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How 'Caring Loudly' Hurts Wisconsin

Written By: Tim Nerenz  |  Posted: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

                If life was a caring contest, I would probably be a liberal, too.   But life is not a caring contest; it is a living contest, and therefore I am a libertarian. 
                Because the best way for a society to provide the greatest number of its people the opportunity to live life to their fullest potential is not to care loudly about them; it is to keep them free - free to do as they wish, earn what they will, keep what they earn, exchange with others as both see fit, speak their mind, hold to their faith, and to live securely in their property and persons without fear of unwarranted government interference. 
                In the Hallmark card world of disconnected liberal happy thoughts, it is sufficient to express a sympathetic emotion, to care loudly.  They remind us over and over again how much they care about the children, the women, the hungry, the sick, the poor, the disenfranchised, the minorities, the planet, the uneducated, the worker, the middle class, the uninsured, the elderly, the debt-laden, those of reproductive age, and the disabled.  
                And so what if they care?  We all care.    
                Caring loudly makes the care-ers feel good about themselves but it does jack squat for the care-ees.   Those who care loudly should examine the consequences of the policies their loud caring has brought about.  Has their loud caring made Detroit thrive?  Did it save the textile industry?  Are the loudly-cared-about kids better educated today than they were 50 years ago when we cared about learning instead?  
                I care deeply about those who are unable to sustain themselves due to disability; but does all my caring help a disabled person sustain themselves?  No, it doesn't; but my hiring a disabled person does.  And what do you think a disabled person would rather receive from me - my sympathy or a job?  I think you know.
                The stubborn reality is that I can't hire a disabled person - or any other person - unless I operate a profitable and economically sound firm.  How much we care has about zero to do with it; how much we make has everything to do with it. 
                The reason I write so often about economic liberty and free market capitalism is that shared prosperity can only exist when there is prosperity to share.  And real prosperity is only created in a free market where free people profit from free exchange.  Capitalism - real capitalism - truly is the goose that lays the golden eggs. 
                Governments and non-profits provide essential services, but they do not create wealth.  They are funded entirely out of profits generated in the private sector, a private sector which is under siege from the very same governments and non-profits that depend on its profits to pay for all that loud caring they enjoy so much. 
                Our companies need capital to expand and add jobs - jobs for Americans of every flavor and stripe.  The ideal source of that capital is the profits our companies and investors produce when they are left alone to operate in their own best economic interest.  Taxing those profits takes away capital needed for expansion and job creation; regulating those operations sub-optimizes their earning potential.   
                If you really care about your fellow man, you should be working your butt off to reduce taxes and regulatory barriers on corporations and high-end producers.  You should do the quiet caring that we libertarians are known for - care only about the degree of freedom that is guaranteed to every person and every firm.       
                American companies are the highest taxed in the world; and if we are not the most heavily regulated, we are certainly right up there.  Unless Congress acts, there will be 11 tax increases imposed on our corporations and our most productive citizens on January 1, 2013.   We will go from world's worst to worse yet - it will be the largest single tax increase in the history of the world.   
                Those who care loudly will be giddy - high-fiving each other and reveling in their victory over the uncaring rich and successful.  For a time; but then reality will sink in.  Companies will relocate to more hospitable business climates; rich people will go live elsewhere; new factories will be opened in places where they are welcomed.  Tax revenues will plummet, just as the Laffer curve predicts they will. 
                Caterpillar is an Illinois heavy equipment company that recently bought Bucyrus, a Wisconsin mining equipment company.  Caterpillar is building a new factory to build underground mining equipment; do you think this plant is being built in Illinois, which recently raised taxes by 67%, or in Wisconsin, where the loudly caring are viciously trying to recall the Governor so they can raise taxes on the rich and productive? 
                If you answered Indonesia, congratulations. 
                Sadly, that new factory will not be built in Wisconsin with Wisconsin labor; none of that mining machinery will be built in Wisconsin with Wisconsin labor; and none of that mining machinery be used in Wisconsin, operated by Wisconsin labor. 
                This is the deliverable handiwork of those who care loudly about the working class - lots of noise, no work, and no class.  Caring loudly is no substitute for employing gainfully. 
                "Moment Of Clarity" is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D.  Visit Tim's website to find your moment and order Tim's new book, "BRING IT!


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