Home of the Brave!

I believe in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. I do not believe in the Land of Government Control and the Home of the Fearful. I am over 60, so I would be considered “at risk” from this virus, but I would rather die than sacrifice the freedom of my grandchildren and their children for my own well-being.

Freedom gives us choice. Choice makes life happy, fun, prosperous and interesting. It does not always work out even and it is not always fair. But Government control is never fair. It plays to the panderer and panders to (but doesn’t deliver for) the needy. It favors the government worker and the lobbyist. It makes the rest of us trapped in a life of being miserable and poor, conforming to the mold designed by unimaginative committees, where the laws of the land are so many and so complex that they often overlap and are all subject to legal interpretation, and require attorneys to decipher them.

Freedom makes us the land of opportunity, where anything is possible and people are rewarded for their good work. Government control makes us the land of the need, where people get a perverse incentive to be needy.

It was about the year 2004 when I realized that a something horrible had occurred. Before 2004, I believed that the government worked for us, the people. Now, for a number of reasons, I believe that the roles have been reversed — somehow we now work for the government. And the rules have changed. Instead of everyone working under the same rules, the government is somehow not expected to live under the same rules as force us to live under. While we get a bankrupt social security system, government workers get guaranteed pensions. While most of us send our children to government controlled public schools, a disproportionate number of government employees send their children to private schools. While we create value, the average government bureaucrat tells us what we cannot do and gets paid more. A government bureaucrat works shorter weeks, gets more benefits and more vacation days than the private earner/taxpayer does. When the virus hit, we had to halt construction, while all government buildings proceeded as planned. We lost 36 million private sector jobs while nearly every government employee kept their job, and continued to be paid, even if they were no longer expected to work.

The end of this virus gives us two paths, one dystopian, one utopian. The dystopian path is the path toward government control, where the 36 million newly unemployed Americans now become a permanent needy class with ongoing support from the taxpayer, whose burden amounts to about 50% of the GDP (50 years ago it was about half that). The utopian path is a path for freedom, where people are given the right to try new things and create and build real-value with real private-sector employment, but without being immediately halted by having overbearing impositions by the SEC, the FDA, the FCC, the SBA, the EPA, the building codes, the fire codes, the import-export restrictions, etc. etc. etc.

Government control, whether it is called Socialism, Communism or Fascism has never worked in the history of the world. It invariably leads to extreme poverty, a miserable environment, and unfair favoritism. Freedom has worked for the USA for more than 200 years. It isn’t perfect, but it is much fairer. To once again become a free country, we have to be brave, we have to be bold and we have to have faith in our people.

I suggest, to rise out of this impending depression, that we Americans reduce regulations and let 360 million flowers bloom. And let’s give government workers a financial incentive to encourage growth, like tying their pay increases to GDP growth rather than CPI. Send a strong message of freedom to the other countries of the world. Allow the gig economy to thrive without forcing employers to provide every benefit government can think of. Allow people to hire below the minimum wage for young people, so they can get to that first rung of the ladder and build experience in the working world. Allow the new technologies like stem cells, cloning, cryptocurrencies, airdrops, drones, experimental drugs, private exchanges and whatever else brilliant entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists come up with to proceed unimpeded unless or until they prove truly dangerous to the general population. Allow the construction of new buildings without the burden of years of regulatory hold up. And allow people to take chances (and be at their own risk) — with their careers, with their money, with their lives — without the burden of rules that were created for different people during different times. Why, for example can a millionaire invest in a private company to hope to make him/herself richer, while a poorer person cannot. Does the government believe that it can make better decisions for the poorer person than he/she him/herself can?

Let’s stop delegating the responsibility for everything that could go wrong to our government. Let’s make the laws clear and simple for all to know and understand. Let’s take responsibility for our own individual actions. Let’s be brave, and let’s make this a free country again.

Tim Draper is a venture capitalist and author of How to be The Startup Hero