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It's A Gray Area: Canada has the right idea

July 17, 2010|James P. Gray

This past weekend I joined about 2,000 other people at a convention called Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. In many ways it was intensely discouraging. In many other even more important ways, it was encouraging and exhilarating.

The discouraging part dealt with our present economy and the forecasts for the immediate future. Many seemingly knowledgeable people stated forcibly that we cannot have a sustainable economic recovery with such large government spending and deficits and no gain in job creation. At the moment, our government spending is at the rate of about 39% of the gross national product. In addition, this year we are running a deficit of about $1.35 trillion, with estimates that next year it will be three to four times that number.

Simply stated, this government spending will put our economy and probably the world into a depression.

As a result, I came home and sold all of my mutual funds. At the moment they are not a good investment. Our own government underscores that fact, because it is making it increasingly difficult to move our assets out of the country. For decades we looked with disapproval at the governments of Third World countries that had adopted regulations punishing people for moving their assets abroad, but now our government is doing the very same thing. Most discouraging!

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Furthermore, we heard that our government is trying to convert our nation's financial advisors and securities brokers into policemen. Under the so-called Patriot Act, which has been heartily embraced by the Obama administration, it is a crime for financial counselors to see something in our financial patterns that "even appears suspicious" without reporting it to the federal authorities. And, according to many of the counselors, this has little to do with terrorism or even drug money laundering, and instead it simply has to do with possible avoidance of taxes. This is the depth to which our government now has fallen.

So in the face of all of this reality, how could I emerge optimistic? Because it was reaffirmed, again and again, that freedom works! The free enterprise system, buttressed by private property rights, a fair and just judicial system for all, and a smaller, less intrusive, and less expensive government, can and will bring us out of these problems! These are what have made our country strong and great throughout our history, and they will do it again!

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