The President’s recent State of the Union Address clearly illustrates the differences between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to the economy. The question is, what will Americans choose: economic anarchy, or economic morality?
Economic anarchy is a system where there really are no rules, and the rules that do exist are written for the benefit of the richest, the most powerful. In economic anarchy, the largest corporations and businesses range around like a petulant young bully, smashing their toys, stealing from and threatening those that are weaker, and running amok in the neighborhood, only to be come home and be cooed sweetly by their irresponsible mother, who lacks neither the courage, nor the conviction to discipline him.
In economic anarchy, teachers are scorned. Names are called. Trust is broken. Those that look different, or that have different beliefs, are targets for derision and scorn. Only the short term matters to economic anarchists. They prefer a world without loyalty, without honor, and without grace. In economic anarchy, there are no principles—only profit, greed, and fear.
Economic morality, on the other hand, believes that the rules must be the same for everyone, and that those rules should be written and reformed for the benefit of all. In a system of economic morality, the largest corporations and businesses contribute to their neighborhoods, acting as leaders, the captains of sports teams, the winners of science fairs, community advocates, and volunteers. They’re willing to sacrifice a portion of their profits to tax, because they know that this money will help pay for the roads they use to ship their goods, the schools that educate their workers, the fire and police that protect their factories and homes, the postal service that helps them conduct their business, incentives and grants for research and development, and the military that defends their nation.
People that believe in economic morality put a high value on education, because they know that this is the path, not only for individual success, but also for a vibrant economy. People that believe in economic morality value diversity and a range of beliefs, because they know that the best solutions often require the broadest approach. The long term matters in economic morality, and in this type of system, people who play by the rules and work hard will always succeed. People who believe in economic morality applaud those who succeed, and they also want to make sure that everyone, no matter what their circumstances are, has a path to success.
Now, the difference between these two perspectives is simple. In economic anarchy, the government has no role to play, other than to rig the game in favor of those who can pay for lobbyists and make massive campaign contributions. Rules and taxes only apply to the middle and lower class.
On the other hand, economic morality believes that the government does have a role to play—specifically providing the incentives, infrastructure, and investments to help businesses succeed, and enforcing laws and regulations to make sure that all private enterprises have a level playing field, and that economic activities aren’t harming consumers or the economy as a whole. It isn’t socialism. It’s what government is supposed to do in a rational society.
Republicans can sit there and dress up their words all they want. They can whine about taxes, rules, regulations, and “socialism”. They can sit there and pretend that economic anarchy serves the needs of all citizens. It doesn’t. And anyone that tells you otherwise, is a liar.