• 63°

Cal Thomas: 7 habits of highly ineffective government

Stephen Covey, the management guru who died this week, would have had a hard time selling his books in Benjamin Franklin’s America, or Abe Lincoln’s. His best seller “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” would have been considered a self-evident truth, one drummed into earlier Americans by schools, churches and the Puritan ethic.
Today, Covey’s thoughts about how to become a success by applying principles with a proven track record seem innovative and cutting edge. His work is a rebuke to the notion that government can do it all for you.
Contrast Covey’s ethic with what President Obama said during a campaign stop in Roanoke, Va., last Friday: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” He mentioned roads and bridges as examples.
Did he mean we should thank government for the structures because without them we might not be able to travel to a job interview, or to work? The subplot in the president’s campaign remarks seems to be that none of us can make it without government.
So what happens to those who do manage to succeed on their own?
Are they to be taxed and regulated to death as a lesson to other upstarts?
As I read the president’s remarks, I thought of those in my life who have helped me. My parents, of course; they remained married and taught me about thrift, paying bills on time and personal responsibility. There were also high school and college teachers who inspired me.
Journalistic mentors included David Brinkley, Frank McGee and Sander Vanocur. These accomplished broadcast journalists started small and seemed to succeed without much, if any, government help. Many of their generation benefited from the GI Bill, a government-funded resource that helped pay for college for returning World War II veterans. But unlike most government aid programs, the GI Bill assisted initiative, it didn’t replace it.
Later, a newspaper publisher — Tom Johnson — opened the door for me as a columnist. He didn’t sell it. I sold it by visiting scores of newspaper editors around the country, telling conservative audiences to subscribe to the paper when it started carrying me. That would fit under Stephen Covey’s number one principle: be proactive.
A financial adviser helped me make good investments so I can take care of my wife and myself should I ever decide to retire (liberals, don’t hold your breath). It was money I earned, not money government gave me.
Government that is too large and controlling stifles ambition and initiative by penalizing success.
As the Obama campaign attacks Mitt Romney’s business success — and by association all who have succeeded or wish to succeed — Romney should turn the tables and attack seven principles that have made government highly ineffective.
They are:
1. High taxes. High taxes rob the productive and discourage innovation.
2. Too many regulations. Overregulation inhibits private industry from performing up to its potential.
3. Overspending. When an individual is in debt, he or she aims to spend less until the family budget is in balance. When government spends more than it takes in, it creates an addiction and burdens current and future citizens. Politicians won’t tell anyone “no,” so government keeps spending.
4. Foreign adventures. We cannot afford to go everywhere in hopes of promoting liberty. We should only send troops where our interests are clearly defined and an achievable outcome is likely. Countries receiving military assistance must help pay the bill.
5. Bureaucracy. There are too many people working for government. Many agencies and programs are unnecessary.
6. Health care. Government can’t make you healthy. Obamacare will not only cost more, but will reduce the quality and availability of good health care, as in the UK. A private-sector solution is preferable.
7. Ignoring the Constitution. The best habit the American government could practice is a return to the principles of that great document that set boundaries for government and removed them for its citizens.
Inspiration and perspiration are habits that usually lead to success. Government’s bad habits produce unending debt and stifle private-sector job creation. That’s the counterargument to these bad habits.
• • •
Cal Thomas writes for Tribune Media Services. Contact him at tmseditors@tribune.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Man faces charges in juvenile’s shooting on West Bank Street

Education

RSS gets clean audit, firm says no misappropriations of school funds

News

Rowan County recalibrates plans for Woodleaf Community Park after missing out on grant funding

News

NC NAACP elects first woman as president; Salisbury’s Black finishes third

Coronavirus

FDA OKs Pfizer vaccine for young kids

News

State news roundup: Davidson County parents charged in abuse of 6-week-old

Coronavirus

COVID spread down substantially in North Carolina, state data shows

Sports

ACC eyes new headquarters options outside Greensboro

Local

Rabid raccoon break-in forces Dan Nicholas Park staff to euthanize three animals

Business

Real estate agent takes advantage of hot High Rock Lake market, earns award for $10 million in transactions

High School

High school girls golf: Mustangs finish 4th in 3A state tournament

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office will hold fundraisers, grow beards to help Marsh family

Crime

Blotter: Four charged with contributing to neglect of minor

Business

Umami Downtown aims to bring bold flavors to Main Street

Education

RSS Board of Education discusses latest draft of school justice partnership

China Grove

Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council

Crime

Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing father

High School

High school football: Freeman a surprise weapon for Hornets

News

North Carolina’s $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations

Education

RSS makes masks optional, plans to revisit decision in November

Elections

Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly GOP host U.S. Senate forum in Gold Hill for registered Republicans only

Crime

Juvenile shot Saturday expected to make full recovery

Crime

Blotter: Homeless man jailed after throwing rocks through woman’s front door

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan County elections supervisor speaks out after debate to replace him