Financial Independence Can Save America

Ancient Roman initialism: Senātus Populusque Rōmānus – “The Senate and the People of Rome.”

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The degree of betrayal that has besieged America is symptomatic of a crumbling empire.  Institutions responsible for protecting the public’s interest have turned into vehicles for personal power and fame.  

Leaders are more concerned with their own glory than the quality of life of those they’ve sworn to fight for.  We are looking more and more like the Roman Empire in its twilight years instead of the nation our founding fathers bequeathed us.

We were once a nation that produced things, we defeated fascism, and we learned from our transgressions and outlawed slavery.  We have never been a perfect nation, but every generation has done their part to make this nation better for their children, but this continuous improvement seems to be stalling. 

The average American is just a shell of the frontiersman of the 19th century or the men who fought in Western Europe and the Pacific to liberate the world. These were people who strived forward in the face of adversity, uninspiring odds and an unknown outcome.  They had courage though and that made all the difference.  

America was born under the toughest circumstances.  Its first citizens were rural folks who were self sufficient and distrustful of authority. Their lives were not easy, but they had more freedom calling themselves Americans rather than Englishmen.  With success came material progress and Americans became consumers instead of producers.  Thesis gave rise to an antithesis.  A hard working people gave rise to a population proud to consume and proud to show off status symbols.

It was an evolution propelled by product propaganda and post war prosperity.   Ironically enough, our success after World War II helped create the gluttonous consumer society we know today.

If success makes you fat and lazy, if it makes you forget what made you successful, then how long can you expect to be successful?  Americans forgot why we accomplished so much.  

They indulged on new found prosperity and were shocked by the austerity of the 2008 financial crisis, but that crisis was caused in part by Americans living in a delusional state of mind going into insane amounts of debt to sustain a mirage of a lifestyle.  

Too many people just couldn’t come to grips with the fact that they couldn’t afford 3 cars, 1 vacation home, and 2 mortgages.  The 2008 financial crisis was reality asserting itself on the stupidity of American society from the blue collar worker who went into debt to finance an illusion or the Wall St executive who risked the entire American economy for the vanity of a bonus check.  

People’s lives were irreparably altered forever for the worse and this sort of mindless and destructive consumerism could very well be more dangerous to American posterity than any other enemy we have.

Each time an American sees the trap of consumerism and decides to become financially independent we as a nation are better for it.  The reason is that you’re producing more for the economy than you’re taking.  You’re self sufficient and that means not depending on the government just to live.

Once again, in simple mathematical terms, you’re a net positive value creator.  Imagine if 15, 25, or even 50 million Americans were financially independent.  What would be some economic, social, and political effects of such a national achievement?

First off this would amount to an economic revolution.  With fewer people in the traditional workforce, there would be upward pressure on certain well paying jobs depending on the industries early retirees were previously working in.

There are numerous jobs that support the minimum income requirements needed to become financially independent.  These would be jobs ranging from software engineers to actuaries and many blue collar jobs.   Some would say it wouldn’t be good for society if too many nurses or doctors, for example, prematurely left their profession, but in the long term, the job market would self correct.

Assuming demand stays relatively stable, more people leaving any profession translates into a lower supply thus driving the price of those services upwards.  With compensation increasing the incentive for young people to enter the field would increase and the supply of candidates for temporarily low supply jobs would also increase over time thus mitigating the risk of losing too many socially vital professionals.

On the social end of the spectrum, widespread financial independence would be one of the best long term remedies to social plagues like substance abuse, alienation, and divorce.

Presumably, parents would be able to spend more time with their children, which would solve many problems that governments are incapable of solving, such as unhealthy personal relationships which lead to destructive behavior.  Some of societies worst problems are created by bad parenting.

Financial independence would provide the ability for people to spend less time working and commuting and more time raising their children to be self sufficient and productive adults.

Politically, widespread financial independence would be one of the best things to happen to our Republic since George Washington.  Financial independence means leisure time, more leisure time means more awareness of the world you live in through reading, writing, talking with others, traveling, and just becoming a more well rounded human being.  This increased awareness begins to dissipate more and more ignorance especially political ignorance.

Here’s why: financial independence inevitably leads to an increase in general awareness regarding human affairs.  Once again, this is an effect of free time and curiosity.  With increased understanding of the political process, more people would become enraged by the machinations of corrupt politicians.  With this increased awareness and righteous indignation financially free people could do one of several things:

1) Run for office themselves since they don’t have to worry about losing their job.  Raising enough money to win is a huge obstacle though, which leads to #2.

2) Organize politically and search for candidates.  This could include recruiting wealthy people with integrity to run for office themselves and helping them win.  Another political game changer would require a long term focus and upfront investment. Financially independent people could actively seek out meritorious young people who prove they can handle power, possess empathy, and have leadership qualities and mentor them for a future political run.

3) Financially free people who are not indentured servants are exponentially more likely to speak truth to power, be more willing to shed light on injustices, and overall more courageous since there isn’t an economic ax above their head.  With the fear of losing their job gone forever, they are a force to be reckoned with.

In conclusion, free time is a beautiful thing, which allows people to change the world they live in for the better.  We are plagued by poor leaders, an apathetic public, and no shortage of social problems.  These plagues can be remedied if more people just have enough time to take care of themselves, raise their children, and make a contribution to the public good.

Financial independence creates that precious time.

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