How to Screw Up a Good Economy in Record Time

by | Jan 18, 2022 |

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Empty shelves are now commonplace. A three-month wait for a washer and dryer if you’re lucky. There are slim pickings for trucks and cars. Construction delays while waiting for supplies. Restaurants closed or “take-out only.” Welcome to the Soviet economy, courtesy of the Socialist Democrat Party commissars now in charge of America. In past years, pictures of empty shelves in the Soviet Union contrasted the results of communism versus capitalism.

Communism produces a scarcity of products. Capitalism creates an abundance of choices.

Now we are in the clutches of Soviet-style central planners who are sure they are smart enough to run a complex economy. It’s been tried before: the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, East Germany, North Korea. The result is always the same: scarcity and misery.

Where does wealth come from?

In George Gilder’s 1981 original edition of Wealth and Poverty, he tells the story of doing social work with poor people and wondering where poverty comes from. Then he realized that poverty is like darkness, the default state of things. The more important question is… where does wealth come from?

Like light from our sun and other stars drives out darkness, the source of wealth drives out poverty. Gilder concluded that free-market capitalism is the source of wealth and abundance. It is no accident that the most prosperous country in the world is the one with the most free-market capitalist economy… the United States of America. It’s cause and effect.

Capitalism is the cause. Prosperity is the effect.

How to Screw Up a Good Economy – Pay for Nothing

Adios, American prosperity. The communist central planners are in control now. The first monkey wrench they threw into the smooth-running machine of the American economy. Pay people to stay home and do nothing.

Let’s try a simple “mind experiment.” For simplicity’s sake, let us imagine only four key sectors/workers of a national economy. 

1  Farmer produces food

2  Manufacturers make appliances, housewares, etc

3  Trucker moves stuff (food and manufactured goods) to local stores

4  Storekeeper stores and displays goods and food for sale

Pre-Covid American Store Shelves


Finally, you and I buy stuff we need from store shelves.

Now follow the sequence – Round One:

1. Pay farmers to stay home and grow nothing = less food. 2. Pay manufacturers to stay home and make nothing = fewer appliances, housewares, etc. 3. Pay truckers to stay home and transport nothing = less stuff moved to stores. 4. Pay storekeepers to stay home and put nothing on shelves = less stuff on shelves to buy.

Now let’s go around the national economy game board for Round Two:

1. More farmers discover they can get paid for staying home, so more farmers grow nothing. 2. More manufacturing workers learn that they can get paid for staying home and making nothing, so they do. 3. More truckers hear that they can get paid for staying home and transporting nothing, so they do. 4. More shop/store workers figure out that they can get paid for staying home and not stocking shelves, so they stay home and do nothing. 

Finally, you and me? Empty shelves, waiting for appliances, home construction delays. Shrinking amount of stuff to buy. Not only because of “supply chain” problems but because less stuff is being made.

Now we go to Round Three:

The farmers, manufacturers, truckers, and storekeepers are also you and me. Now they can’t get food; they have to wait for appliances; they have to wait years for their home or apartment to be built. They are us. The cycle of non-production reaches ever-diminishing returns with each month we pay people to stay home and do nothing.

The attraction of “paid to stay home” is that you can buy stuff with your pay. When more and more people are paid to stay home, there is less and less stuff to buy with your pay. If nobody makes it, you can’t buy it. 

“They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.”

This was the cynical joke among Soviet workers in the former USSR. They were well paid, but there was very little to buy in Soviet stores. Many empty shelves. Pretending to work meant pretending to make stuff. Result? No stuff on the empty shelves. 

Now Soviet Joe Biden has gone the Soviets one better. His administration actually pays people to not even pretend to work at all, just stay home. Sooner or later, this game of diminishing returns will reach the final diminishment. No work done = nothing to buy. No food, no appliances, no nothing. We will all be rolling in Biden bucks, which are worthless because there is nothing to buy with them. 

What to do? Tell your Congressman to vote to end the Covid payments to workers and businesses. Tell your Congresswoman to vote to end federal funding of unemployment payments. Tell your Senators to vote to end federal funding of welfare programs. 

When you pay people to do nothing, what do you get? Surprise, surprise, surprise! You get more and more of nothing. You can’t eat nothing—no nutrition in it. Doubt me? Try eating some dollar bills. You will discover for yourself that Biden bucks won’t sustain you.

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy is a life-long student of liberty, limited government, and free-market economics. As a young man, he taught and crewed at the Flint School aboard the 156’ two-masted schooner Te Vega sailing in Europe. Atlas Shrugged was required reading.

In 2010 he saw the acceleration of big government control in politics, business, and culture. Hoping to reach the next generation through fiction entertainment, he wrote the prophetic novel The Noah Option. Powerful politicians target brilliant black scientist Dr. Grace Washington. Her story continues in the sequel, The Rainbow Option, when powerful elites unleash a deadly virus on unsuspecting Americans, and Grace must develop a cure. In The Timshel Option, ISIS invades and creates The New England Caliphate, making women second-class citizens. One teenage girl fights back.

"The things I predicted in my novels came true in the nightly news. Our country is in trouble. Like Abraham Lincoln, I hope for a new birth of freedom,” says McCarthy.

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