(Eye of the Tiger bumper music)
I want to go back to last hour, and you’ll recall that one of the points I wanted to dwell on and focus on last hour was the fact that this disaster relief effort is, when you get right down, when you strip everything away and look at it at its fundamental, economic terms, it is nothing more than the redistribution of wealth. Now, that’s all fine and dandy. It’s disaster relief. This is different if it were development aid. This is the wrong way to give development aid. Development aid is the kind of money that you invest in countries that they in turn will invest in their own growth so that they become wealth-creating societies. That’s not what this is. This will go a long way to helping in that regard if it’s used right, but there’s also a giant opportunity for corruption if the amounts of aid money in clumps are too large. It’s just too big a prize. You’re going to have corrupt bureaucrats trying to get as much of it in their hands as they can and siphon it away from where it’s intended to go. So, you know, I’ll be interested to see — probably never will learn this, but I’d love to see what the net figure is compared to the gross; whatever we actually end up donating to this relief effort — what actually gets there.
We’ll probably never know this, but I’ll guarantee you it won’t be anywhere near the total that’s donated. But that’s another discussion. This whole point of we’re in the midst of wealth redistribution, the left loves this. It’s one of the reasons they love disasters, because they love the whole idea of wealth redistribution. But you cannot distribute wealth or redistribute it unless what happens first? It has to be created. Sure, the U.S. is going to give 350 million, governmentally, and that’s probably not the last figure. Privately, U.S. citizens are going to donate even more, probably double that amount before it’s all said and done. Where does this money come from? You know, it’s one thing for their little jerks at the UN like this Jan Egeland character to go on the air and call everybody “stingy,” demand all this money, fine? He can demand because somebody’s created it, but he can only go one place in the world, folks, and make that demand because there’s only one place in the world genuinely that creates enough wealth to have enough for disasters like that, and that’s us: the United States of America.
So the real point of this, to me, as a great economic exercise, is to note that the real important thing that makes all this possible is the creation of wealth. Now, alongside that, I have an interesting story that cleared yesterday from, of all places, the San Francisco Chronicle, and it is a piece by Jim Klauder, who is a vice president for the Foundation for Teaching Economics, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving economic understanding amongst the peoples of the world, and listen to some of this. Here’s the headline to the story: “Ignorance Shrouds Capitalism’s Profound Impact on Reducing Poverty ? It should come as heartening news that 2004 was one of the most prosperous years in history. Not because the U.S. economy grew by a solid 4.3%, but because developing countries experienced an explosive 6.1% economic growth. According to a recent study by the World Bank, 2004’s growth reflected ‘an expansion without precedent over the past 30 years.’ Equally encouraging, the report notes that ‘the rapid growth of developing economies … has produced a spectacular, if not historic, fall in poverty.’
“Amazingly, the World Bank report did not get much coverage in our mainstream media. It seems the press was more interested in covering the evils of globalization than in taking notice of how world trade — which grew by an astounding 10.2% this year,” last year, actually, “is driving economic growth.” Now, “When Americans do hear about the World Bank, it’s usually because an unruly mob is protesting against it. The protesters are long on rhetoric but short on facts. But it’s not just protesters who are misguided. Many of our nation’s teachers also don’t realize why poverty in developing countries is declining at such a rapid rate.” It’s not because of the redistribution of wealth. It’s because of the redistribution of resources and the redistribution of capitalism, something I have long advocated on this program. We don’t need any more wealth redistribution. We need a more widespread distribution of capitalism, and it’s happening. “Far too often,” Mr. Klauder writes, “teachers are uneasy when they realize that free markets are the best way to help those in poverty.”
Now, we could assume for the sake of this discussion that poverty has descended upon the surviving victims of the tsunami area, correct? All right, so what’s the best way to help these people back on their feet? It’s not the redistribution of wealth. Sure there needs to be some disaster relief, but some of this money could arguably be better spent in helping these nations affected rebuild their economies and get them going again — and as such, I found it appalling — I must admit this — I found it appalling that people were shocked that two days after the tsunami, people were out on these new beaches sun bathing. Why the hell not? The tourism business and the travel and leisure business in parts of these countries were hard hit. It’s not the biggest industry they have but it’s still a big industry and if people were already coming back and flocking and some of them willing to pay and go sunbathe and sleep on the beach or whatever, fine, so what? I saw the headline, “Sun Bathing in Hell,” it said on the Drudge Report and that was about people just couldn’t believe this. But what are we supposed to do? What are people supposed to sit around and mourn for how many months or weeks or day before they go back to living their lives?
“Maybe they should be out helping the relief effort instead of getting out there and soaking up the rays and so forth?” but I’ll guarantee you, at the root of it was economics — and, again, economics woefully taught, ineptly taught. And so we find here that the distribution of capitalism around the world is having a profound effect on the reduction of poverty. “At the Foundation for Teaching Economics, we’ve been demonstrating…” This is Mr. Klauder writing. “…been demonstrating the importance of free markets when we conduct professional development seminars for teachers around the country. We provide teachers with information and curriculum materials that address the question, ‘Is capitalism good for the poor?'” You might be saying, “Huh?” Yeah, that’s how bad it’s gotten. This has become a seminar for teachers. They have to be taught themselves that capitalism is good for the poor because they think it’s bad. They think capitalism is bad. It’s like the left’s definition of trickle-down economics. The left defines trickle-down economics as the rich leaving their homes, going to the park, robbing the homeless of what they have, and getting even richer.
I know it makes no sense, but that’s how they argue it. They argue that rich people become rich because they steal from the poor or they deprive the poor of their “fair share” or what have you. It’s bogus. It’s outrageous. It’s stupid. The poor get out of poverty by virtue of capitalism and opportunity: the creation of wealth, and that’s why. You know, people — Michael Barone has a great piece in the latest, I think it’s U.S. News, compares how Clinton and Hillary failed with their health care reform in ’93 and ‘4 but that Bush might succeed with Social Security reform, and the reason for the difference is that the country was in no way interested in nationalized medicine. The country in no way wanted to nationalize one-seventh of this economy and put it under the control of the Clintons or any other government bureaucrats. But, if you look at the direction our culture and society are moving, this is an investment society; it is an ownership society, that we are more in tune now with the possibility of private investment accounts for Social Security than we were for national health care. He thinks it may have a greater chance of passage than anybody is giving it credit for, simply because the direction our culture is going. This culture, if spread to the rest of the world, would be the greatest thing that could happen for the people of the rest of the world.