Our shared experience

In today's election, we decide on the country we want

The people in many other countries – Brazil comes to mind – often come together around one national sports team. A big game can be a shared national experience.

In America, not so much. The closest thing we have to that is the Super Bowl – and even then the rooting interests are divided among two teams, while many simply care more about what kind of chips and dip are at the party.

Outside of Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July, today’s election will be the biggest shared American experience perhaps in our lifetimes.

It’s certainly the most momentous and important. We will be doing nothing less than deciding what kind of country we want.

Today’s presidential election, in short, is a referendum on capitalism and free markets. It’s about individualism, which made this country great, vs. collectivism, which has never worked anywhere it’s been tried.

Even Obama surrogate Bill Clinton acknowledges this openly in his stump speeches – though couching it in much more innocent-sounding terms.

This election is also a decision by the electorate as to whether we want to join the president of the United States in declaring all-out class warfare.

Be careful what you wish for.

For one thing, raiding the bank accounts of those making $250,000 and more – people whom Barack Obama calls “millionaires and billionaires” – would net the government a little over eight days’ working capital. And it would take that money out of the private economy.

How would that improve your life? The truth is, it most likely would make your life worse, due to the damage done to the economy and to job creators.

“We need to understand that class warfare is a mortal enemy of economic growth and jobs,” Jim Powell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote in Forbes last month. Confiscatory tax rates, he wrote, “discourage work, they drive away investors and entrepreneurs to lower-tax jurisdictions, and there aren’t enough rich people to keep the government going very long, even if all their assets were expropriated.”

Of course, that’s appealing to reason. Mr. Obama’s strategy – and it may work – has been to appeal to our worst instincts: in this case, fear, envy and anger. He recently told supporters, “Voting is the best revenge.” In other words, vote in order to get back at somebody. Vote out of spite. That’s his closing argument in this election.

This president is preying on the notion that it’s easier to make Donald Trump be more like you – by taking his money – than it is for you to become more like Donald Trump. It certainly requires less effort on your part!

Normally, local elections are the ones that impact you the most. National elections don’t usually affect your life this much. But today’s election will determine whether the principles that built this nation – free people, free markets, self-reliance and individual responsibility – are still at the core of our shared experience.

If people change their fundamental principles, so changes their destiny.

Nations are no different.

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Fri, 12/09/2016 - 11:15

Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon