By Doug Edelman

Fans of “The Hitchhikers Guide…” will recognize the phrase, and will state that the answer is “Forty Two.”  But when considering today’s economic and political atmosphere, I have another answer.

1) The economy is NOT a zero sum game. You don’t deprive someone else by becoming successful yourself.  You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer. You improve the lot of ALL by growing the economy and increasing the size of the pie!  A rising tide lifts all boats!

2) Tax rates and revenue are NOT directly proportional!  Cutting tax RATES doesn’t COST the government in revenues! Tax Cuts INCREASE revenues.  Proven by Bush, Reagan, and Kennedy!  Reagan’s tax cuts DOUBLED revenues.

3) Deficits are a function of SPENDING, not revenues. When Reagan’s tax cuts doubled revenue, the Tip O’Neill Dem Congresses spent $1.84 for every $1 in increased revenue!  Reagan got blamed for huge deficits (which were MINISCULE compared to today’s deficits!), but he submitted BALANCED budgets.  They were famously declared “dead on arrival” by Tip O’Neill, and Congress spent itself silly!4) You can’t tax and spend your way into prosperity – especially when you’re $9 trillion (OOPS, that’s a 2-year-old figure… Current number is over $14 trillion) in debt!  Winston Churchill once observed, “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

The Rev. William J. H. Boetcker published a pamphlet in 1916 known as “The 10 Cannots.”  Often misattributed to Lincoln, these 10 statements embody a tremendous wealth of wisdom and truth:

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
WHY are Progressives so obsessive about raising their taxes? Answer:  The left REALLY DOES BELIEVE the zero sum game myth.In their view, there’s only so much sand in the sandbox.  You can’t pile up a lot of sand in one corner without depriving the rest of the sandbox.  So if you succeed beyond a certain point, you’re DEPRIVING someone, somewhere of a decent living!  FAIRNESS DEMANDS that they smooth out the sandbox!  And since it’s a “zero sum game,” by making the rich poorer, automatically and magically you improve the lot of the poor!The fact is that the economy is neither zero sum, nor is it static.  It expands or contracts based on the BEHAVIORS of the participants!  Innovation, invention, provision of needed services, advancement of knowledge, investment in new ideas, etc., all generate NEW wealth.  It is not simply a matter of shuffling around a limited money supply.  When you ENCOURAGE these activities (through lower taxes and reduced regulation and government intrusion) you UNLEASH the engine of the economy to churn and burn and heat up … and to grow and expand.  Conversely, when you hamstring the economy with overregulation, overtaxation and excessive intrusion – you put ankle weights on the runners that drive the economy and you experience contraction and slowdown.  This discourages risk taking.  This discourages business expansion and job creation.

Equal Opportunity does not guarantee equality of outcomes.  Still, whether your share is a large slice or a small slice of pie, if the economy grows, the pie gets bigger and everyone gets a bigger piece of pie!

Doug Edelman is a conservative political analyst and commentator, and has been a contributing editor for The Conservative Voice.  His work is also seen on Western Front American, Small Government Times, Western Journalism, News By Us, The American Daily, The Post Chronicle, New Media Journal, Capitol Hill Coffee House and more. Mr. Edelman is also an IT Consultant/Contractor and owner of a Computer Services Business.  He has taught PC Maintenance & Repair and Networking at his local Community College, and maintains a blog at