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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Date:  November 1, 2008
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Voting for the wealth creation America needs
By John Clema

An American native’s perspectives on keeping the American Dream alive.

Forty years ago, the United States was a superpower, a country both revered and feared. Today, its own citizens and politicians, and people around the world, question America’s well-being, resolve and belief in itself.

I suspect the change has been gradual, the result of subtle shifts – imperceptible to average citizens who are too close to the situation to see the big picture.

Perhaps attitudes would be different if everyone could take a step back and, through the filter of history, look at what made America the great nation it once was … and compare that with our country today. People would insist that we rethink our current direction and plans.

My philosophies and opinions were shaped in America’s Heartland, where I grew up. But for the last forty years my professional journey kept me overseas. I heard and discussed other countries’ perceptions of America and, now that I’ve returned – intent on investing in my homeland – I see these changes. I’ve become a stranger in a strange land.

Washington wants foreign money to come back to America – and America badly needs the economic boost. Yet, the roadblocks to wealth creation are myriad.

I’ve spent the last several months nosing about in coffee shops, bookstores, bars and malls throughout the West and Midwest. I’ve conversed with Americans from diverse ethnicities and ideologies. I’ve watched the television news intently and followed the election process.

With the view of an outsider and the concern of a citizen, I am shocked at what I’ve learned. I fear the whole country is going the way of California.

California has a plethora of wealth-creating resources, yet it is hopelessly in debt. It develops little that is new. It depends on other states for electricity and motor fuels, though it is blessed with resources to provide both.

Despite the costs this imposes on small businesses and poor families, it refuses to budge on the policies that got it into this mess.

In the old days, we were taught the principles of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. We understood the basic premise that there are two kinds of work: productive and nonproductive. New wealth comes from productive work. Nonproductive work depends on that new wealth.

Mining ores and energy creates new wealth. Selling, shipping and processing Earth’s bounties are part of that effort, and thus also create new wealth and jobs. So does manufacturing, and the sale and transport of finished products. Agriculture, forest products and fishing do likewise.

All other jobs depend on this productive, wealth-creating sector. Government jobs that help regulate are necessary, but unproductive in a fundamental economic sense. The problem comes when the two are out of balance.

America used to be a “can do” nation, where individuals were encouraged to create wealth. We became the wealthiest, most creative and innovative nation on Earth.

Today, government regulators have erected such mammoth roadblocks that we have countless nonproductive jobs whose sole task is saying, “Do not.” The balance has shifted to the nonproductive side. Wealth creation is stifled.

The negative effects this imposes on our nation’s economy has brought us where we are.

Government has become too big, too unhelpful. It has too much power over citizens. Encouraged by false and inaccurate news stories, activist campaigns and pseudo-documentaries, like Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth,” bureaucrats regulate, litigate, excoriate and tax into oblivion vast supplies of essential resources.

They force us to import substitutes, sending American wealth and jobs overseas.

Companies and individuals who want to create basic wealth are stigmatized as polluters, and forced to prove the impossible: that they can find and develop natural resources without impacting the land.

Wind and solar power and ethanol have huge impacts on habitats. Yet, they are exempted from comprehensive environmental studies and other rules. They require vast quantities of steel, concrete, water and other materials. But producing many of those materials in America is forbidden, so they too are imported, and the overseas environmental impacts are ignored.

America’s once vibrant free market is hobbled. Government control is expanding.

Overseas, people see this as a ploy to get unproven, uneconomic “alternative energy” systems operating at the expense of existing, effective systems. They see government tax, subsidy and regulatory authority used to prop up politically popular schemes, at the expense of our nation’s energy reliability, economic vitality, competitiveness and jobs.

Energy, food and product prices soar. Still more nonproductive regulatory jobs not only do not create new wealth; they hinder production and stifle revenue generation.

Far too many politicians and bureaucrats want to take from those who have prospered, and “spread the wealth around.” They print more money and IOUs, rather than encouraging production.

Troubled by America’s dominance on the world stage, they aim to knock us down a peg, and revel in our economic crisis – refusing to recognize that a failing US economy hurts our poor and downtrodden the most, and impacts poor families in poor countries even more.

Can anything be done to turn it around? Fellow citizens, you have a choice this election.

How you vote will determine how much more of your hard-earned money is taken from you and given to the nonproductive. How much more our nation’s overall wealth declines. Whether politicians will “spread your wealth around,” or grow America’s economic pie – and ensure that more people have a shot at success, by reducing unnecessary roadblocks, taxes, costs and lawsuits that stifle progress, opportunity and prosperity.

I am watching and waiting – keeping my wealth in my pockets. I would love to invest here in the land I love. But it may be better for me, America and the global community if I take it back to where it came from. The next few days will help me decide.

Guest Author


John Clema is a geologic consultant with extensive worldwide experience, particularly in Southeast Asia and Australia. He discovered several major mineral deposits, is the first white man to enter the Star Mountains of Papua New Guinea, and was made an honorary member of an aboriginal tribe in that area.

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