In a world in which experience and reality drove political decisions on the economy, the claims made in the recent op-ed by Sen. John Kyl would be considered too obvious to warrant publication. Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world, which is why it’s important to have politicians willing to point out the obvious:
At a fundamental level, reducing poverty requires policies that reward hard work and merit. People are more successful and industrious when they get to keep more of the fruits of their labor. Their prosperity flows to others when they open businesses, create jobs, develop new products, compete for workers, raise wages and invest profits with younger entrepreneurs.
If government simply pre-determines these outcomes via excessive regulation and a repressive tax code, there are no incentives left to compete, grow the economy and create jobs for others. Indeed, the first American immigrants left just these types of stagnant societies in order to earn merit-based rewards on a new continent.
Raising individuals out of poverty is a moral goal best achieved through the opportunities that can be offered only by a free-enterprise economy — the opportunity to pursue wealth and happiness on one’s own terms, the opportunity to start a small business without oppressive red tape, and the opportunity to succeed.