Wednesday, November 23, 2011

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

Be Thankful

I love Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday.  It's not just a day off work, a day devoted to parades and football, or a day to eat turkeys and pumpkin pies.  As the name signifies, it is about giving thanks to God for the blessings we enjoy.

But today many in America are not particularly thankful. We have seen them on the streets in our major cities, occupying parks and other public venues. To them America is an oppressor, our culture is backwards, free enterprise is a failure.

Many more Americans, while not so negative, unfortunately feel our nation is in decline today. Even our president says we've become "lazy," "soft" and that we have "lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness" to do great things. I refuse to believe that!

Last week, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, wrote a column on job creation for the Wall Street Journal. Its premise is that freedom breeds success. I'm not going to quote his policy prescriptions here, but I do want to share with you his view of America.

"Is the United States exceptional? Of course we are! Two hundred years ago we were one of the poorest countries in the world. We accounted for less than 1% of the world's total GDP. Today our GDP is 23% of the world's total and more than twice as large as the No. 2 country, China.

"America became the wealthiest country because for most of our history we have followed the basic principles of economic freedom: property rights, freedom to trade internationally, minimal governmental regulation of business, sound money, relatively low taxes, the rule of law, entrepreneurship, freedom to fail, and voluntary exchange.

"The success of economic freedom in increasing human prosperity, extending our life spans, and improving the quality of our lives in countless ways is the most extraordinary global story of the past 200 years. Gross domestic product per capita has increased by a factor of 1,000% across the world and almost 2,000% in the U.S. during these last two centuries.

"In 1800, 85% of everyone alive lived on less than $1 per day (in 2000 dollars). Today only 17% do. If current long-term trend lines of economic growth continue we will see abject poverty almost completely eradicated in the 21st century."

In spite of the challenges we face today, I believe all of us can be thankful to be Americans.  We are the descendants of the patriots who declared that "All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  

Those words inspire us still and bring hope to millions around the world.  With all of America's problems, we are still the nation that represents man's last best hope on earth. I pray that in the weeks ahead, each of us will work harder to give this nation a "new birth of freedom" so that America can again be a "shining city upon a hill."

Tomorrow, when Carol and I celebrate Thanksgiving with our family, we will pray for America, for our leaders, for our men and women in uniform and for all of you.  We are very thankful for your friendship and generosity.  God bless you, my friends. And thank you for being our partners in this great adventure.

Our offices will be closed tomorrow and Friday.  This will be my last "End of Day" report until Monday, November 28th.

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