On April 15, I attended the large tea party tax rally in Fort Myers. Having never attended such an event, I didn’t know what to expect. Like a dedicated cub reporter, I arrived early — to move through the crowd and speak with the folks, especially those having unusual signs. There were hundreds of homemade signs in the crowd of some 4,000 — no two alike.
My initial observations were that it was a true grass-roots effort, that the attendees were quite knowledgeable, that many felt the nation has been duped by our politicians, and that they were very concerned about their grandchildren.
Many in attendance were especially concerned about the forthcoming diminution of individual liberty — the freedom an individual has to organize his business affairs and lifestyle in whatever manner he might choose. Napoleon phrased it more succinctly: “Nothing is more difficult, and hence more precious, than to be able to decide.” And, the importance of such freedom to America’s future was phrased this way by Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
As to higher taxes, there was a definite feeling that we haven’t begun to experience what the current administration has in store for us. Further, to the extent taxes don’t cover all of the administration’s social engineering, America will see inflation not seen since the Carter years.
No one seemed to have any assurance that the administration’s policies of tax, spend, borrow and inflate will work. Washington has offered little evidence. The folks up there seem to be using the current downturn as an opportunity to reshape America.
My own view is that we will recover from the current downturn; we always have. But, we would have recovered anyway without such harm to the free market system. I also foresee a rather significant redistribution of wealth and of income, and that more government spending and less private investment in the self-sustaining, job-creating tools of production will significantly dampen economic growth (a later column will outline a far preferable method for ending the current downturn).
That said, I still continue to see our nation as the envy of the world. More people wish to live here than anywhere else. The American dream can continue to flourish, but only if hard working, productive citizens rise up and reclaim our heritage.
David R. Dilley is a retired economist living in Pelican Landing. Dilley received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. He has taught at Indiana, Pittsburgh and NYU’s Graduate School and retired from U.S. Steel in 1985 as chief economist. Reach Dilley at firstname.lastname@example.org.