Dennis Campbell
July 23, 2007
A perfect story of Marxism vs. the free market
By Dennis Campbell

One of the most dramatic and graphic illustrations of the difference in the abundance provided by a free-market economy and the deprivation imposed by a Marxist government had its moment in the national consciousness several weeks ago.

It was in a few paragraphs of a widely-reported news story, one of those here-today, gone-tomorrow reports that focused on Polish railway worker Jan Grzebska's awakening from a 19-year coma, while the real lesson was given all too little prominence.

While news accounts were primarily concerned with his recovery (USA Today ran it in the "offbeat news" section), the important story was revealed in Grzebska's description of the Poland he awoke to, contrasted with the Poland he lived in at the time of his railroad accident.

In 1988, Poland suffered under communism. In all communist economies, food shortages are common and what is available is of poor quality. Houses and apartments are shoddy and in short supply. Scarcity is the rule and everyone is accustomed to doing without except, of course, for the ruling elites of the Party.

Grzebski awoke from his coma to find a bewildering abundance of goods and a country transformed from the drabness of communism into the bright colors of a free market.

"He was so amazed to see the colorful streets, the goods," his wife, Gertruda, said. "He says the world is prettier now."

Added Mr. Grzebski, "When I went into a coma there was only tea and vinegar in the shops, meat was rationed and huge petrol queues were everywhere." Remember long waits for gasoline under President Jimmy Carter?

When Poland freed itself from the shackles of communism, the country's economy was in disarray, the government nearly bankrupt. In the second half of 1989, inflation was at a staggering 2,000 percent.

Following its conversion to a free-market economy, Poland has experienced rapid growth, with the attendant increase in goods and services.

By following classic free-market principles limited government, privatization, market-driven prices Poland's economy has grown more than five percent annually.

Poland is not the only former member of the old Soviet Bloc to embrace free-market economics and reap the accompanying benefits.

Estonia, a nation with a population not much more than the city of San Diego, likewise has transformed itself.

According to the Heritage Foundation, Estonia has used low tax rates, including an income flat tax of 23 percent, which is due to drop to 20 percent in 2009, and economic freedom to bring about its revitalization and "has been one of the most radical reformers among the former Soviet nations and has transformed itself into one of the world's most dynamic and modern economies."

While that has been going on over there, what has been happening over here? Democrats, rubbing their hands together in glee with their new political clout, are planning to slam American workers with massive tax hikes and huge increases in government spending.

The fact that government tax receipts always have increased with a reduction in taxes is a fact they seem utterly unable to grasp or perhaps they just do not care. Whether by Democrats (John F. Kennedy), or Republicans (Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush), tax cuts have meant more government revenue.

But like the master pickpocket Fagin in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Democrats simply cannot keep their hands out of our pockets and off our paychecks.

The party of the working class has no compunctions about pillaging the wages of the highly skilled blue-collar workers where I live, where oil and natural gas fuel the economy and 80- and 90-hour workweeks mean big paydays and enormous tax bites even at today's reduced rates.

It is easy to predict the impact on these hard-working people when Democrats show their love by taking even more of their earnings.

Returning to Grzebska, he made one comment that resonates with those of us aggravated by well-to-do leftist snivelers who unceasingly disparage the economic system that allows them to live in expensive townhouses and drive luxury automobiles.

"I see people on the streets with cellphones and there are so many goods in the shops it makes my head spin," he said.

"What amazes me is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and yet they never stop moaning."

Just like our pampered and spoiled elites on the left. And through their relentless efforts to undermine the abundance Americans have enjoyed from the liberty we often take for granted, instead of brie and chardonnay they may find themselves dining on tea and vinegar.

© Dennis Campbell

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

 

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