Well, the circus came to town recently and, by all accounts, the President ought not be so dismissive of it. Here’s what I mean: As I watched the circus entertainment unfold, from beginning to end, I began to draw some important similarities, between life and a big circus. In fact, there are some lessons that President Obama may be overlooking, and many of them could help him lead our nation.
First, ever since the Great Depression, when FDR raised taxes to satisfy an agenda of wealth redistribution and mounted an attack campaign on capitalists, even liberals will have to admit that most of the necessities of life are relatively affordable for most folks – food, clothing, housing, etc… Likewise, the circus is also relatively affordable. In fact, it is a good value that makes good sense, and there were thousands in attendance. This particular circus company has been performing for over 60 years now, without any government bailout or take-over. It’s evidence that a free market economy works; rewarding efficiency, resourcefulness, originality, and inventiveness.
But as in life, it’s often the discretionary choices, that we all make, that can make the most substantial difference in our lives. While the cost of admission to the circus is a good value, the spending choices, inside the “big tent”, may be more challenging. Spending $15 for a light-up toy, which sells at your local toy store for $5, may not reflect wise stewardship of your money, which is essential to financial security. But that’s the beauty of our free market economy…it’s your money and your decision.
Likewise, Mr. Obama, when taxpayer money is involved, it should be the taxpayer’s decision. For example, Medicare regularly pays power wheelchair retailers 4 times the wholesale cost. You should probably deal with the critics who point out the inefficiency of government run programs, before you continue touting the virtues of hiring the federal government to manage over 15% of our nation’s GDP.
We also sang the Star Spangled Banner at the circus. Everyone stood at attention…with their right hand over their heart. We know that Mr. Obama received a great deal of criticism last year, when he didn’t remember to place his right hand over his heart, during the rendition of our national anthem. You can learn about the proper protocol by referencing the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171, which reads “During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.” Or, you can just go to the circus. Mr. President, it looked like they had this one down pat.
And everyone in attendance, seemingly, wanted each performer to be as successful as possible. We all wanted the lions to perform on demand for the lion tamer, or the elephant to skip in perfect rhythm with the 50’s tune of “Tootie Fruity, Oh Rootie”. It didn’t matter that it was far more exciting to watch a 69-year-old man being shot out of a cannon, than watching a gymnast twirl a baton with her feet, while standing on her head. The crowd wanted each performer to be as successful as possible, whatever their talent. The more successful each performer, the more entertaining each performance was, for everyone watching.
The same is true for our nation’s economy. When we want everyone to be as successful as possible, we all prosper. In other words, “a rising tide lifts all ships”. But the Obama economic agenda for our nation, by contrast, is based on a feeling that making the “rich” poorer will somehow be better and, to achieve that aim, the top marginal rate is expected to be raised to 39.6% by 2011. Mr. Obama, respectfully, you cannot lift the wage-earner up by pulling the wage-payer down.
Many liberals will disagree. But, undeniably, when our nation has created an economic environment that encouraged investment, by rewarding hard work, our nation has prospered. When Ronald Reagan reduced the top marginal tax rate on individual income from 70 percent to 28 percent, indexed individual tax brackets for inflation, and exempted the poor from individual income tax, our nation’s economy experienced the largest peacetime expansion in our history.
Truly, this nation is still the “greatest show on earth”. And at the end of the day, the circus is only for our entertainment…our enjoyment. Most folks, however, don’t want to be entertained by the federal government, whether it is nationalized healthcare, government owned banks, increased income taxes, a weakening dollar, increasing federal deficits, or a precipitously weakening foreign policy, that is more dependent on apologies for the alleged misdeeds of Americans and the appeasement of a world community, than achieving peace through strength.
Mr. Obama, I know you said that media attention to your critics is a distraction from the important work of your administration because “it all becomes a big circus…” Well, from where I am sitting, a big circus could only be an improvement. Peanuts, anyone?
Louis R. Avallone is a Louisiana contractor and attorney.