- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Last week, it was announced that the Argentine peso has collapsed, that Beretta is expanding (not in Maryland, but is moving much of its operation to Tennessee), and that foreign investment in France has fallen some 77 percent since that nation’s socialist government declared war on the country’s rich and successful.

These seemingly unrelated developments actually combine to illustrate in stark terms the fatal weakness of socialism and its progressivist American cousin.

Those who believe in creating a utopian brave new world either fail to realize that people are people or decide they have to create a new citizen willing to spurn self-interest in cheerfully doing whatever the state deems in the public interest.

Failure to take human nature into account leads to economic and social failure; a government decision to use whatever means necessary to change human nature leads both to failure and to something far worse.

Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, simply denies the existence of fundamental laws of economics and seeks others to blame as the peso and her nation’s economy collapse around her.

France’s new socialist regime seemed actually to believe that confiscatory taxes would punish the rich, bring wealth to the state’s coffers and have no real impact on the behavior either of French citizens or foreign investors. Any half-educated historian could have told them that action begets a reaction.

The men and women who French President Francois Hollande and his minions would turn into serfs aren’t bound to the land as were the men and women abused by French tyrants of an earlier era. They can move and are moving elsewhere, and those who provide the capital needed for investment and economic growth can move and are moving their money elsewhere, too.

Today’s technology has freed the working entrepreneurial classes to move their businesses and direct their investments to nations that won’t confiscate their earnings, demonize their activity or hamstring their ability to establish and run businesses that contribute to a nation’s wealth.

France is discovering that as this is being written, as are the governors of Maryland and many other states in this country.

What is truly amazing is that so many nations and states seem blind to the consequences of their own policies and just don’t understand it when taxpayers and business flee to friendlier climes. Some years ago, Beretta came to the United States to build its first manufacturing plant here and chose Maryland as its U.S. home.

The company found good workers in Southern Maryland and became the largest private employer in the area where its new plant was located. The future there seemed bright until the one-party government of Gov. Martin O’Malley went after firearms, attacked those who manufacture them, raised a bunch of taxes and made it difficult for the company to either profitably market or manufacture them in the state.

Beretta executives decided at some point that they didn’t have to take the sort of treatment they were receiving at the hands of Mr. O’Malley and began looking for a new U.S. home.

They found one in Tennessee, which combines a firearms-friendly citizenry and government with some of the lowest taxes of any state to which they could move.

Marylanders, like the rulers of France, seem shocked that anyone would abandon them so cavalierly.

A part of the genius of the federal system designed by this nation’s Founders is that the states can experiment with policies of all sorts.

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