"Government has valid purposes... creating economic growth ain't one of them."I've been watching an interesting series on the History Channel called "America - the story of us". The United States has had a remarkable history compressed in just three short centuries.One fact stands out in high relief: we once enjoyed a government of the people, by the people and for the people that created vast economic opportunity for hundreds of millions. That's right, I said it: the government created the opportunities. Don't believe me? Watch the series and pondercate the seminal lessons.Consider the Louisiana Purchase. The government purchased vast tracts of land to allow for expansion. Later, that land was offered free to settlers via The Homestead Act in 1862. The government gave 10% of the puchased land to anyone willing to seize the opportunity. A massive redistribution of wealth that enriched the Nation mightily.Or consider the Transcontinental Railroad. The government financed the construction of the railroad via government bonds and land (the railroad companies that built the lines ended up owning about another 10% of federal lands). The railroad opened the entire continent to unprecedented economic development.Or consider the Erie Canal that connected the Atlantic to the Great Lakes allowing transport of goods from the east coast to the middle west. It was championed by DeWitt Clinton, then governor of New York, financed by government funds. It transformed the economy of New York and fueled an economic explosion in the Great Lakes states.Consider the Land Grant Universities that propelled our agriculture into the economic behemoth it is today.Consider the locks and dams financed by government that opened the Mississippi River and many others as corridors for the transport of goods.Consider the Interstate Highway System that, once again, transformed the face (and wealth) of America.We became the world's greatest economic power by utilizing government to create an infrastructure that provided untold opportunities for countless individuals to pursue their economic self-interest.That was then. Nowadays people blather that government can't create opportunities. Nowadays, we allow the infrastructure we created decades ago to rot and disintegrate.We've got a Power Grid held together by baling wire and bubble gum, maxed to capacity and wholly incapable of providing the energy necessary to fuel untold future economic opportunities. We allow our roadways, sewers and water supplies to crumble as we deplore any efforts to channel government spending towards infrastructure repair, development or enhancement as "SOCIALISM."There's lots of work begging to be done. Work that can't be out-sourced. Work begging to be done by our own citizenry on behalf of our own citizenry. There's so much more we could and should be doing to foster economic growth. But are we doing all the must and should be done!?! No. We sit on our thumbs simpering that government can't create economic growth...even after centuries of breath-taking proof that it can and did.
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