The Superpower had grown from a agrarian society to superpower status over only a short time. And with a victory in WWII, they carved up Europe with their soon-to be enemies. There was only one problem which, looking back, was plainly obvious. Government was spending far too much money and controlling the means of production. This meant that the will of the politicians, not the market, dictated what would be produced and what wages and salaries would be paid. And the people were losing any motivation because they could look at other countries who could buy whatever they wanted without concern for their government watching them and deciding what they needed. And the government was competing with its enemy and tried to outspend them. And in doing so, with an apathetic populace, their economy collapsed. Thus was the financial death of the USSR.
Now I know you know that I knew that you knew that I was going to be trying to pull a fast one and make you think I was talking about the good ol' US of A. And our economy is not the all-out command economy of the aforementioned communist country that was a third world country except for its military might.
But let's take my example apart.
Government was spending far too much money and controlling the means of production. This meant that the will of the politicians, not the market, dictated what would be produced and what wages and salaries would be paid.
One of the topics today was a discussion on capping CEO compensation. That, with the minimum wage, is politicians dictating wages and salaries.
As for controlling the means of production, I'll look at the big three automakers. As part of their bailout, the must submit their plans to the central authority, I mean Congress, for approval. And I believe there were some plans to tie this to producing cars that Washington wants, which was part of the push for the CAFE standards (which meant the automakers had to produce crap nobody wanted to make SUVs (which meant they were less profitable (and more susceptible to a recession)).
And the people were losing any motivation because they could look at other countries who could buy whatever they wanted without concern for their government watching them and deciding what they needed.
The biggest difference here is that we started with freedom and have seen it taken away incrementally. The cigarette industry is a perfect example of this.
It started out where smoking was the norm. Finally, the science came in and it was found that sucking in smoke was bad for you (to anyone who's stuck their head over a campfire this was fucking obvious). And had a sweeping ban come down, there would have been a mess created (prohibition, anyone?). So they started with warnings on the cigarettes, which was fine because the tobacco companies had lied (fair enough). And ads on TV were banned (lest kids see ads for all the cigarettes their parents smoked). And an assload of PSAs were run (because it's the government's role to
And government, seeing the revenues from the cancer sticks dropping, raised those taxes to soak the people still smoking.
Then people began suing for their freshly-burgeoning lung cancer, despite having been told smoking would kill you for 20 years. And because we had been taught that smoking was bad and that Big Tobacco was evil (for the same 20 years), the people decided to punish the tobacco companies for their sins of 20 years ago. And they enacted laws to ban smoking further, to the point where you couldn't smoke in any building (even private businesses) because it was what was best for us. And there are laws in places being considered to protect people from the smell of cigarettes in adjoining apartments (which I actually have in my bathroom).
And all the while, the right to choose something is slowly stripped away.
And while cigarettes are an easy target (thanks to the stupidity of the tobacco companies in the 70's), there are plenty of things that the government now says is bad for us. Trans-fat. Fast food. SUVs. Handheld cell phones. Butter. Alcohol. Guns. Fossil fuels. Bad words in songs and on TV. Etc. And for each item (and those are just things that I came up with off the top of my head) there are laws limiting, regulating, and slowly increasing the cost while decreasing the supply of them to serve someone's political agenda. And there are arguments in favor of regulation and control, which are perfectly reasonable in some cases.
But laws that do not protect the rights of one individual from infringement by another only take away rights from us all.
In essence, a government derives its power from the consent of the governed. And over our history, we have consented to more and more government control of our lives. For those of you who have not lost the freedom to choose what you wish, what will be the point at which you stand with the people who are?
We must reach that point soon lest we lose that which made us great.
And until we reach that point, hide the guns under the floorboards, fill your mattress with the cash, and wait for the day our glorious leaders are destroyed by their attempt to compete with the capitalist pigs.