This morning, during the blizzard, I read, “Chinamerica” an excellent book (by Handel Jones, 2010) about the rise of China and the weakening of America. It is really fantastic, but frightening. (If only our leaders were up to the challenge presented.) Handel compares the two economies. He explains why China’s business leaders are confident about the future, and ours are not.
One quote that I really liked was this one about American culture:
“Gradually the culture has evolved from one in which everyone was expected to make a contribution to build the economy to one in which a large percentage of people are trying to extract as much as possible from the economy.”
So, for example, public-sector unions are all about taking more and more wealth out the economy for their members. These organizations have no other purpose. But of course, many in the private sector do the same thing. One example: I know a guy in Boston who works for a “green energy” company that doesn’t actually create any energy. They just use complicated financial deals to wring huge profits out of government subsidies. He’s become rich, but done nothing for anyone else.
We need to figure out how government can take less out of the economy, and how it can help corporations and individuals add more to it, making things better for everyone. We need to get behind people who actually create something, and shun those who do not. In Massachusetts, we have the best and worst in creating value, from the life sciences and technology startups in Kendall Square to the special interests behind the Democrats on Beacon Hill. It’s time that we, as Republicans, take sides with those who actually want to build a better economy for this state, and tell everyone that we are on the side of the builders, and not the looters.
This is also a good strategy for Republican party politics! Enough complaining about the party not supporting this guy or that initiative. How about actually creating some value for the party yourself? In today’s online world, can you really not raise $3,000 for someone if the MassGOP declines to? Can you really not make your case online for what you believe without party support? If someone on the state committee is in your way, go around them!
Let us have 2011 be one where Republicans are creating value in everything they do. Ronald Reagan said after his second election, “All of a sudden, Republicans are not defenders of the status quo, but creators of the future.” Do independent voters out there today really think Republicans are creating the future? (My guess is that they believe we are throwing a series of temper tantrums.)
I have decided that in 2011, I will try to create as much value as possible, both for Republicans, and also for the economy.
p.s. I realize this post may sound like “happy talk,” but ask anyone who knows me: I am a very serious person. (Perhaps… too serious.) But I always smile when looking ahead, even when getting ready for a fight.