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Archive for July 4th, 2022

One of America’s best presidents, Calvin Coolidge, had a great explanation of Independence Day. But this video from Kite and Key also is worth watching.

There is a lot of material covered in the video.

For instance, the main takeaway is that the United States is uniquely individualistic, which I view as a very valuable form of societal capital (another great president shared that perspective).

Compared to most other nations, we still believe in self-reliance and individual responsibility.

Indeed, there’s even evidence that the people with those values were most likely to emigrate to the United States.

And our superior level of societal capital is related to our lower burden of government, which is related to our higher living standards.

There are other points from the video that merit attention.

We’re told that Americans work more hours than people in other developed nations. That’s generally true, though it almost certainly has something to do with the heavier tax burden on labor in Europe.

Now I’m going to quibble with a few of the points in the video.

We’re told, for instance, that Americans enjoy higher income but don’t get goodies from the government such as paid parental leave.

What should have been noted, though, is that we’re richer in part because we don’t have such programs.

Likewise, the U.S. is probably the leader in developing new drugs and medical technologies in part because we don’t have government-run health care (though, given the pervasive role of Medicare, Medicaid, and the healthcare exclusion, it’s not clear whether the U.S. actually has a more market-oriented health system than many European nations).

The video points out that Americans have low voting rates. But why is that a bad thing? I like the idea of having government playing such a small role in people’s lives that many of them figure it’s not important to vote.

Maybe that’s the reason that voting rates are so low in Switzerland, which arguably is the world’s best-governed (meaning least-governed) country.

Last but not least, the video points out that the United States spends less than other nations on redistribution, relative to economic output. That’s true. But because per-capita economic output is much higher in America, per-person spending by government often is depressingly high. If you doubt me, check out these numbers for health and education.

P.S. Since it is Independence Day, this t-shirt is a reminder of the proper definition of patriotism.

P.P.S. I don’t want my left-leaning friends to feel neglected on this special day, so here’s a Declaration of Dependence to make them feel comfortable. Speaking of Dependence Day, here’s some satire from Babylon Bee.

P.P.P.S. And here’s something for my Republican friends.

P.P.P.S. A few years ago, I noted that red tape makes it more expensive to celebrate Independence Day.

The bad news is that inflation is now adding to the burdens caused by government.

Gee, thanks Federal Reserve.

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