First, the what ifs:
What if subsidies for corn, sugar, and dairy products were eliminated? Would farmers stop planting corn and sugar? Would dairy farmers stop producing milk?
What if subsidies and tax incentives for energy producers and manufacturers were eliminated? Would oil companies stop drilling for oil? Would manufacturers stop making things?
What if the mortgage interest tax deductions were eliminated? Would contractors stop building houses? Would people stop buying houses?
What if social security had never been started? Would people have starved to death in the streets?
What if the public schools were abolished? Would people allow their children to grow up ignorant?
The answer to all the questions is no. With much more efficiency and much lower costs, free markets would provide the services now subsidized as people saved for their retirements and educated their children. Better still, money not spent on subsidies and inefficient government services would be spent creating more and better products and services, and new jobs to make, provide, and sell them. The added wealth would produce a much higher standard of living for all citizens.
As encumbered with unnecessary regulation and as loaded with rent-seekers and crony capitalists as they are, US markets still produce more wealth than just about any nation on earth. Think of what truly free markets could produce.
Now for some remember whens:
Remember when all you had to do when you went on a family trip was get into the car? (Childhood was wonderful)
Remember when clean clothes appeared magically and continually in your closets and chests of drawers?
Remember when at meal time, all you had to do was say grace and sit down and eat?
Remember when teachers and parents always told the truth?
Remember when politicians were nondescript, boring men in cheap rumpled suits, and most people ignored them?
Remember when people had only four or five choices when buying a car?
Remember when grocery stores sold white bread and wheat bread only?
Remember when almost every male served in the armed forces?
Remember when Elvis Presley was considered to have long hair? (not the Vegas Presley, of course)
Remember when people like Ed Sullivan could actually appear on TV in front of the camera?
Remember when if you mistreated someone’s sister or daughter, fathers or brothers would kick your ___?
Remember when children could watch TV?
Remember when girls who got pregnant out of wedlock disappeared to North Carolina or someplace?
Remember when the press kept JFK’s extra-maritals secret?
Remember when men wore coats and ties to church and women wore hats and gloves?
Remember when women dressed modestly?
Remember when men and women wore clothing that fit?
Remember when men avoided profane and obscene language around women?
Remember when women avoided men who used profane and obscene language?
Remember when athletes let their play speak for itself, without classless celebrations?
Remember when professional athletes had off season jobs, which they needed?
Remember when ordinary people could afford to take their families to Major League baseball games?
Remember when ordinary people could also take their families to athletic events and not worry about unruly profane and obscene drunks?
Remember when people could buy popcorn and candy at the movies without getting bank loans?
Remember when movie makers did not try to outdo each other dropping f bombs in their films?
Remember when children could jump on their bicycles, ride to the park or playground by themselves, play all day, and not be under the constant supervision of helicopter parents?
Remember when not every minute of every child’s play had to be organized?
Remember when America was a much nicer place?
• • •
Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Jim Sykes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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