Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has unveiled her economic vision. Should she be given the power to implement it, we can say goodbye to the prosperity and opportunity we have enjoyed since the Reagan years.
In a speech at Manchester School of Technology in New Hampshire, Clinton said it's time to replace President Bush's "ownership society," which she called an "on your own" society, with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.
Clinton said she prefers a "we're all in it together" society: "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."
Doesn't such a society already exist elsewhere? It's called socialism, where government has sought to make all things economically equal and the only equality is that all are equally poor. Wasn't defeating such a society precisely why we fought and won the Cold War? Why does Senator Clinton wish to embrace the principles of the losing side?
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Clinton has merely updated the old and discredited (except among socialist dictators) Karl Marx saying: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Clinton's remarks came before students at a school whose purpose is to train high school kids for careers in the construction, automotive, graphic arts and other industries. She told them, "We have sent a message to our young people that if you don't go to college ... that you're thought less of in America. We have to stop this."
Her assertion is bunk, but it is the typical class warfare bunk that comes from rich white liberals who want to take money from one group of people and give to others who didn't earn it in hopes they will become loyal Democratic voters.
This is not the philosophy that made America what it is. This is not a land of equal outcome, but of equal opportunity commensurate with one's talents, interests and drive.
In his "The Wealth of Nations," Adam Smith wrote: "It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense. ... (Kings and ministers) are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will."
I am not robbed by people who have more money than me. I am robbed by a government that wants to penalize my industry and give increasing portions of what I earn to people who do not emulate my principles, morals and ethics.
What have we come to? We once taught our young people the virtues of hard work, saving, personal responsibility and accountability for one's actions, chastity before and fidelity and commitment in marriage, honesty, integrity and virtue - not to mention the Ten Commandments (especially the one about not coveting that which belongs to your neighbor). We now teach them entitlement, victimhood, class envy and rights to other people's money. When one robs a bank, it's a crime. When government takes our money, it's called a tax. Same result.
Senator Clinton should consider the wisdom of a former president, who said, "The collection of any taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. ... The wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful." (Calvin Coolidge inaugural address, March 4, 1925)
Now there's a real economic vision!
Cal Thomas, a columnist for Tribune Media Services, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.