America risks ‘bailing out’ of its freedoms

Published 9:56 pm Friday, September 25, 2009

Around 1930, my father was collecting payments on his furniture route in South Suffolk when he was told by one of his customers that a young boy was huddled under Booker T. Washington High School and could not be coaxed out.

My father crawled underneath the school, where he found a frightened, frail, blond-headed teenager. With gentle persuasion, Dad led him out. My parents took the boy in to live with them for two years.

At first, he could not speak English. Over time, Mom and Dad learned that he was from Germany, where he had stowed away on a ship bound for America. The ship had docked in Norfolk, and somehow he had ended up underneath the school. After he had learned enough English, the boy had struck out on his own.

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Why would a young boy leave family, home and country and make such a desperate trip to America? In the 1930s, hyperinflation gripped Germany, and a charismatic radical named Adoph Hitler was coming into prominence.

I’m not sure of this, but I choose to believe the promise of a better life and the freedoms Americans enjoy drew the boy to our shores.

I worry today about the erosion of freedom we have experienced in America. In time, Washington’s wasteful spending and higher taxes will stymie entrepreneurial spirit and the dreams of millions. Our economic freedom and the right to succeed will be hindered in the name of fairness.

Millions of hard-working people who are striving for a better life will find their opportunity to do so severely limited by the ever-expanding reach of government. With our right to succeed also comes a right to fail. Our government should not and cannot bail out every poorly run corporation or individual that has made a bad decision. What happened to personal responsibility?

On our present course, we will burden our children and grandchildren with high taxes and a country mired in debt. Do we love our children? If so, let us give them an America where opportunity abounds, where they can reach for the stars and fulfill their dreams.

Our individual rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are given to us by God, our creator, and they should not be diminished, hindered or set aside by anyone or anything.

When I tell the story about the young German boy, people always ask, “Did your parents ever hear from the young man?” Sometime in the 1960s, he visited my mother. He was a successful businessman, married with children.

I am not at all surprised that someone with the courage, will and dreams of this young boy could do nothing but succeed.