Editor’s Note: SILC is delighted to publish the following Letter to the Editor regarding our year-end blog post entitled “A Little Optimism For The Upcoming Decade.” That post is available online, immediately below this post, at silcmedia.blogspot.com.
Apparently, we have a debate on our hands! What do you think? You are welcome to join the conversation by simply replying to this message and sharing your thoughts with us.
Of course, you are also welcome to attend our Annual Conference on May 14, 2020 in midtown Manhattan. We look forward to seeing you there!
In an otherwise fine blog post (A Little Optimism) Dr. Kraten falls into a popular trap, applauding the intervention of the heavy hand of government "But they would not remain a purely voluntary framework for long!". (Exclamation point in the original!). All nations, those enjoying a free market economy and those not, have learned that government's track record barely reaches 50% in making the lives of their citizens better and not worse. Underlying the philosophy of SILC is the notion that voluntary activities by business entities, non-profits and communities should strive to solve society's problems and invite governmental aid only where those activities fall short. Given the proven productivity of the business community and the often dismal effects of government programs, this history should be recognized rather than ignored.
A second trap, but not in our bailiwick, is the oft-repeated complaint about "wealth inequality". This datum is almost always misrepresented but is far less important than the improvements among the working poor in the past decade. If a family's net disposable income has improved from, let's say $52,000 per year to $66,000 per year (after adjusting for inflation), that family is far less concerned about what the top 1% is earning (which is also part of the cause of widespread prosperity) than having a few bucks for a vacation or new sofa for the first time.
Stanley Goldstein, CPA