Please read this article by the Hoover Institution’s Research Fellow Peter Schweizer. Schweizer, who has written extensively on the subject of the decline and fall of the Soviet Union, offers a Washington Post writer an important refresher on the real history of Sputnik, since many critics are engaged in misreporting:
Palin’s other point is that Sputnik was the sort of government bureaucratic program that got the Soviet Union in trouble; it’s an example of what eventually did them in. Citing Wikipedia (what journalistic ingenuity!), Stromberg argues that actually the Soviet Union didn’t have a debt problem until some “thirty years after” Sputnik. Perhaps instead of relying on Wikipedia, Stromberg might have consulted Robert Gates’ book From the Shadows which chronicles, in part, his career as a Soviet analyst at the CIA. (Just in case they are unaware at the Post, this is the same Robert Gates who is now the Secretary of Defense.) On page 173, he accurately points out that the CIA knew early on of the “Soviet economic crisis. From the late 1950s, CIA had clearly described the chronic weaknesses as well as the formidable military power of the Soviet Union.”
Read the whole thing here.
Now, in a recent interview I mentioned analogies that could relate to solutions to our economic challenges, including the difference between a communist government’s “Sputnik” and the private sector’s “Spudnut.” The analogies I mentioned obviously aren’t comparable in size, but highlight a clear difference in economic focus: big government command and control economies vs. America’s small businesses.
If you’re near Richland, WA, you should stop by The Spudnut Shop, where you’ll find an all-American success story of a family owned small business that for over 60 years has been serving up a product that people want to buy. Businesses like this coffee shop don’t receive big government bailouts. They produce something with their own ingenuity and hard work. And here we see the former communist Soviet Union’s advancement (before its government debt-ridden demise) vs. America’s small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.
We’d be better off if we had a greater appreciation for the free market ingenuity of ordinary American entrepreneurs, both great and small – whether they make high-tech gadgets or potato donuts. And this goes for all our small business owners – whether they run a family farm, a commercial salmon fishing business, an auto shop, a print shop, a consulting firm, a restaurant, you name it. Our government should show them more respect by not punishing their success and limiting their ability to hire more people by over-taxing and over-reaching into their businesses. Don’t stifle their growth with burdensome regulations like Obamacare and cap-and-tax. Government should be on their side, not in their way.
I believe and trust in the strength of America’s private sector. But I sometimes fear that the current administration in Washington distrusts or discounts the individuals who have built this country; hence their belief that only a distant bureaucratic elite in D.C. can make decisions for our small businesses that will provide American opportunity. This administration’s thinking is wrong. We don’t need a command and control economy that “invests” our money in their half-baked ideas. We need freedom, reward for hard work, and a re-invigorated sense of personal responsibility and work ethic, especially among our young people.
We need to be as motivated and optimistic as our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, many of whom started out with nothing but a dream as they built a life for themselves by the sweat of their brow. They didn’t ask for bailouts. They didn’t expect anything from anyone. They wanted the freedom and opportunity to work hard and prosper by their own merits. If at first they failed, they took their lumps, dusted themselves off, got back up, and tried again until they succeeded. They didn’t retreat. They built this country and they passed on to us more prosperity and opportunity than has ever been bestowed on any generation in human history. We must not squander that inheritance. Let’s get back to their common sense values.
– Sarah Palin