Government must love this approach as it creates committees and more nonproductive jobs. But nothing gets better.

Those perpetuating this plan must come from a Marxist school of thought as they just want to take the wealth we have and redistribute it. They’ve been troubled by America’s dominance on the world stage and aim to knock us down. They revel in the economic crisis as we are rapidly rolling down hill toward being on a par with other countries—no longer a world power.

Can anything be done to turn it around? Fellow citizens, you have a choice this election. When taxes are taken and given to the unproductive, the overall wealth declines.

I am watching and waiting—keeping my wealth in my pockets. I may be better off to take it back to where it came from. Though I am an American, the land I have come home to is not the one I left. I am a stranger in a strange land.

“Stranger in a Strange Land” is a geologist who frequently shares his views with CARE. He is a member of CARE and supports CARE’s energy advocacy efforts. For more information on CARE, visit

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