All Commentary
Monday, February 1, 1960

Toward a Better Future


Dr. Kershner is president of the Christian Free­dom Foundation. This article is from his weekly column, “It’s Up to You,” September 28, 1959.

The best estimates indicate that by 1975 there will be about 100 million Americans under 20 years of age, and another 21 million over 65. About one half of our population will be nonproductive. Moreover, all of us want a higher standard of living. How can a smaller percentage of the popula­tion produce more for all?

A partial answer to the problem would be to encourage older people who are in good health and who desire to do so, to continue work­ing. Another part of the answer would be to encourage more sav­ing, with the thought that one should strive to accumulate enough to care for himself in retirement without becoming a burden on his family or on society.

If fewer workers in proportion to the total population are to produce more for all, greater efficiency must be developed and man-hour output increased. Working harder will help, but mainly such in­creased production must come from better tools and equipment. In order to provide these we must have more saving. We will have more saving if we offer more sub­stantial reward to those who are willing to deny themselves the pleasures of current consumption in order to accumulate capital. En­couragement for savers is perhaps the keystone of the arch leading to more abundance.

Another important stone in this arch is to encourage every person to do his best by assuring him that he will be permitted to enjoy the “fruits” of his efforts. That is, that he may be allowed peaceably to possess whatever he earns, ac­cumulates, and creates. One will live frugally and accumulate prop­erty if he has no fear that it will be taken from him by bandits or excessive taxation. if we give our citizens that assurance, we may be sure that capital accumulation will proceed rapidly and that increased production will keep pace with it.

With better tools and equipment the one half of our people who will be working in a few years can pro­vide more for all of us and at the same time work fewer hours. Capi­tal accumulation is the key to better material conditions. And capital accumulation is sure to come if we reward the saver and protect the individual in the right to enjoy, possess, and dispose of that which he earns, as he pleases.

Forcible distribution of wealth by means of increasing welfare-statism will discourage effort and so slow the creation of wealth that poverty will be the lot of all.

One is forced to save when he pays his Social Security taxes, but these sums do not increase pro­duction. They are not used con­structively for better tools and equipment but are immediately ex­pended. On the other hand, if we were responsible for ourselves, our savings would be invested con­structively and production would expand accordingly.

Another keystone in the arch leading to a better future is to avoid excessive government spend­ing, leading to inflation. Inflation not only steals the savings of thrifty people and destroys the security which they, by hard work, have accumulated for the future but it also discourages the oncom­ing generation from attempting to reach security by that means. Thus, it not only destroys existing capital but militates against the creation of new capital. It is the deadly enemy of greater security for all men and more abundant living.

A better future is to avoid excessive government spend­ing, leading to inflation. Inflation not only steals the savings of thrifty people and destroys the security which they, by hard work, have accumulated for the future but it also discourages the oncom­ing generation from attempting to reach security by that means. Thus, it not only destroys existing capital but militates against the creation of new capital. It is the deadly enemy of greater security for all men and more abundant living.