America met Joe the Plumber last week. But a pro-market economist writing over a hundred years ago was already familiar with Joe Wurzelbacher and Americans like him — and understood how they are used and exploited by politicians.
“They are always under the dominion of the superstition of government, and forgetting that a government produces nothing at all, they leave out of sight the first fact to be remembered in all social discussion — that the state cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man.”
These are the words of William Graham Sumner, brilliantly analyzed and applied to 21st century America by Amity Schlaes in her recent book, The Forgotten Man.
“He Works, He Votes, Generally He Prays – But He Always Pays”
Sumner wrote of the Forgotten Man: “He works, he votes, generally he prays — but he always pays — yes, above all, he pays.”
Joe the Plumber has struck a chord in the closing weeks of this election because he represents the Forgotten Man. When he confronted Sen. Barack Obama on the campaign trail with the question of what would happen to his taxes under an Obama Administration should he realize his dream of owning his own business, Joe cast the decision that faces us in this election in stark relief:
Which will be better for our economy: Politicians redistributing our wealth or growing more wealth?
And Sen. Obama gave us an equally stark answer: Under his leadership, America will focus on “spreading around” the Forgotten Man’s wealth, not encouraging him to create more of it.
In a One Party Washington, There Will be Nothing Standing In the Way of Redistributionist Policies
Joe the Plumber has struck a chord because he reminds us (and should remind politicians in Washington) that government, no matter how well intentioned, has to be paid for and that money comes from guys like Joe. Politicians can either bleed him dry to fund their programs, or they can encourage Americans to create more jobs and more wealth — and keep government limited and effective.
But in a one-party Washington, completely controlled by Harry Reid with a veto-proof Democratic majority in the Senate, Nancy Pelosi with an expanded Democratic majority in the House, and Barack Obama in the White House, the liberal politicians’ impulse to take your money and use it as they see fit will be unrestrained and unrestrainable.
In such a Washington there will be no one to remove (as House Republicans did) the ACORN slush fund inserted into the Paulson bailout plan that would have diverted 20 percent of the proceeds from the sale of government-bought securities to radical leftwing groups like ACORN.
In such a Washington, there will be no filibuster threat in the Senate to stop legislation passed in the House that will take away Americans workers’ right to a secret ballot.
In such a Washington, there will be no one standing in between the American people and liberal plans for higher income, capital gains and dividend taxes, the “harsh measures” House Speaker Pelosi has promised, and confiscatory taxes imposed through regulation by the federal bureaucracy.
By 84% to 13%, Americans Prefer Wealth Creation Over Redistribution
If Washington politicians bothered to ask, they would know that the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to redistributionist policies that limit wealth creation.
Last June, as a matter of fact, the Gallup Organization did ask the American people. Here’s how they reported the results:
“When given a choice about how government should address the numerous economic difficulties facing today’s consumer, Americans overwhelmingly — by 84% to 13% — prefer that the government focus on improving overall economic conditions and the jobs situation in the United States as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans.”
“Republicans (by 90% to 9%) prefer that the government focus on improving the economy, as do independents (by 85% to 13%) and Democrats (by 77% to 19%).”
It turns out that Americans remember the Forgotten Man, even if politicians in Washington don’t.
“Whoever Controls Your Fuel Will Control Your Freedom”
On a related topic, do you ever wonder what happens to all the money you spend to fill up your gas tank or heat your home? The chilling answer can be found in Callista’s and my new movie, “We Have the Power,” which is now available on DVD.
Callista and I traveled across the country — from the halls of political power to the generators of nuclear, coal and hydro power — exploring the ways in which American workers, American ingenuity and American innovation can make America energy independent.
From the Forgotten Man to the Forgotten Restaurant
Remember in the vice presidential debate when Sen. Joe Biden referenced a restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware named “Katie’s” that he likes to frequent with the other common men and women?
Here’s what Sen. Biden said:
“All you have to do is go down Union street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie’s Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years.”
And here’s a current picture of “Katie’s.”
Katie’s closed sometime in the 1980s. So either Sen. Biden hasn’t been in touch with middle class Americans for twenty years or he’s completely lost touch with reality.
Or maybe he was just “winging” it.
You Can Still Be a Part of the Solution
American Solutions recently held our second annual Solutions Day to put aside partisan rhetoric and create a positive, solution-oriented action plan for the economy, energy and education.
Take a moment to watch our workshops at SolutionsDay2008.com to get our economy back on track and develop sound education and energy policies.
To accompany the presentations, we produced action-oriented checklists with ways to get involved and make a difference in your community and for candidates in this election.
Health Care Lessons from the Aloha State
In the midst of the economic crisis and fretting about mortgage payments, a recent story that will impact all of us is going largely unnoticed: How our government and country are mishandling healthcare. Recently, the state of Hawaii announced that it is ending its universal healthcare for children because of skyrocketing costs. Hawaii joins the ranks of other states that have attempted to dramatically shift healthcare policy, and, like all the others, has been unsuccessful. These unsuccessful radical reforms make it all the more clear that we cannot approach changing healthcare starting from a financial argument.
At the Center for Health Transformation, we recognize the need for a fundamentally new approach to rethinking the health system. There are three fundamental changes which will revolutionize our approach to a better health system for all Americans. The first is to adopt a health-based health reform approach. This moves us away from a financial discussion first and places the individual at the center of healthcare.
Health-based health reform is part of our four box model for reform:
• Box 1: Individual rights, responsibilities, and expectations of behavior
• Box 2: Maximize cultural and societal patterns for a healthy community
• Box 3: Create an effective, efficient, and productive health delivery system
• Box 4: Transform healthcare financing to enable a 300,000,000-payer system
This process is straight forward and can bring significant changes to our healthcare system. Learn more about the other two fundamental changes at www.healthtransformation.net.
P.S. A Few Seconds for a Good Cause: The business sponsors of the Breast Cancer Site donate free mammograms to women who need them based on the traffic on their website. It’s free — all it will cost is less then a minute of your time. So go here and click on “donating a mammogram.” It’s all for a good cause.
Platform of the American People Update
American Solutions Chief Advocate, Princella Smith, blogged at the Defending the American Dream Summit recently. Check out her posts here!
American Solutions had a great presence on the air this week and last week. Check out two of the latest appearances by Princella Smith on CNN’s “Glenn Beck Show” and MSNBC’s “Dayside”. Princella was also featured on BET’s “The Truth” with Jeff Johnson this past Sunday morning.
On Friday, Princella visited The Maryland Federation of Republican Women to provide training about new media and the effects on movements such as the Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less initiated and largely run online by American Solutions. Learn more about it here!
— HAVE YOU SIGNED? Join the Drill Here, Drill Now Pay Less Campaign, and get involved with the entire movement for the Platform of the American People! Contact: Princella Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org