[Editor note: In a sea of political capitalism and rent-seeking by corporations, it is refreshing to see a principled defense of capitalism from the business sector. This piece from the current issue of Discovery, the quarterly publication of Koch Industries, Inc., is reprinted here in honor of today’s important elections.]
On Nov. 2, the United States will hold an important mid-term election.
At stake will be control of the U.S. Congress, 39 state governorships and thousands of other state and local offices.
High unemployment, record deficits, a sluggish economy and a swelling federal government have become flash point issues for millions of concerned Americans of every political persuasion.
For the nearly 50,000 Koch company employees in the United States, this election is an opportunity to help decide the future of economic freedom.
A Heavy Hitter
According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States accounts for about one-fourth of the world’s total output of goods and services, and one-fifth of the world’s purchasing power.
Like it or not, what’s bad for the United States – including misguided federal policies that undermine economic freedom – is usually bad for the rest of the world.
What has proven to be best for all societies is economic freedom.
Citizens on every continent enjoy more prosperity, cleaner environments, longer lives and higher literacy rates in economically free societies.
That’s why, for more than 40 years, Koch Industries has openly and consistently supported the principles of economic freedom and market-based policies.
Unfortunately, these values and principled point of view are now being strongly opposed by many politicians (and their media allies) who favor ever-increasing government.
Government – like fire, water, chemicals and most everything – is productive at some level and destructive at others.
In the United States, government has now grown to such a level that it is choking American entrepreneurship and hurting the nation’s international competitiveness.
Even worse, recent government actions are threatening to bankrupt the country.
This can only stifle economic growth and job creation, which in turn will significantly reduce the standard of living of American families.
To preserve the nation’s economic viability and individual freedoms, this explosive growth must be reversed.
There are, of course, plenty of politicians and critics who feel otherwise.
Many of them have been quite vocal in their attacks on Koch Industries and its owners, as well as other Koch companies and their employees.
However, as New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, one is entitled to one’s own opinions, but not to one’s own facts.
And the facts are that the overwhelming majority of the American people will be much worse off if government overspending is allowed to bankrupt the country.
When Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated President of the United States in 1801, he warned about a particularly destructive way of thinking.
It is wrong, he said, to punish someone for working harder or being more successful than someone else.
He warned against “wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them” and taking from some to give to others “who have not exercised equal industry and skill.”
More than 200 years later, the destruction of economic freedom that Jefferson warned against is being vigorously promoted by this administration and many elected officials.
In the United States, the best antidote to this kind of over-reaching government is the power of the ballot box.
That was true in 1801, and is just as true today.