Oct 302007
 
Authors: Nick Hemenway

In recent years, it has become apparent the American public has forgotten a key lesson we learned in the twentieth century. That socialism is a bad idea.

Whether the socialist states of years past adhered to the teaching of Karl Marx or not, all roads have lead to failure, because of one fundamental error – socialism ignores human behavior.

Socialism, as an economic system is loosely characterized by the redistribution of property and wealth among its people. In theory, this makes sense. If everyone is equal, no one is left without, right? Not as long as humans are involved.

The problem with socialism is that there is no incentive tool to spur economic growth. Without economic growth, everyone suffers.

By nature, humans are competitive and reward-driven. We are consistently looking for a way to get ahead in life.

It’s because of this nature that you are enrolled at a University. You are working towards a degree so that you can get a high-paying job after graduation. For example, if engineering jobs didn’t pay more than professional Halo gaming, there is no way I would be taking a class on Heat and Mass Transfer.

Our pursuit of something better is what has made America great. Capitalism is a proven winner, and the more we can incorporate the free-market into our lives, the better.

Unfortunately this principle is drifting away in the eyes of our nation.

Last week, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards told the Concord Monitor, should he be elected next year, he would “institute a New Deal-like suite of programs to fight poverty and stem growing wealth disparity.”

While that may seem benign to some at first glance, with the absence of an economic recession similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s, a New Deal does not work. It would only hamper our economic growth. The New Deal was enacted by President Roosevelt in order to provide relief after the worst depression in our nation’s history.

Presently, our economy is very strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 110,000 jobs were created in September alone, and the unemployment rate is at a mere 4.7 percent, not exactly what I would call a depression.

Last week, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Charlie Rangel (D-NY) introduced his proposal for tax reform.

In this proposal some are calling “the mother of all tax hikes,” our nation’s wealthiest citizens are again the primary target of what would be the highest tax increase in US history, estimated at $1.3 trillion dollars. Once again, this is a gleaming example of the redistribution of wealth.

In addition, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama have all proposed various forms of universal healthcare, taking the free market out of our decisions regarding our own health.

We as a nation must be mindful of the lessons learned by our grandfathers. The less control the government has over our lives, the better.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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