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Bill Butcher, Bismarck, Published March 16 2013

Letter: Capitalism the best economic system to stimulate prosperity

There are those who advocate redistribution of wealth so that the rich, the poor and the middle class all have financial equity. What if that actually happened and all domestic wealth in our nation was somehow distributed equally among our citizens? How would that play out?

My best guess is that within about an hour or so, there would be quite a number who would make bad lifestyle decisions or simply do something stupid so as to squander their money away. Someone else would then acquire their assets and hence the rich, the poor and a middle class would emerge. That is how capitalism works.

I don’t have a lot of money, but I have enough to hire people to do snow removal, paint my house and deal with other needs. I can do that because those who have more money than me hire me to do work for them. Others, maybe an individual or a corporation, hire them, and so it goes.

My wife and I recently visited friends in an upscale Los Angeles area: a retired FBI agent, his wife, and their adult children all of whom are well placed in federal law enforcement except for one very solvent financial consultant. All of them have adopted illegal aliens as workers and extended family members without apology. So not North Dakota, and that gives considerable pause for thought.

We saw opulence as we enjoyed Thousand Oaks, Malibu and Santa Barbara, and there was no evidence that California is destitute – absolutely hopelessly broke. Wealth was visibly rampant. There were no poor people in sight; well maybe the hundreds of people picking strawberries everywhere we looked in huge fields – illegal immigrants, no doubt – but we didn’t talk to any of them even when we bought a large flat of fresh-picked and absolutely delicious strawberries at a roadside stand.

We spent a day at the Getty Museum. The first paragraph of J. Paul Getty’s autobiography reads:

“You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the Brotherhood of Man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

If we did not have a capitalistic society, where would we be? How would society function? Would our economy not collapse? Communism (redistribution of wealth) has not turned out so well historically. Socialism is sinking European economies. I vote for capitalism and less governmental intrusion into our lives.

Butcher owns and operates W.T. Butcher & Associates Ltd., a private investigations company.