Monday, July 30, 2018

Free-riding, mooching and other human endeavors

It is simply the human condition, or any of God's creatures way, for that matter: we all take the path of least resistance.

When faced with the choice of nuts, berries and bark or a tasty pic-a-nic basket (as Yogi Bear would say) full of chicken, potato salad and cherry pie, which menu item will the average Kodiak bear choose?  That's a rhetorical question.  We all know what that bear is going to do.

And so it is with all humans, we go for the low hanging fruit.  Americans have long been generous, giving people.  It is part of our culture to lend a helping hand to those in need, and this is really not the way cultures have been throughout the ages.  Back in the day, life was brutish, nasty and short, and free stuff was in mighty short supply.  This American ethos is a new thing, and the down and out will of course accept a handout when offered.  It is the way of all creatures.  

After WWII, Europe was a white, hot mess.  Particularly Germany, whose major cities were reduced to smoldering rubble after millions of pounds of bombs were dropped on them by the Allies.  Rather than plunder the remnants of a defeated foe, the U.S. stepped up and helped rebuild Europe with aid from U.S. taxpayers via the Marshall Plan.  

The Marshall Plan was never intended to last forever.  But for the recipients of American largess, these freebies have gone on for way longer than it took to rebuild the economies of Europe.  And our politicians have allowed it to continue, even to this very day.

The gravy train is over, however.  President Donald John Trump has been grousing about these handouts to those who don't need them anymore since at least the 1980's, and perhaps even earlier than that.  When filthy rich Germans charge a 10% tariff on all Chevy's, Fords and Chryslers that enter their ports, and yet the U.S. charges only 2.5% tariff on imported BMW's, Volkswagens and Audis, that hardly is what anyone would call 'free trade.'  When Trump moves to remove all tariffs, who are the ones squealing like stuck pigs?

You got it: the mooching, free loading Europeans looking for their perennial handouts.  Much like mooching bears, they are indignant when Ranger Smith cracks down on the never ending pic-a-nic baskets.  

But the Europeans will get used to free, fair trade once they are forced to accept that the days of mooching have come to an end.  Time to get back to the way nature intended things to be: nuts, berries and bark, not bad if you add a little salt...