You Gotta Let It Grow

Americans are keenly aware that the nation faces an array of grave economic difficulties. It’s growth that’s the elixir that works wonders.
You Gotta Let It Grow
Having multiple income streams is a powerful wealth-building tool. (Ghing/Shutterstock)
Thomas McArdle
Americans are keenly aware that the nation faces an array of grave economic difficulties, and they recognize that the big-spending, green-in-the-extreme policies of the Biden administration are dragging us in the direction away from solutions.
But whether the problem is unemployment, inflation, massive government programs locked in a fiscal death spiral, or even stubborn social challenges such as welfare dependency and family instability, it’s growth and the greater availability of private sector jobs that it provides that’s the elixir that works wonders.
With artificial intelligence having just revamped John Lennon’s voice for a new Beatles single nearly 43 years after Lennon was gunned down, it’s uncanny to find even the 1960s’ best-known countercultural icon urging “growth,” in spite of himself.
When it came to politics or philosophy, the street-smart Liverpudlian spouted a great deal of naive nonsense, from “All You Need Is Love” to “Give Peace a Chance”—the latter a demand that the Israelis are now getting an earful of from the U.S. government just weeks after Hamas terrorists slaughtered 1,200 of their civilian citizens. Once in a while, however, Beatle John provided a pearl of wisdom.
The 1973 single “Mind Games” may have been inspired by a book of that name co-written by pop counterculturist Jean Houston, the same woman who had Hillary Clinton conducting imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt during her residency in the White House, although the words of the song themselves actually mostly make good sense.

Lennon identified one of the mind games people play in the lyric “Chanting the mantra ‘Peace on Earth,’” a sentiment more relevant today than ever as the left disguises its apologies for terrorism in the clothing of pacifism. The same with “Love is the flower ... you gotta let it grow.”

More than 40 years ago in his landmark book “Wealth and Poverty,” George Gilder explained the connection between love—love between the sexes and love of fellow man—and economic growth: “It is love that changes the short horizons of youth and poverty into the long horizons of marriage and career.”

His debunking of the myth that capitalism is based on greed, rather than on giving of oneself to others as the underpinning of success in entrepreneurship, is well known; less so are his findings on the role of labor:

“Because effective work consists not in merely fulfilling the requirements of labor contracts, but in ‘putting out’ with alertness and emotional commitment, workers have to understand and feel deeply that what they are given depends on what they give—that they must supply work in order to demand goods. Parents and schools must inculcate this idea in their children both by instruction and example.”

Mr. Gilder warned that “nothing is more deadly to achievement than the belief that effort will not be rewarded, that the world is a bleak and discriminatory place in which only the predatory and the specially preferred can get ahead.”

Today, more than ever before, this is the thinking that dominates the left’s political appeal to the poor in society: that their woes are the result of “systemic racism” and that the only solution is ever-more government handouts financed by the racist upper class—whose wealth isn’t legitimately their own anyway—handouts that lead them and their progeny into a downward spiral of dependency.

“Wealth and Poverty” posits that “after work the second principle of upward mobility is the maintenance of monogamous marriage and family.” Mr. Gilder concluded that “civilized society is dependent upon the submission of the short-term sexuality of young men to the extended maternal horizons of women.”

“This is what happens in monogamous marriage,” he said.

Responsible paternity is manifested in “the discipline and love of children and the dependable performance of the provider role.”

Economic policy is the means of letting the flower of love grow in soil fortified by the nutrients of work, the discipline of familial responsibilities, and faith—favoring private sector investment over the expansion of the welfare state and its assault on civilized society’s indispensable precept that citizens “must supply work in order to demand goods.”

Yet nine ways to Sunday, the establishment media falsify the record on letting people keep their own money rather than force them to finance more and more expansion of socialistic paternalism. A recent editorial in the Chicago Tribune, after acknowledging that “our current federal spending is unsustainable,” claimed that “1985’s Gramm–Rudman–Hollings law, which sought to tamp down the large deficits during the Reagan era ... didn’t work, but Clinton-era tax increases combined with the economic boom of the 1990s produced budget surpluses.”

Just where did this economic boom come from? Are there no negative effects on business activity from taking more money out of the pockets of investors—who, obviously, are to be found largely among those in the higher incomes and who possess money available to devote to buying equities?

Was it President Bill Clinton’s raising of the top income tax rates (after reneging on his 1992 campaign’s “comprehensive plan to get our economy moving again” that “starts with a tax cut for the middle class”) that produced the ‘90s boom? Or was it his squeezing more out of corporate, energy, Social Security, and Medicare taxation?
And how did such supposedly economy-friendly policies lose President Clinton’s party control of both the House and the Senate in the 1994 mid-term elections for the first time since 1952? How did a president so infamously renowned for deflecting blame find himself pressured to admit at a fall 1995 fundraiser, gearing up for his reelection campaign, that he “raised your taxes too much.”

Can anyone seeking to be objective really believe that President Clinton was more consequential than President Ronald Reagan, whose economic policy legacy was, first, to lower income taxes across the board by 25 percent, then, in his second term, reform a system that had burdened Americans with 14 different tax brackets, the highest reaching 70 percent, into one with two rates, the top rate a low, investment-spurring 28 percent?

It’s far more plausible to conclude that the “Clinton Boom” was actually a continuation of President Reagan’s historic recovery, interrupted by President George H.W. Bush’s breaking of his “no new taxes” pledge in the 1990 budget agreement.

What’s more, Gramm–Rudman did indeed work. It was the abandonment of it by Bush 41 in that 1990 pact with the Democrats in charge of Congress, at the behest of his budget director, Richard Darman, that ended fiscal discipline, brought on recession, and lost President Bush’s reelection in 1992. As Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore pointed out on the eve of that electoral catastrophe, two years after the disastrous budget deal, under Gramm–Rudman “Congress was forced to reach a specific deficit target each year, which meant that any ‘unexpected’ increases in spending on entitlements would necessitate painful spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. That served as a vital, though underappreciated, instrument of restraint. Under Gramm-Rudman real entitlement growth was less than 1 percent per year.”
The Chicago Tribune pronounced that “A serious issue requires serious people” before scoffingly conceding that “the only lawmakers beating the deficit drum are far-right Republicans in the House,” whose social conservatism the newspaper finds to be beneath its tastes. This kind of condescension has been heard time and again, aimed at the presidencies of President Reagan, George W. Bush, and President Trump, in spite of the glaring fact that it’s the never-ending spending of the other party, today fully controlled by politicians so extreme that they consider President Barack Obama a conservative, whose unceasing faith in government is hurtling the nation to the fiscal cliff.

Tax increases only whet the appetite of the big spenders to spend more. Growth is the answer, and if your eyes have been open to Washington’s fiscal mind games of the past four decades, then in the words of Lennon, “you know that for sure.”

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Thomas McArdle was a White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush and writes for
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