French lesson for the president

The Madison County Record Dec. 10, 2011, 4:54am

To the Editor:

President Barack Obama once lectured us mere mortals that we needed to be "more European" in our outlook. We needed to learn French, he condescendingly importuned us, and "more than just merci beaucoup, too."

Well, here is a whole sentence in French that I learned a long time ago: "Laissez-nous faire." Barack, this is some French that you need to learn. And while you are at it, put down your copy of Saul Alinsky's book "Rules for Radicals" and pick up Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations." You might learn something.

"Laissez-nous faire" originated about 1680 when France's powerful Finance Minister (Obama would call him a Finance Czar, but they are really Commissars) asked leading French businessmen what the government could do for them to promote commerce and create jobs. (Sound familiar?) Their answer was: "Laissez-nous faire." This means, basically, "Leave us alone!"

Indeed, that IS the right answer to the question.

I have watched with interest the Republican presidential debates and have personally participated in a "debate" between the four Republican candidates for State Representative in the 108th District. We all get the same loaded question: "What will you do (as President or in the State Legislature) to help the economy and create jobs?" I say the question is loaded, because it implies that government must and can do something to help the economy.

Let's see how government has done so far.

The government forced banks to make loans to people who could not afford the homes they bought. The housing market was destroyed and the stock market tanked, leaving many individual savings and retirement accounts severely devalued.

Then the government tried a $750 billion "stimulus package" to create jobs. Unemployment jumped to record highs. In fact, unemployment is so high that the government counts people who are so discouraged that they are no longer even trying to get a job as no longer unemployed! (Only a government bureaucrat would come up with logic like that.) Stimulus didn't work either.

The government also tried directly investing public funds into their favored and often silly ideological industries (usually owned by their largest contributors—imagine that).

This gave us the $500 million loss to Solyndra and countless other government boondoggles. Incidentally, the government isn't in the business of "picking winners and losers" as the media tells us—they only pick losers apparently.

The long and short of all this is that government doesn't create jobs in the private sector, it destroys them.

So here is my modest suggestion for Barack's Commissars and the State Legislature hopefuls. The next time you are asked the question, "What are you going to do as a Legislator to stimulate business and create jobs," your answer should be (preferably in English): "I'm going to leave business alone." This is my answer.

"Leaving them alone" can start right away in Illinois. No new personal or corporate taxes, fees or regulations. Roll back the recent onerous midnight raid on the taxpayers' pocketbooks.

Abolish Regional Superintendents of Schools and their offices, the Illinois EPA and Pollution Control Test Centers outright. Pay the doctors and pharmacists on time. (I can find this $30 million right now: No more money for "Community Organizers" in Chicago.)

Enact real tort and medical malpractice reform. Abolish the inheritance tax, not just raise the exemptions. (This accumulated capital has already been taxed three or four times.) Streamline complicated permit procedures and stop frivolous objections for new businesses, like the ones the Sierra Club often makes. The snail darter may just have to go extinct. I know this is harsh, but better them than us.

And quit saying the 10 percent of our citizens who pay 70 percent of the taxes "aren't paying their fair share." The accumulation of capital means more money for more new factories, more goods, more jobs and a better life for everyone. It's a good thing.

If the government heeds the admonition "Laissez-nous faire," the millions of people who will find new jobs and enjoy an unprecedented economic boom will say "merci beaucoup."

It's a French lesson that could make us all prosperous.

Don Weber
Republican candidate for State Representative, 108th District

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