Education VideoIssue Education

The Disappearing American Miracle

At the heart of America lies a powerful entrepreneurial spirit—an energy recognized and shaped by the genius of our founding fathers who put individual liberty, free-market capitalism, property rights, and rule of law to back it up at the center of the nation’s framework.

It created, nurtured, and enhanced the incentive-based mentality of the human race that drives innovation and prosperity—making the American Dream possible for those willing to work for it. The system also discourages unproductive behavior, helping to keep individuals, families, and private organizations on the right path.

The basis of these incentives is freedom and liberty at all levels. Without that freedom so goes the incentives. Fast forward to today and the very best of America can be traced back to this foundation.

Small businesses epitomize these ideals. Through the sweat of their brow, small business owners are incentivized to create and innovate in order to get ahead. Developing the next best widget or delivering a new service can provide their family a path to the American Dream.

But the genius of the founding bedrock lies in how this inherent self-interest and incentive-based human behavior creates a rising tide that lifts all boats. Offering new and improved products and services increases standards of living for everyone while also creating opportunities for those working throughout the spiderweb economy. A successful entrepreneur injects more money into local services, restaurants, retail shops, and small businesses, all yielding higher wages without Uncle Sam applying unnecessary government mandates to do so.

High-profile examples of this mass-prosperity machine are scattered throughout our country’s nearly 250-year history.

Henry Ford’s mass production of the Model T spurred urbanization and empowered middle-class families. The creative mind of Walt Disney built new industries that delighted children and helped families make important lifelong memories. And the invention of the iPhone has put all of mankind’s knowledge at your fingertips.

But not all examples are revolutionary. From the corner bakery to the family farm, modest small businesses provide economic opportunity for millions—lifting families out of poverty and providing an opportunity to reach for their own American Dream. All because of free market incentives that energize the human mind and its spirit to succeed.

But unfortunately, the incentive structure, rule of law, and entrepreneurial environment created by our founding documents are under attack. Government encroachment is distorting market mechanisms and chipping away at the very framework that has fueled the most prosperous economy in the world.

High taxes, government red tape, and counterproductive policies stifle growth and innovation, penalizing those with the courage to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. It’s a poison that taints everything from healthcare to safety and security.

Increasing government subsidies as part of Obamacare, for example, have made the healthcare system even less transparent and bloated—transferring a growing cost burden onto taxpayers and families who don’t qualify for the government handout.

A similar situation is playing out in higher education as Uncle Sam’s student loan bailouts are acting as a blank check to universities. The backwards incentives are only exacerbating the college tuition crisis.

And government actions—or lack thereof—at the southern border are impacting Americans from Arizona to New York. Rhetoric from federal officials and the promise of government handouts are triggering a surge of immigrants to enter the country illegally. That, in turn, increasingly strains local communities and taxpayer-funded safety nets, as well as our important institutions of education and healthcare.

This spiraling situation is also contributing to increased crime. Videos of looting at small businesses and stories of drugs ruining lives are becoming more common on the local news. Policies at the local level like no cash bail, turning a blind eye to shoplifting, and allowing open drug use are further chipping away at the rule of law.

These examples of bad government policies have an exponentially ripple effect throughout the country as consequences for actions—both good and bad—are flipped upside down. It’s touching every corner of society; from the jobs we create to the safety of walking down the street to the corner store.

If we don’t reverse course and return to the ideas enshrined by our founding fathers—backed up by the rule of law—we will, with accelerated speed, lose the entrepreneurial spirit that has fueled the Great American Experiment. If we continue much further down the path, we will lose our country.