America – Still the Land Of Opportunity?
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their nationwide job statistics, and the results were discouraging. This monthly report functions as a type of “checkup” of the economy, as a way to monitor its health and growth. In recent months, however, the report has had a poor prognosis, with April’s release showing the lowest amount of jobs added in the last seven months. This was also paired with a large number of Americans leaving the workforce altogether. In May, the economy added only 38,000 jobs, a startlingly low number that reflects a downturn in the country’s current outlook.
This lack of job growth is bad news for America’s economy, and for U.S. Hispanics. A new video from The LIBRE Initiative discusses how Hispanics have been leaving their home countries to immigrate to America to seek opportunity and the American Dream, and to escape suffocating government control. But in recent years, excessive government regulations have made the United States start to look more and more like the countries that U.S. Latinos left behind.
Hispanics know better than anyone what happens in countries in which government exerts too much influence over the lives of their citizens. In Venezuela, socialist policies have led to soaring inflation, widespread hunger, public services being shut down, and shortages of even basic goods like toilet paper. In Cuba, human rights violations are simply a part of everyday life – political dissidents are imprisoned regularly, and free speech rights are nothing but a distant theoretical concept. Much of Latin America is fighting against government corruption. Sick of the rampant government intervention, citizens of Latin America have been making the tough decision to leave their families and home countries in search of individual and economic freedom in America.
Although limited government and free markets have made America into a land of opportunity, the ever-increasing presence of government is bankrupting America and created barriers to opportunity for its citizens. Thanks to irresponsible government spending, the federal debt is at a historically high level of over $19 trillion, and is projected to rise by another $8.8 trillion over the next decade. Taxes, put in place to fund more superfluous government programs, are only adding to the hardship of struggling working families. By pursuing these policies – by refusing to make tough spending choices, and instead borrowing more and more money – our government is hurting America. Congress needs to eliminate wasteful government spending and growing government dependency at the root, and must engage in long-term thinking and responsible decision-making.
Overspending is not the only way that government policy limits opportunity. Regulations, often created by unelected bureaucrats, are less visible but equally harmful to American prosperity. Cronyist policies such as occupational licensing impede upward mobility, and stifle the American entrepreneurial spirit in order to protect industry interest groups. Federal minimum wage proposals, often created and supported by self-interested labor unions (who then exempt themselves from their own proposal), are already causing job losses and preventing those least-skilled workers from working for a living. Unfortunately, these government policies often end up hurting those that they most want to help.
All of this is directly reflected in the current jobs situation, and the May jobs report is a signal of what is to come if we keep pursuing these types of policies. Despite this discouraging trend, it is not too late for America to once again become the land of opportunity. However, more government is not the answer – we must turn to free markets, limited government, and individual rights to lead us to increased prosperity now, and for future generations.