The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Obama's words of sacrifice vague


July 9, 2009

I don’t know what President Obama means when he says “We must all expect to sacrifice during these times.” But never mind the details. Does he want to enact laws that force us to sacrifice? Is that his job?

What exactly does the president consider a sacrifice? Does reducing our standard of living amount to a sacrifice? Even if it brings one peace of mind or eventual greater prosperity?

Or does a sacrifice mean suffering net losses with no gains at all? So we must expect to get worse and worse off from now on? Why?

Even if in the recent past the various pubic policies and some private imprudence have produced the need to cut back on most Americans’ standard of living, does this cutback amount to some good in itself so we must all seek it and make it permanent? Why?

In most eras of human history the vast majority of people were dirt poor, died early, lived rather unhappy lives, carried forth mainly because of promises they’d get into heaven after their bum ride. It is doubtful that without this belief they would have accepted their lot. Many did not and tried to rebel against those they blamed for keeping them poor and unhappy.

In time, in various places, ways of organizing wealth and work were identified that promised to improve matters for nearly everyone. Still, for the past few centuries the welfare of the large majority of human beings on Earth has experienced significant improvement.

That was one result of taking to heart the teachings of Adam Smith whose book, “The Wealth of Nations”


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