In response to the letter dated Dec. 31, 2013 by Robert Hirsch: The real reality behind the GOP’s “good old days” was most recently demonstrated with the “Reagan Revolution.” Ronald Reagan fundamentally transformed our nation, which was headed toward destruction under the Carter administration with high unemployment, over regulation, high gas prices, inflation and enormous tax burdens. He brought us back from the brink by returning us to our founding principles of free market capitalism, lowering tax rates for everybody and providing a strong sense of patriotism, faith and personal responsibility. The result was a growth and expansion in our economy that lasted for 25 years, a strong national defense that ended the Cold War and made all Americans safer and a pride in the feeling that “American Exceptionalism” was and still is a unique driving force for peace and prosperity that our Founding Fathers envisioned.
Liberals would like us to believe that Capitalism is evil and that government control through regulation is the answer to everything. Unfortunately, as Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with liberalism is that eventually, you run out of other peoples’ money.” Most of our country’s problems can be traced back to this mentality.
We have unprecedented debt, high unemployment, an over-bloated out of control big government that has taxpayers giving more to pay for more social entitlements through an ever increasing progressive tax system. That is not how this country was founded and if you believe in the Constitution, like I believe most Americans still do, you must believe in a limited government. As a matter of fact, at the time of our founding, there was virtually no federal government while today, you can’t do anything without interacting with some part of it.
In the early part of the 20th Century, while our country was still young, federal regulations were necessary to provide a level playing field in regards to how companies operated in the new industrialized economy. Labor Unions were formed to protect workers’ rights and nobody will argue that they were necessary at that time. Pollution was rampant due to an increase in production and regulations were needed to protect and preserve our drinking water and waste disposal. However, the reasons they were needed must be heard to offer a better perspective on why they are not needed as much now as they were then.
During the latter part of the 19th Century, there was an explosion of innovation which caused the second industrial revolution. Between 1860-1890, 500,000 patents were issued — 10 times more than the previous 70 years. These innovations created unprecedented opportunities and men like Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Morgan were able to create enormous companies that connected the coasts by railroad, provided steel from US Steel and made way for the combustible engine and the automobile through cheap affordable energy. This explosion in industry caused an enormous migration from around the world to America where jobs were available. This caused crowding in the cities and without adequate sewage and infrastructure to handle the population increase, caused sickness and disease. Scientific patents helped to control these diseases, but at the time, the federal government had to step in to help improve living conditions.
Today, the debate continues as to whether these men who helped forge our young country were “Robber Barons” or “Captains of Industry.” They were definitely opportunists who capitalized on all that was available to them and created companies that employed thousands of Americans. Regardless of what you call them, one could argue that this country would not have become the world’s greatest super power on earth without them. These men and the private companies they created were the engines behind the creation of the middle class. Private industry is the only engine that can create opportunity and wealth.
If you are one of those liberal minded people who believe in a big government solution to all problems, than you are far from the Americans who created this country. The founders created this great nation on the principles of free market capitalism and individual responsibility while maintaining a strong unwavering faith in spiritual freedom and limited governmental powers. They wanted to create a nation that allowed its citizens to succeed or fail on their own without intervention from a controlling central authority such as the federal government is today and the King of England was then. What they created was the greatest nation in the history of all mankind.
Kevin Howard is a Santa Rosa Beach resident and small business owner. He is a former Army Airborne Ranger and has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.