Keep hard work and perseverance at the forefront of American ideals

Column by Jacob Sims

Instead of slinging political bullets and continuing to breathe life into our current dying political firestorm of discordant messages and partisanship, like some columnists have done in the past couple weeks, I’d like to make a clear distinction between those who trust politicians and those who trust individual philanthropy as a means of making our nation a better place.

In Thursday’s column, Joe Gallenstein discussed the state and national Children’s Health Insurance Program, and I’d like to mold my column to discuss this philosophy of expanding the government’s size and responsibilities. This program, among others, is an idealistically appealing program that provides for the unfortunate and defenseless by handing healthcare to children who, obviously, cannot afford it. On the surface, this is an admirable proposal that all Americans would support because Americans are some of the most compassionate people in the world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much digging to realize the flaws with programs like this.

Healthcare is not cheap, especially when it is “free.” Who is going to pay for these 10 million children and 89 million people in the United States who are underinsured or do not have health insurance? Too often, the answer is “the rich.”

By no means do I defend those who have used their wealth perversely and lavishly. However, the overwhelming majority of the wealthiest Americans have earned their money through persistence and steadfastness. What is the incentive of working hard to provide for you and your family if the majority of your money will go back to the hands of the government who has done next to nothing to earn the money that you worked for?

The idea of taking from the rich and giving to the poor has actually been tried several times throughout history and, coincidentally enough, socialism has never worked. Our most recent example is in France, where the French instituted a wealth tax, on top of the income, capital gains, inheritance and social security taxes, which cover anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of their income. The wealth tax charges a percentage of property value if it exceeds a certain amount. The result is that most businessmen have left France, along with the products, well-paying jobs and economic growth that they provide, in search of a better place to invest, where there is not such a high toll for their own success.

This relates adequately with our current presidential election with a situation in which the Democrats could control Congress and the presidency. Many of the Democrats have made promises to their constituents about expanding the role of government, including more funding for social programs such as welfare, social security, Medicare, Medicaid and universal healthcare.

All of these programs are well intended and are an outstanding example of the kindness of Americans. However, it is regrettable that politicians are engaging these emotions in pursuit of power. The reason that we are the most powerful nation in the world is because of our economy and the wealth and individual income that coincides with it.

When taxes are raised to the extent that would be necessary in order to supply all of these social services, our economy will be negatively affected. Businessmen will either retire or find a different country, which is more profitable, causing Americans to lose American jobs. This is not even mentioning the government’s inefficiency and irresponsibility in handling money. This is why I find it absurd that big government can “change” America for the better.

Often there are misconceptions and jokes about Republicans having no heart. Instead of blindly giving, I ask questions about how the homeless man became homeless and how the woman became incarcerated. In today’s society, the American dream is alive for those who work hard and can overcome adversity, but too often, some want to give the American dream to individuals without those people enduring the hardships that make a man successful.

You do not help the poor by tearing down the rich. You help the poor through education, vocational skills and teaching them that they can independently be successful without the government’s help. It’s not that I believe that people should have to fend for themselves, but I have seen too many of my friends waste the same opportunities that I have had and expect the same results. Capitalism rewards hard work and ingenuity, while creating wealth and prosperity. And above all else, unlike socialism, it works.