How Does one Explain the Difference Between the Success of the U.S. Economy and Developing Countries?

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Despite humble roots, I was born with a silver spoon because I was born in the United States and given opportunities not even available to royalty in other countries. So it is for millions of us in America. Some would dismiss my circumstances as privilege. I call them liberty.

In the 1980s, I traveled the world while flying P3 Orions for USN to such garden spots as Mogadishu, Somalia; Djibouti; Muscat, Oman; and the Philippines. I witnessed people in the throes of abject poverty with no apparent hope for a better future. My international business career brought me to dozens of other countries, including China, Korea, India, and many European nations where I saw economic growth amid economic deprivation.

How does one explain the difference between the success of the U.S. economy and the dismal existences in developing countries?  Simply stated, our Founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, combined with the Rule of Law.

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The Declaration’s inspired proposition that all people – king and pauper – are born with the right to protect their life, freedom, intellectual and physical property unleashed the human spirit in this new nation called the United States. In our time, leaders like Ronald Reagan ensured that we kept that promise, which drew people from around the world to America in order to live their lives to the best of their abilities.

A friend recently asked rhetorically if there is a more fortunate country on earth than ours because it had the likes of Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Franklin. These men understood the obstacles to creating any government, let alone one premised on the never-before-tested concept of self-rule.

History taught our Founders that politicians would become so comfortable with their power that they’d ensconce themselves firmly in office until they, not the electorate, decided it was time to go. Thus, our framers believed that an informed citizenry would be a check on this type of abuse. Unfortunately, modern voters have not lived up to those expectations.

In Connecticut, one only has to look at Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Representatives Courtney, DeLauro, and Larson, and countless state-level officials like Martin Looney and Bob Duff, each with decades in office, to see what a career politician looks like. Sadly, the electorate has failed to heed the framers’ forewarning.

This devolution to a government led by partisan ideologues is crushing our freedoms. With nearly absolute power these politicians are wasting tax dollars on a wide range of pet schemes that neither promote human flourishing nor protect our sovereignty. Instead, untold trillions of dollars are spent to influence votes and keep them in power. How else does one explain Gov. Ned Lamont’s convenient dispersal of election-year checks  to key constituencies?

In Connecticut, when a neighbor is about to retire, the inevitable question is, “Where are you going?” It’s assumed he won’t stay in the state. The most commonly named states all have a higher level of economic freedom. These retirees are not greedy; they just want to maintain control of their hard-earned savings to spend as they see fit. We have reached a point where it is easier for people to leave their families and friends for states that allow them to exercise their freedoms.  Very few other states have that level of out-migration of citizens at retirement.

With one political party in control in Connecticut, we see Democrats use their position to hold power.  A favorite feint is to point to evil corporations that don’t pay their “fair share” in taxes. Those asserting this canard are either economically illiterate or dishonest, perhaps both.  Taxes are but a line item on a P&L statement; as with all operating costs, corporations will pass them on to consumers. The claim that the wealthy must pay more is a dodge for the fact that Hartford needs to spend less.

Connecticut must change the paradigm and vote out the incumbents who have held office for decades. As citizens we must examine the state’s trajectory, think for ourselves, and zealously guard our rights. Then we must vote to make a change. I challenge those who say,  “I have always voted for Democrats because they take care of me” to rethink their premise and see how new leadership might help us all regain our economic and social freedom.

Robert Ham
Cheshire, CT