The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

July 7, 2008

Don’t make the same mistake as the British

Sunday, July 6, 2008 — It was refreshing to see the poll in the SNAP showing that North Carolina voters reject the state takeover of Alcoa. They are showing a better understanding of some basic economic principles than some of our local government officials.

It may be correct that the water in the rivers belongs to the public, but the dams on the river and the land under the lakes are private property. They were built with private money. They were built with the expectation of making a profit just as any investor would expect when a business is started or expanded.

There are no legal limits and there should be no limits as to how long a company may make a profit. There are also no legal limits on the amount of profit a company may earn.

Private property and the right to earn a profit from ownership of property is a cornerstone of our free enterprise system that goes back hundreds of years. It is a fundamental requirement of the free enterprise system. Without it there is no free enterprise.

If the government can take over the private property of Alcoa because it is producing too much profit, what is to keep the government from taking over the local bank or the local farm or the local building supply company or any other business that is “making too much profit?”

The British broke into the sanctity of private property in the late 1940s and forced many large companies to sell their property to the government. By the 1980s the British realized that government ownership of business resulted in less production and less income in the country. The companies were sold back to the public.

Surely we in America and we in Stanly County won’t make the same mistake.

Eugene Pickler

New London