Radio show host Michael Medved opens and closes each broadcast with the phrase, “this greatest nation on God’s green Earth.” The United States stands out among other nations in many ways, mainly because of the emphasis on liberty. You can find many freedoms in the Constitution and countless others in other federal and state legislation. One freedom that has contributed to the success of this nation has been the free-market system. Under Britain, the colonists had no say in the making of products. They had to give any natural resources to Britain, then buy back manufactured goods at higher prices. As the US has developed, the government stayed out of the markets. In other countries and throughout history, some governments have been more controlling of the economy. Some are outright about their regimes, while others try to mask it. One disguise is through the form of socialism; a political ideology that a group of people collectively owns the means of production and its output. Within the past few years, some political leaders in the US have tried to incorporate socialism, while capitalists defend the freedoms and ideals of our nation.
In theory, socialism seems like a good idea. Everyone is equal and treated fairly. However, as history can show, this never works out in the end.The USSR, China, Cuba, and most recently Venezuela, have all existed under socialism, only to result in national poverty while their leaders dictate and bask in luxury. Greed creeps into the minds of leaders who have resources like the military to take everyone else’s equal share. Anyone who tries to stand up against their dictators ends up hurt or killed. These countries see no growth in the economy or other areas, like technology developments and quality of life, because the government regulates everything. The government, however, does not care what happens as long as they get their money. Capitalism is also flawed. However, it is the system under which the United States has developed and largely flourished. Capitalism provides equal chances to people. Not everyone will end up at the same level, but those who work hard and rise above the competition will be rewarded. The government is involved to prevent criminal and tyrannical activity by private companies as well as economic crises. The more limited role allows for innovation and competition to go mostly unhindered. This usually leads to better life standards than in socialist countries.
Recently, politicians Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have led the charge trying to bring socialism to America. Using offers like free college and healthcare, they appeal to many young voters. However, while users may get it for free, someone would have to end up paying. A common target for payers are the top 1% wealthiest individuals. According to a 2016 study by the Federal Reserve, this includes people who have a net worth of over $10.37 million. While these people do have large amounts of money, they already pay the majority of taxes. In the 2015 fiscal year, individuals–not families–who made over $200,000 were paying for 58.8% of the total taxes. Requiring these people to pay even more for “free” programs would be both illogical and tyrannical. In 2017, an estimation for universal free college would cost $70 billion per year. The 1% would not be able to pay for this year after year, in addition it would go against the country’s beliefs of a free-market system.
Complete government control over the economy is not efficient, as the recently proposed Green New Deal shows. This proposal by freshman representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward J. Markey would try to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions . . . while also trying to fix societal problems like economic inequality” (New York Times). A clear and very aggressive intervention by the government into the economy. The environment is important, but a majority of companies already look for greener options while activist groups push for eco-friendly method. In addition, this plan would hurt the economy. Former Congressional Budget Office members estimated the budget to be $51-93 trillion over the next ten years, or $5-9 trillion annually. In 2018, the entire federal budget was $4.109 trillion. Not only would taxes have to be immensely raised, but also jobs would be lost from the program and the climate would barely benefit. The Green New Deal’s economical repercussions is a clear example of why free market economies are superior in many ways.
The American people seem split half-and-half as to whether they favor capitalism or socialism. Some polls indicate more people do not approve, while other surveys say more do approve of a switch. During his 2019 State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump said “America will never be a socialist country; We were born free and we will stay free.” The Senate voted against the Green New Deal 57-0, with 43 Democrats abstaining from voting. Capitalism is still the standard today, but the future of America’s economic viewpoint is uncertain. A big factor will be the 2020 Presidential elections, where lots of Democrats have already announced their run for office. Both parties will look for control in the executive branch, as well as gaining complete control in the legislative branch.
No matter how our nation is governed, we should live for God, not for money or other earthly desires. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Capitalism too can have its pitfalls. The competitive nature for success can lead some to greed while others may try to take advantage of the people around them. The Bible warns of greed in 1 Timothy 6:10. “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” It also warns against dishonesty in Deuteronomy 25:15-16. “A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the Lord your God.” As we finish high school, go to college or start working, and begin our own families, it’s okay to have dreams and goals. But, everything should be done for the glory of God. He has blessed us with so much, we should not turn around and live for ourselves.
Thank you for taking the time to read my articles this year. It’s been very enjoyable for me to keep you all updated on current events. It allowed me further my own knowledge and passion for politics. Stay active and knowledgeable about how our government operates and what they are doing to affect you and our great country.