This great reprint of a famous Newsweek article from 1955 by the great Henry Hazlitt is provided by Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE) via the ctserf blog is as timely and valid today as it was when Henry was fighting the New Deal progressives and socialist policies of his day. http://ctserfdom.com/2012/07/14/the-fourth-dimension-by-henry-hazlitt/
“When demanding assistance from the state, people forget that it is a demand upon the other citizens merely passed on through the government, but believe they are making a demand upon a sort of Fourth Dimension which is supposed to be able to supply the wants of all and sundry to their hearts’ content without any individual person having to bear the burden” he quotes European economist, Wilhelm Ropke.
Best I can tell, over 50 years later, the truth and fallacy of the Fourth Dimension lives on
. To me, nothing exemplifies this better than Senator Harry Reid’s rant in March 2011 that you could not cut funding for a cowboy poetry festival in Nevada because it was a job creator. If you are going to argue that the cowboy poetry festivals are essential Federal functions and cannot be cut, I’m betting bringing up cutting welfare and entitlement programs, or virtually any program is a non starter. No worries, the Fourth Dimension will pay.
Think about it, our Government, in their desire to sell a $45,000 green car that goes 30 miles on a charge, offers a $7,000 tax rebate to someone making $170,000 to buy a car. Through taxation, a citizen making $60,000 per year is subsidizing the ability of a person making $170,000 to buy an expensive car, all thanks to the government and the Fourth Dimension of course.
One of the most important truths articulated in the article is that in the Progressives, statists desire to a create welfare state, a citizenship expecting of the government to take care of their every need and want, changes the heart and soul of a nation. The other simple truth: every single dollar the government spends comes from the private sector, either through revenue or debt. The government cannot, and does not create wealth for a nation.
Today, virtues of hard work, smarts, determination, risk, savings, investment, individual liberty and personal responsibility are no longer valued, but mocked and pilloried. Consumption, and buying and borrowing beyond your means, and incurring debt is what is rewarded and encouraged by our government. Honesty is derided, ad hominem slurs are in, poll tested with the public.
Make no mistake, our culture is changing, from anyone can succeed; to you can do anything the state allows, to the degree they allow. We the People, through our political class actually do reward failure, and punish the successful, all thanks to the benevolence of the Fourth Dimension.
The Fourth Dimension is actually The Forgotten Man, which I will address in a future blog.