Today there is lots of conversation over the governments healthcare program, known as Obamacare. The government has been doing programs like this for years and a few can be traced back to the mid 1800’s. A few were successful, most were failures and almost all have run their course but still are on the books. One of the biggest government giveaways was the Homestead Act. Million of acres was available for those who would put forth some effort and settle in what was perceived as a desert.
The other big land give away was the Pacific Railroad act. This one made big money for a few moneyed people in the 1860’s and is still paying big dividends to the railroads today. A railroad has more power then most cities and towns. It also gave big chunks of land to the barons of the rail. Today the Union Pacific Railroad makes more money off their land holdings and mineral rights from these government giveaways.
It was the governments way of promoting businesses to build things, dangle the carrot out there and watch people chase the money. It became a practice that is still going on today but so few were successful. When a program fails, it tends to stay on the books and other ones crawl out of the woodwork to fix the goofy ones.
Yet behind all these programs is big money. The financial money bags tend to rake in big bucks. Recently it was reported that some financial company executives had annual incomes of over 2 billion dollars a year. These are not investors, manufacturers, they are speculators, gamblers. When they hit big….. it is big….. when they fail, they drag others down with them.
This is what happened to the railroad speculators in the mid 1800’s. Numerous railroad companies were formed to get money, in various ways but only a few actually built a railroad of any type. They got big money though and there were all types of scandals.
Hundreds of people hitch their dreams only to see them die in the swarm of speculation and greed. Railroads advertised land along their route as being great farm land and people traveled out west to settle on the dream of a new life. Sweat was spent building a life and a few years later the dream was a figment because of failed government policies and greed. Crop prices had soared through the roof, people farmed more land, financed more property to chase the dollar of big prices on crops, All based on government houses of cards and fueled by greed.
In 1929 the market crashed. Fortunes were lost and farm prices fell right along with the market. Behind all this was the money people and poor government policy. The big money markets had speculated and lost. Resulting in lots of other people becoming losers. Greed fueled most of the speculation, individuals get big money and the government gets more money.
Where was common sense, probably on a tropical vacation dreaming of…………..?
When I look back at the bad times, I see government intrusion as being the primary culprit and greed being a motivating factor. Government interference in the economy has been a failure over the centuries but it is not taught that way in the colleges.
Then the little thing, how we all want just a bit more money. Greed is a big times culprit.
Now the big question…… How to get big brother back in his hi chair and out of lives. The roles of various government levels in not well defined and is understood even less by most people.