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Friday, December 12, 2014

President’s Year-End Letter 2014


Last month’s elections were not exactly a ringing endorsement of America’s “Bloated Intrusive Government”, were they?

Indeed, the bloom is off the Bloated Intrusive Government rose. (Let’s call it “B.I.G.” for short!)

Large numbers of Americans are now more skeptical – even resentful – of B.I.G. than they’ve been in a very long while.

It’s easy to understand why.

Today, there’s an awakening underway, particularly among young people, who had so enthusiastically supported Barack Obama during his presidential runs.

Young Americans are finally beginning to realize that bad ideas wrapped in charisma will still leave you holding the bag!

All that talk about “hope and change,” “fixing Washington,” and “doing things differently,” “making government cool again,” etc. proved to be nothing more than empty rhetoric.

What’s worse, all these B.I.G. policies led to unconscionable debt, a sluggish economy, and shrunken opportunities.

Young people are discovering that when the president promised cheaper and universal health care, he actually meant a little more health care at a huge cost paid out of their pockets!

They see that Bloated Intrusive Government is actually a Big Fat Failure.

That’s why, to borrow a well-worn phrase, it’s time for you and me to strike while the iron is hot!

You and I must strike because those of us who believe in liberty, character, and free markets have the wind at our backs for the first time in years.

Our country has just been though a painful learning experience as government grew even more bloated and more intrusive, followed by very little good and a whole lot of harm to show for it all.

The hope that government could solve more problems for us if it just got a lot bigger had been dashed and Americans are now open to real solutions.

This is a great opportunity for you and me!

Will we seize it, or will we sit back and hope those real solutions just materialize on their own?

Here at the Foundation for Economic Education, we see the current moment as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a positive difference for our country.

It may even be the last, best chance of our lives to turn back the growth of government and restore freedom and free enterprise to their rightful place.

Let’s do everything we can to seize this opportunity, and make sure the principles you and I care about have a chance to guide the future of our country!

You can play your part in these vital efforts today, by renewing your support for FEE with your special year-end contribution.

You’ve done so much for us and our fight for freedom already, and with you at our side once again we really can strike while the iron is hot!

Your year-end contribution today would give our FEE team what it takes to inspire, educate, and connect America’s future leaders with the principles of a free society.

B.I.G is on the run, but it’ll be right back at us if you and I don’t bar the door!

The clock is ticking on our liberties, but the time is right to make big gains in the way young people see the world in general and the role of government in particular.

Now is the time for you and me to reach as many of those young Americans as we possibly can with a positive message of our principles, those of free enterprise, limited government, and individual liberty.

You and I have to make clear that B.I.G. simply doesn’t deliver. It’s in the private sector and the free market economy where our hopes for a better future must be focused.

That’s a message that resonates more and more with today’s young people, who have experienced the failures of government up close and personal, and long for something more promising!

The public opinion polls and post-election breakdowns demonstrate there’s a growing market out there for what you and I offer.

  • Yes, the college students circa 2008 fell heavily for
  • But today’s youngest cohort , high school kids and early college students, are far more skeptical. They’ve seen the reality behind the rhetoric , and they aren’t impressed.
  • No wonder they increasingly rate President Obama and his policies poorly. No wonder rising numbers of them used last month’s elections to register their disapproval.

Now, we at FEE aren’t about elections. We stay out of all that. We’re about ideas, something far more important.

Without good ideas to guide us, elections are mere beauty contests. And if we put too much faith in any candidate or political party, we’re setting ourselves up for trouble.

But if we put our trust in the principles that make America great, and help make clear why free enterprise and individual liberty are such powerful forces for driving prosperity and better lives, you and I can truly drive lasting, positive changes.

FEE’s increasingly successful efforts to reach the youngest Americans have taught us much about what appeals to them.

Young Americans are eager to hear how they can take charge of their own lives, break with old ways of doing things, and get involved with cutting-edge entrepreneurial ventures.

We’ve learned that we must tap into that rebellious streak that comes with being young, and help channel that youthful rebellion away from government and politics and into entrepreneurship and love of liberty!

Our team at FEE is working hard to fill those needs and make the most of the historic opportunity before us.

We know that if we fail to do so, we’ll miss what could be our last, best chance to save the younger generation from returning to the embrace of B.I.G.

That’s why we’re putting your support to good use to try and meet the opportunity before us.

  • We’ve revamped all our products and activities to appeal to a younger audience.
  • We’re using technology that may be alien to many of us oldsters, but is second nature to 16-to-24 year olds!

This is what it will take to strike while the iron is hot, and deal a defeat to B.I.G. that will resonate for generations to come.

Because if you and I can deliver the final blows to young American’s trust in all-powerful government, and get them revved up to follow the course of freedom and free enterprise instead, that will have lasting effects well beyond any one election, but bring benefits to our country for decades.  

That’s an encouraging vision, don’t you think?

I hope you’ll help us make it a reality  by rushing your year-end contribution to FEE today!

Your renewed support will help your friends at FEE act as a gateway to liberty for millions more young Americans.

Our FEE seminars, educational videos, and websites may be the first place these high school and college students get a chance to explore free market economics and pro-liberty ideas.

They may have never heard these ideas from their teachers, or may have received the usual prejudices in the media and the culture against anything perceived as conservative, libertarian, or free market.

But once they get a chance to study these ideas for themselves they see there’s a lot more to them than the stereotypes would indicate!

The get “switched on” to liberty, and they’re eager to learn more. They can do that with FEE, or with our many allied organizations in the freedom movement.

We’re the entry point these young people need to gain a whole new way of looking at the world, one rightly skeptical of B.I.G. and eager for the opportunities offered by free market enterprise and liberty.

Take Victor Barraza, who attended our “Liberty: The Original Trendsetter” seminar. He told us:
“I breathed a breath of fresh air at FEE’s seminar in Seattle. It was great to think and focus on the ideals of freedom, liberty, choice, and the virtue of the free market.”

Thanks to you, our team at FEE was able to open the eyes of record numbers of young people like Victor!

This year, for instance, you helped FEE:

  • Host more than 800 attendees at our in-person seminars, more than 90% of whom are high schoolers and college students attending their first such event.
  • Bring free market ideas to more than 5 million readers online.
  • Attract more than 12,000 viewers for our “webinars” and debates at our website.
  • Deliver 115,000 books, pamphlets, magazines, and DVDs about liberty and free markets to young people nationwide.
  • Host 75 educational events, speeches, and debates across the country, attended by more than 14,000 students.
  • And increase our presence on Facebook by nearly 150% this past year, with three times more people talking about our ideas than in the year before.

That’s great progress. And as I described earlier, we know there are huge new audiences of additional students we can reach just like Victor!

You can help FEE pull out all the stops to reach them, to show them why the course of B.I.G. offers more failure and poor results, while the free market ideas we share offer the promise of a better tomorrow.

Again, this may be our last, best chance to teach the younger generation why the current failures of the B.I.G. model are not just flukes, but inevitabilities!

It may also be our last, best chance to enlist them in supporting something better. Let’s make the most of it.

Your year-end support for FEE will put us in position to do that now and on into 2015. I hope you will see fit to help us grab this opportunity while it’s sitting here before us.

  • You can help us reach more students at seminars geared to their interests.

This year, we attracted those record numbers of student seminars because we reached past “the usual suspects” of budding economists and free marketers, and looked to reach students interested in other topics like science, the arts, and business.
We’ll do all that again in 2015, making the most of the lessons we learned this year. And we’ll do much more! For instance:

We’re doubling our capacity to educate high school students, as we’ve seen they’re our group with the most enthusiasm and growth potential.

We’re building partnerships with more allied groups in the freedom movement to further share our ideas.

And we’re expanding our “Communicating Liberty” programs, which teach young people how to share the ideas of liberty effectively with their peers. The more messengers of our ideas, the better!

  • You can help us make clear that character counts in a free economy.

We want our audiences to understand that free markets aren’t enough, but that strong individual character is a necessary component to a free and just society.

Here’s an important message young people need to hear, having grown up hearing how free markets are synonymous with cheating and greed and dishonesty.  

You and I can show them that this need not be so!

We’re driving these messages home with our Blinking Lights Project, and indeed in all our communications with our students, and your ongoing support would help us do more of that in the year to come.

  • You can help us reach more young people online.

Today’s high school and college students spend much of their lives on the Internet, communicating with their friends and searching for ideas. So it’s essential that you and I are there, too.

Our FEE team is building up our presence online in a big way, and as the record numbers we reached this year indicate, our message is getting through.

For 2015 we aim to build on that progress in a big way, to ensure millions more young people hear from us!

  • You can help us bolster the freedom movement

We’re all in this together. That’s why FEE works to feed our students into other organizations you may support where they can further their education and get more involved in the fight for liberty.

We’re also building a movement across the country, with more than 3,500 veterans of our programs now part of our FEE Alumni Network.

Here, they get a chance to meet, share ideas, and advance freedom, and we look forward to building on those efforts in 2015!

  • And you can help us share the free-market wisdom of The Freeman and other FEE publications with ever larger audiences.

For years, our flagship publication has been The Freeman, which you may know and admire yourself. Now, we’re making it a quarterly publication to introduce new audiences to FEE and our ideas.

We’re also reaching more people than ever before with our other books and publications about liberty, ensuring the classics like I, Pencil and Economics in One Lesson inspire the new generation like they inspired you and me.

I’m excited by the possibilities before us here, and I hope you are, too.

With all but the most deluded defenders of the B.I.G. model convinced of its failures, and with more young people than ever before eager for real, promising alternatives, you and I may never have a better chance in our lifetimes to make a difference for freedom than we do right now.

This is an opportunity to big too pass up, and we at FEE are determined not to let it fall by the wayside!

Your contribution today will put us on our way to raising the just-over $3 million we’ve budgeted to achieve our goals in 2015.

Your renewed support will help us reach those milestones today.

I know you share our determination to inspire, educate, and connect more young Americans with the free-market principles you care about, and I truly hope you’ll see fit to help us as generously and enthusiastically as you possibly can today.
Your year-end contribution of $50, $100, even $150 would ensure your friends at FEE have what it takes to appeal to today’s young people with a healthy dose of freedom-minded rebellion against the B.I.G. mentality!

Can you renew your support for FEE today with a gift of one of those sizes, or of any other you think appropriate at the moment?

You can give us what it takes to introduce free market concepts to more high school and college students.

We may be the first place they ever learn about these ideas, so it’s important we make a strong impression!

Let me remind you that your gifts to FEE are tax deductible. As we get closer to the end of the year that becomes a big consideration for people.

Please ensure your gift is postmarked on or before December 31st to ensure you can deduct it from your 2014 taxes.

You may even want to consider a gift of appreciated stock. Year’s end is an especially good time to do that.

As the donor, you avoid both a cash outlay and a capital gains tax completely, and as a nonprofit charity, FEE would owe no capital gains tax either and yet we reap the full, appreciated value of the gift. The only loser is the IRS!

Please visit FEE.org/donate for instructions to make such a gift.

Thank you again for your support, encouragement, and kind words for your friends at FEE.

You’re helping us make the most of a major opportunity for freedom.

I eagerly await your prompt reply and your renewed support.

And I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

This could be our last, best chance to set young people straight with solid free-market ideas!

After attending  our “Are Markets Just?” seminar in Texas, one of our students wrote to tell us,

“This seminar has opened my eyes … all I can say is that I really am interested in learning economics now.”

Students like this have seen the failures of Bloated Intrusive Government first-hand. But they may not yet see that the ideas you and I hold dear offer a much better alternative.

You and I have to reach them while “the getting’s good!

Your tax-deductible year-end contribution will help your friends at the Foundation for Economic Education offer the ideas and inspiration today’s young people are so hungry for.

Please help us seize the opportunity before us!

Remember that your gifts to FEE are tax-deductible, so you’ll want to rush your gift to ensure we receive it before 2014 runs out!


  • Lawrence W. Reed is FEE's President Emeritus, having previously served for nearly 11 years as FEE’s president (2008-2019). He is also FEE's Humphreys Family Senior Fellow and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty. His Facebook page is here and his personal website is lawrencewreed.com.