One of the newer demographic shifts we are seeing in American society is the Millennial Generation’s deep-seated desire to be “Master’s of their Own Fate”, and the “Captain’s of their Own Soul”.

According to a report by The Center for Generational Kinetics, this generation has far more hunger for the entrepreneurial lifestyle than the Baby Boom generation had. The Millennial generation embraces the idea of enhancing personal freedom while building their life/work/careers.

At this juncture, the high costs of education and health care are emerging as economic barriers to the pursuit of “personal freedom”. The rhetoric of “free” health care and college by some of the American leadership has heightened interest in having the government pay for these items in our lives.

A very loud stratum of American leadership is trying to convince voters that they can have both personal freedom and Big Government management in our lives. Their mantra seems to be “Give me your rights and I will take care of your responsibilities”. It a siren song that has been repudiated time after time throughout history-recently in the Soviet bloc and Cuba, and this very day in Socialist Venezuela.  Supporting this socialistic idealogy, the Democratic Presidential debates are touting ideas like Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” and the Basic Income Guarantee. The only guarantee is that this “free money” only becomes available by taking it through force of taxation from those who created the wealth with the exercise of their own talents and skills in our capitalistic economic system.

Worse yet, if this “free money” becomes available, it will run out quickly. Antony Davies, Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Freedom notes,   “The United States has about 550 billionaires with a combined wealth of $2.5 trillion dollars. If we were to confiscate 100% of their wealth, we’d only raise enough money to fund the federal government for less than 8 months, and that’s before forgiving student loan debt, providing free health care for illegal immigrants, making college free for all, etc. No matter how the government collects the taxes-sales tax, income tax, real estate taxes, DMV, etc, the sourcing path always leads back to you and me, the consumer. Every dollar for “free stuff” is found in the consumer’s pocket. As the money leaves the consumer’s wallet,  so does the consumer’s freedom to invest, donate, or spend on their families’ needs”.

The temptation is to forget that anything that is “free” for one person requires another person to give up their “freedom” unless the service or product is voluntarily given. Government is not a volunteer taxing authority-it can only provide “free” services under the threat of force- collecting tax dollars from some citizens to distribute the “free services” to others.

We must recognize that our natural desires for freedom are diametrically opposed to an increased role of Government in our lives. Personal freedom demands that we assume full responsibility for our families, businesses, and communities.

Originally published in the Faribault Daily News August 2019