America has long been known as the land of opportunity; however there is now a belief among some that it should become the land of dependency. For hundreds of years immigrants risked everything to come to America not because of the programs it offered, but because of the opportunities it provided.
History has shown that when workers and entrepreneurs get to keep most of what they earn, they work harder and put money back into the community in the form of purchases and charitable contributions.
When governments impose income redistribution schemes to “spread the wealth,” workers and entrepreneurs loose their incentive to work as hard and have less to reinvest back into their communities. This is especially true in the case of charitable giving. Why should individuals make voluntary charitable contributions when the government has already invoked involuntary charity?
The concept of dependency is most extreme in communist nations such as the former USSR and Cuba, where the government controls all aspects of one’s employment and income. The individual is completely dependent upon the government for every aspect of his or her livelihood, and even their life, in these repressive regimes. The same dependency occurs to varying degrees in socialist countries all over the world, however the results are always the same, dependency destroys opportunity and economic growth.
In a recent article by Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek magazine, he correctly states that it has been the spread of capitalism in countries like India and China that has lifted millions of people out of poverty. When one studies the economic winners and losers around the world, the winners are those countries that provide opportunities for its citizens and the losers are those countries that make their citizens dependent upon the government and consequently their government dependent upon IMF loans and international subsidies. Cuba has not survived since 1959 because of its vibrant economy. It was subsidized by the USSR for much of its communist history and is now being subsidized by the leftist government of Venezuela.
Clearly, despite its perceived inequities, opportunity provides a far better life for the citizens of a country than dependency, the alternative being proposed by the president and too many of those in his party.