Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I started out loving it, because I was a pyromaniac as a kid, and any excuse to play with fireworks sounded GREAT to me. I still love playing with fireworks and watching them, but the 4th of July has brought so much more meaning in my life when I think about all of the men and women who’ve sacrificed their lives so that we could have the freedom to pursue a life of happiness. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and so many other Founding Fathers started this country with the dream that we would live free from tyrannical dictators, monarchies, and the constraints of oppressive government. Unfortunately, with every day that passes, every politician that we elect into government, every big government program that Congress comes up with, and every dollar we spend that we don’t have, we start slowly losing the freedoms we’ve experienced and taken for granted over the past 200 plus years.
From a financial perspective, you have EVERY freedom available to you to make as much money as you can. You can start a business today, collect income from clients or customers, and make a life for yourself. As long as the business is considered legal and it’s not harming others, you have the freedom to make as much profit as you can and pay taxes back to the government. Doesn’t that sound amazing (except for the taxes part)? Did you know there are countries in this modern day that do nothing to encourage entrepreneurship? And if they do, the barriers to entry are MUCH harder and the government regulations are MUCH stricter. It’s amazing to think about the opportunities we have to create wealth, help others with our wealth, and set up our children and grandchildren for financial prosperity all because our country was founded on the principles that we have God-given, inalienable rights that no one can dictate, not even our government. It’s no wonder that there are thousands of immigrants every day trying to become citizens of the United States.
Yet, today we find our media, our government, and even ourselves scorning capitalism, the economic system that has allowed us to prosper as a nation, give generously back to other nations, and create wonderful innovations that have transformed the world. Why is capitalism evil all of a sudden? Why do people like Michael Moore hate capitalism? It’s because humans love to find a scapegoat. It’s the easy way out. Find something to blame, so when something bad happens in our economy or when someone steals from regular people, we blame capitalism. But the system isn’t the problem, the people in the system are the problem. Capitalism didn’t cause Bernie Madoff to steal billions of dollars from thousands of people. Madoff lost control of himself and his soul. He got caught up in materialism and power, and he didn’t care who he was hurting to do it. You can put forth all of the financial regulations you want, but people will still find ways to cheat, lie, and steal. It’s human nature. Capitalism allows people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, two of richest and most generous people in the world, to build wealth and give it back to medical research and the less fortunate. Capitalism allows companies like Tom’s Shoes to donate shoes to children around the world that can’t afford shoes. Capitalism is why foreign baseball and basketball athletes DREAM about playing in the MLB and NBA. Capitalism is not the problem with financial corruption, we’re the problem.
I’m not getting “political” with you, I’m trying to be American with you. If we don’t stand up for our freedom and the economic system that has given us the ability to have unlimited financial freedom, then what happens next? Ronald Reagan spoke these timeless words, “If we lose freedom here, there’s no other place to go. This is the last stand on Earth.” This 4th of July, don’t think about Democrats or Republicans. Don’t think about Conservatives versus Liberals. Think about our Founding Fathers and their vision for the direction of this country. Would they want us to continue to let the government get bigger and put more rules and regulations on our lives? Or would they want us to embrace what has worked so great over the past three centuries and figure out ways to improve upon those principles?