Saddled by years of government strangulations, threats, and insults, Victor Davis Hanson discusses why America's productive
, entrepreneurial individuals are growing tired and hunkering down, waiting out the current storm rather than forging ahead with the American experiment. Despite the enormous debt we have accumulated, despite the president blaming "the rich" and those pesky self-interested businesses for our economic woes, despite threats to make those who already pay 60% of the nation's income taxes pay their "fair share" of the tax burden, the Atlases of America have not completely shrugged us off. They are not rushing off to other lands (for the most part), and they are not shuttering the businesses they have built-- but they are stopping investments, holding off on hiring, and saving their pennies until the current crisis is abated and the successful are no longer so vilified by our leaders.
However, rather than understanding that the uncertainty of the future (Will taxes be raised? What will Obamacare really do to us? How is the Fed going to manipulate our currency? Will any free trade agreements be signed? Is energy going to skyrocket because of Obama's policies and the Arab rebellions?) and the tone of public discourse are giving these investors and entrepreneurs the jitters, the Obama Administration and many on the left, led by Keynesian champion and alien aficionado
Paul Krugman, are instead insisting on forcing capital to flow once more into our system. Despite ballooning deficits and the oppressive debt that we are enslaving future generations to, Krugman and his ilk are bringing forth the same old tired argument that government spending is the path to prosperity, using World War II and the end of the Great Depression as their great example of this.
For the record, again, war does not help the economy. Wars end lives and destroy things. That is all. Yes, they may spur technological advancement (sometimes for our benefit, sometimes not), but overall they are not a net gain for the economy. Neither World War II nor the New Deal ended the Great Depression. As Hanson points out in an additional piece
, we experienced a tremendous economic boom after the war due to the fact that all of our competitors in the world had quite literally been obliterated and that, during the war years, Americans pinched and saved every penny-- meaning they were sitting on wealth to spend once stability was returned to the world and they felt safe spending their savings. The same people who make the WWII argument also look at disasters like Hurricane Irene as opportunities for economic growth-- though, as Kenneth Spence at the Acton Institute points out
, even the media is having a hard time buying that argument. Disasters destroy wealth and end lives, and as a result they cause people to want to save their money even more for fear of needing to recover from such a disaster in the future.
If we want to get ourselves out of this economic mess, then we need to stop vilifying the job creators of America and increasing burdensome regulations on our businesses. We need to deal with the uncertainty surrounding our energy supplies and bad laws like Obamacare. The government needs to stop ballooning our debt with market-distorting stimulus injections to our economy. This Keynesian way of managing an economy is directly related to the growth and eventual popping of economic bubbles; if we want sustainable, safe growth, we need a stable environment where individuals feel comfortable spending money and investing in things. Until then, America's Atlases will continued to remain slouched inside the safety of their shells, their money kept close by. Until then, we will not be able to experience real economic growth and allow the American experiment to continue to flourish in prosperity.