I’ve begun giving radio and TV interviews across the country this week about my new book, “RED AND BLUE AND BROKE ALL OVER: Restoring America’s Free Economy.” Often, the conversation begins with a question like “What made you want to write this book?” or “What inspired you to write your book?” It’s a logical place to start. And the answer is:
The American Dream is fading.
My book is really about how freedom creates prosperity. It’s something so axiomatic that it should be among the Truths that Americans hold to be Self-Evident: Freedom creates prosperity.
It is a conclusion that is unavoidable in an examination of the long sweep of history. It is obvious in looking across national borders. It is even evident in satellite imagery of the earth. The stark line of light and darkness that divides the Korean peninsula at night is actually the border that divides the North, plunged into darkness when the sun goes down, from the South, both visible from illumination and visibly more free and prosperous.
In our present economic condition, some American cities and towns have been letting their streetlights go dark. But the fading American Dream— for many of us, a dream that consists of home ownership, a secure retirement, and the certainty of a better future for our children— is not merely about the latest business cycle. It is about something much more profound that is happening to us.
The official designation of recessions and recoveries is so far removed from the living experience of people in the American economy that it is utterly useless except to illustrate my point about our declining prosperity. The board that watches these things says the recession that came in with the mortgage meltdown in 2007 ended in June 2009.
Could there be a more meaningless statistical abstraction? 46 million of our countrymen, one in seven Americans, are on food stamps. We still suffer depression-era levels of unemployment. And more than six million home mortgages are going unpaid. And yet, we’re told that the recession ended almost three years ago?
The fading American Dream was captured in a Milken Institute study: Over the last 40 years, the median earnings of men in constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars has declined 12% for those with college degrees. For those with only a high school degree, earnings have fallen an astonishing 47%.
It should not be surprising that our declining prosperity correlates with the neglect of our freedom. What is surprising is that while billions of people around the world are getting the boot heel of the state off their necks, are embracing freedom, and are becoming more prosperous, we have chosen to go in the opposite direction.
My new book, Red and Blue and Broke All Over, is intentionally ambiguous: America is broke. The U.S. government is dependent on the kindness of strangers in places like China to keep loaning it money. But the title refers to both the Red and the Blue parties, which are bankrupt as well, both intellectually and morally.
The assault on our freedom is a trend that remains in force regardless of the party in control. Both Red and Blue share the same economic priesthood (Fed Chairman Greenspan was appointed by both Reagan and Clinton; Chairman Bernanke by both Bush and Obama). So even when the parties change, the real monetary policies that determine our prosperity remain the same.
Only Freedom Can Lead Us Out
Restoring the American Dream requires more than just singing about the “land of the free” at baseball games. It requires an understanding of freedom itself. My book lays out, in clear terms that you can even use to explain to your brother-in-law, why freedom works. In doing so, it helps answer these questions:
- Why does government interference in the economy make us poorer?
- Why does the government’s central economic planning fail?
- Why is the government’s constant price meddling a disaster?
- How are the governing classes and the crony capitalists able to get away with robbing us to enrich themselves?
- What is the dollar endgame and what can we do about it?
Once you learn why freedom creates prosperity and that the state creates poverty, it becomes clear that only a renewed appreciation for freedom can lead us out. No charismatic candidate, new governmental initiative, bipartisan commission, or mechanical solution can help.
At the time of our founding, the people were aflame in their love for liberty. They talked about it in their taverns, town squares, and churches. Only if we reignite that flame can we be rid of politicians’ endless mandates, their central economic planning, and their wealth-destroying crony capitalism and bailout schemes.
It is not the choice between the Red party and the Blue party that matters…
It is the choice between statism and freedom.
It is the choice between poverty and prosperity.
If we chose freedom, we can restore the American Dream.
We can have a future of opportunity, peace, and prosperity.
If we choose freedom.