In recent years, Americans have become acquainted with a new type of culture: one that rewards failure instead of success. It’s easy to question whether economic, professional and personal success still is something worth striving for in today’s America.
Why? Let’s rewind a few years. During the last Republican administration, the banks decided to go hat-in-hand to the government pleading to be rescued from their own collapse. Republicans and Democrats alike, perhaps for different reasons, decided to go along with it and throw some money on the problem to make it go away. Banks which actually might have had their balance sheets in order were left wondering why they had bothered to do so in the first place.
It didn’t end there.
Previously majestic American car manufacturers were having issues competing with their foreign competitors. Market shares in the United States for the Old Three had dropped from 70% in 1998 to about 50% in 2008 and making cars had become a losing venture. While companies like Honda and Nissan were making money on producing cars back in 2008, the Old Three were making losses between $500 and $1500 per vehicle.
Like kids attracted to candy, struggling car manufacturers decided to go to the government in order to help ease their pain. And yet again, the government acquiesced to their request and bailed out failure (or if you so please, the UAW).
Meanwhile in the political sphere, politicians in Congress have failed to pass a budget since the 29th of April 2009, without having to face any consequences because of it. President Obama, and his Democratic allies, decided to wage a war of jealousy against those who have been successful, demanding that taxes are raised on “millionaires and billionaires”.
Why? Because their wealth is needed in order to, temporarily at least, continue the current level of government spending. Tragically enough, government spending do little to actually aid success and instead contribute to lock people into a culture of dependency from which it is hard to escape. Of course, that matters little to those who are determined to punish the success of others in a fight for “fairness”.
The culture of rewarding failure has become a part of Washington D.C., the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party (although the Republicans seem slightly more sober than their Democratic counterparts). According to various polls, a large proportion of Americans seem fairly comfortable with the idea of rewarding a failed administration with four more years. That, if nothing else, shows how far on the path to becoming another Europe that America really is.
Of course, all hope is not lost. The Republicans have chosen a successful businessman, governor, and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics as their candidate to stand against a failed administration. The contrast between success and failure could hardly be clearer.
Thomas can be found on Twitter as @ThomasRatPol