So, how has it come to this? Well, it is a subject about which I could write pages but I want to limit my discussion here to three major issues. These issues are crony capitalism, private-public partnerships and special interests and money. They are all intertwined but even though they might overlap, and they've been building for generatins. Let's discuss them in that order.
1. Crony capitalism. I call this the scourge of real capitalism. Big business curries favor with big government and the result is an unfair advantage for starters. But it's much bigger than that, for what normally happens is government, not just at the federal but also at lower levels, enters into agreements with selected large businesses to defray much of the cost, one of the principal areas being expensive infrastructure. In the end, by crafty manipulation and scheming, it often ends up in the end with the public sector absorbing g the cost overrides and the failures that weren't identified in the planning stages. It's poison to the little guy and to the public since they always end up paying the freight for everything government commits to. Payment can be simply loss of money through taxes and fees to make up the difference or in the worst scenario loss of home and lifestyle. Large corporations have deep pockets to hire skilled negotiators and lawyers while government usually comes up short. Call me a cynic if you must but how many times have you heard a developer say that this is really good for the community, then he is long gone by the time major problems have exploded and can no longer be hidden?
2. Public-private partnerships. As stated earlier, a lot of overlap is found here but the big one is risk. In a clean capitalist society, isn't a company supposed to be able to make big profits based on the assumption of proper reward based on risk taken? Well, in a public-private partnerships with tax incentives and special legal arrangements drawn into law without the public knowing much, plus huge inflationary pressures, the risk is assumed by the taxpayer. It was never meant to be that way but with politicians so interested in the submitted bottom line estimates which are usually overly generous, taxes continue to go up and the unfortunate get run off their land. It's a common result based upon rapidly increasing tax appraisals and the politicians who entered the agreements either hide behind the law or have long since given up their political careers. Since when was politics considered a career? The Founders warned us of this but since we no longer study history and government we no longer know.
3. Special interests and money. This last factor actually combines much of the previous ones and is what drives the system into something it was never meant to be. When powerful lobbies with plenty of cash to throw around come calling, the good intentions of politicians are often either thrown out the window or watered down to the point that they no longer accomplish the work of their constituents. Why? Because in today's political world to win elections requires huge amounts of money. When the public loses it's will to really study the issues as the Founders desired (i.e., an educated electorate), voting decisions are made on expensive sound bytes bought and paid for by the special interests. You really don't think they do so without expecting any favors, do you? Of course not, we wouldn't do that and neither will they and so, those elected public officials, sometimes not even taking time to realize what they have done, become pawns of the special interests, not servants of the people. And to make it clear, this is not a party thing but a fact of life for all of them. It's the problem we have when winning elections became a career unto itself instead of the intended citizen-legislator concept of the Founders.
There are many other things that could be added, but this is a good place to cut it off for now. Suffice it to say that our system of government, designed by great patriots who saw capitalism and faith principal ingredients to a better life and freedom has lost its luster and much of its purpose. It was designed for those citizens willing to use their own sweat equity to reach their dreams, frequently now lost due to the undue influence of big and powerful groups. These groups pick the winners and losers and as we see so often today, the small business and the common man lose out. But for all who say capitalism is the culprit, they are wrong, for what we have today is not capitalism, It is instead a jaded hybrid that shows few real examples of what Adam Smith expected. It's what happens when money becomes the god instead of God above and bigness becomes the master. And no matter how bad we think it might be, it can never be the disaster of the next step, socialism. For with socialism, we enter a world where big government is the master of all things with all the power of force to carry out its objective: total power in all things and all decisions. And that, my friends, soon becomes pure tyranny. The worst of human nature soon rises to the top.
Wake up, America. If we want to really be free with the ability to use independent initiative with lessened constraints, we must pay attention and learn what is really going on and how our elected representatives vote, not just what they say. And we need to study real history so that we can learn from the mistakes we have made, we can learn what our constitution really says and means, and then use our own talents with the help of Providence Almighty to discern a course forward. We Americans have struggled too hard to lose the very essence of what America means. Let's not let the greatest political experiment and engine of well-being slip totally away because we are too busy with ourselves or just plain too lazy to read the tea leaves. God bless you all.