Dear NY Times: Initiative, Not Government, Creates Prosperity

Editor, The New York Times

229 West 43rd St.

New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

Bob Herbert wants President Obama to "begin addressing on day one the interests of those who are not rich and who have not had the ear of those in power" ( "A Team of Whizzes," Dec. 2).  Sounds reasonable – but it's not.

In a free society prosperity is achieved by persons who take initiative for themselves – persons who do not sit around, brandishing excuses, waiting for their needs to be "addressed" by Great Leaders. Insofar as any person's needs become the responsibility of the state, two consequences are inevitable. First, and worst, that person loses his or her resourcefulness and dignity. Second, he or she suffers the perpetual risk that, as the winds of politics shift and economic reality collects its dues, the once-provident state becomes uninterested in "addressing” those needs or increasingly unable to do so.


Donald J. Boudreaux

Don Boudreaux is the Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University and a Business & Media Institute adviser.