20 Years Later, We Still Haven’t Learned…

So, it’s been awhile, but thanks for sticking with me.

Yesterday marked a major anniversary in world history.  Twenty years ago marked the beginning of the end of the Berlin Wall.  This event came to symbolize the collapse of the Evil Empire and was supposed to mark the end of the Soviet Union as a major world power and delegitimize communism (or Sovietism if you will) as a practical economic and political model.  However, this year marks a bittersweet remembrance of such a historic event.  While many of the former Soviet states have enjoyed years of economic advancement and the accompanying freedoms that come along with such economic development, we here in America are facing threats to both our economic and political security and freedom.

Currently, the Index of Economic Freedom ranks the United States at 6th in the world for economic freedom.  While this may seem like a good thing, it also lists our unemployment at around 4.6% and inflation at about 2.9%.  First off, these numbers are sure to skyrocket, as the numbers used were “current as of June 30, 2008” (http://www.heritage.org/index/FAQ.aspx).  That was right before everything hit the proverbial fan.  Right now, our unemployment is at a national average of over 10%.  Secondly, many of the former Soviet states have averaged a rise in the rankings of about 14 spots between 1996 and 2009, meanwhile, the U.S. has sank one spot.  These rankings are even more surprising when you control for Russia, which hasn’t quite exactly embraced free market capitalism.  Under these parameters, the former satellites have risen on average over 18 rankings each.  (For this, I used 10 former satellites, Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Ukraine; Russia and the United States)  So, even before the Index has had a chance to take in all that’s happened since June of 2008 and now, we’ve already begun to drop in the rankings.  I can only imagine how the TARP, the economic stimulus, the auto-bailouts, and this highly lauded “healthcare reform” bill will affect the rankings.

While the supposed “bastion of free-market capitalism” further binds itself in the chains of government involvement, these newcomers to capitalism are making up leaps and bounds, doing things that we used to do, and beating us at our own game.  (Before anyone accuses me of being one of those “the Chinese/Indians are coming”, those two are ranked 132 and 123 respectively)  Back in March, French President Sarkozy and the German Chancellor Merkel criticized Obama’s economic policies, stating that what’s needed isn’t more spending, but more regulation.  While this insistence on more regulation can be explained by Continental Europe’s desire to place blame on the more deregulated economies in the world, it is still telling that even Continental Europe, one of the more socialized areas of the world, wants the United States to stop wasting money on stimulus.  Moreover, these two nations are ranked 13th (Germany) and 27th (France) in Europe – neither are even in the top 10!  But even they know what we shouldn’t be doing.  Meanwhile, little Estonia is currently ranked 13th in the world and 6th in Europe, rising a little bit every single year.

“But Kyle, what does any of this have to do with the fall of the Berlin Wall?”  you might ask.  Well, here’s the answer.  For nearly 30 years, that wall represented the domination exercised by the state over the citizens of the various Soviet satellites.  It has only been 20 years, and it seems as if we Americans are beginning to forget just what happened behind that wall.  In the former USSR, the state justified its enslavement of its citizens by linking everything that they did to the economy.  Already, the Obama administration has declined to release its stranglehold on the auto and financial industries.  It has refused repayments of the supposed “loans” that were a part of the financial sector bailouts, has shackled the hands of both Chrysler and GM as to exactly what can and can’t be made and under what standards, has called for the firing of CEOs, and has made back alley deals with Democratic stalwarts like the UAW, etc.  Moreover, it has already set its sights on the medical, insurance and manufacturing industries.  What strings this new federal puppet-master will force into these markets?  In just 20 years, America has begun looking more like the former Soviet Union, while the actual former Soviet Union has begun to look more like the America of 1989, and is better for it.

Every American should take a step back and look at how this country is being run this week.  Just as the nonexistence of the World Trade Center reminds many, even to this day, to “Never Forget” the threat of terrorism, the lack of the Berlin Wall should serve to remind us to not forget just what we were fighting against when President Reagan told Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”  When it comes to giving the government more power to regulate the economy and as a result to regulate the citizenry, I say, “Remember the Berlin Wall!  Never Forget!  Never Again!”  The fall of the Berlin Wall was not just a monumental moment in German history or even world history, it serves as a constant reminder that the threat of governmental economic tyranny is very real and could very likely happen here.


5 Responses

  1. Ottoyo13 says:

    If anyone doubts my figures, I can send you a copy of the data, just email or facebook me

  2. Todd Ellington says:

    Lots of food for though here Kyle…I’m not a fan of more government.

  3. Justin says:

    So you’re saying that countries that weren’t performing due to lack of market reforms that are improving due to market reforms but still aren’t up to US levels of market reforms…are doing better than the US? … Right. That makes sense. *eye roll*

    It’d be really nice if Republicans supported the US when they were in power AND when they were out of power. This on again/off again US is the greatest country/fastest declining country bullshit is starting to get on my nerves.

  4. Ottoyo13 says:

    No, what I’m saying is that those countries that reformed in the CORRECT way (i.e. less government involvement than under Soviet rule) are increasing in their ranking of economic freedom faster than the U.S. government under its current form of reform (i.e. more government involvement than during the Cold War).

    I do support the U.S. – I do not support socialist encroachments upon our economic system. That was the point of my post – that the countries that actually lived under the rule of the Soviets are now teaching Americans how to create a freer economic system than we know. I forget exactly who the author was, but “how sad is the animal that freely gives itself up to chains in the name of ‘safety’?”

    I’d like it if liberals (notice how I actually used the correct term for your side – thanks for the consideration) would actually take the time to read and listen to an argument before making up their minds against it, without forming a coherent thought to dispute it. As I said earlier tonight – I’m open minded to well thought out arguments against my positions – It’s just that I have yet to hear one in my 25 years of life that made any sense.

  5. Bridget says:

    This struck a cord with me, as I’ve happened to just watch Ronald Reagan A Rendezvous with Destiny movie. I noted while watching it that history really does repeat itself when we let ignorance cloud our judgement.

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