Although soundly rejected in his presidential bid, people keep talking about Ron Paul. It got me to thinking about what life today might be like if Ron Paul were in charge for the last one hundred years.
Without progressive taxes and anti-trust legislation, the middle class would be much smaller. Most Americans would be working class or poor with a small, but much wealthier, upper class. Small businesses would be much smaller and mid-sized business would all be either bought up, or crushed by the corporate trusts which would run the country.
With our currency tied to precious metals, the dollar would be very strong, but there wouldn't be enough available capitol to develop small businesses. Without banking or insurance regulations there would be just a few, very large banks, each owned by one of the trusts, and none of them particularly interested in the needs of the average American.
Lacking adequate health care or housing without medicare, medicaid, welfare, food stamps, ADC and other programs, the poor and the elderly would live in squalor and there would be few opportunities for people to move upwardly from one class to another. If you think it sucks to be poor now, things could have been much, much worse.
Without our involvement in foreign wars, Europe and Asia would be controlled by either the fascists or the communists, leaving us in a real bind when it comes to foreign oil, but it might not matter because far fewer Americans could afford automobiles.
There would be no Hoover Dam, no National Parks, no Panama Canal and no NASA. Advanced sciences, particularly advanced physics, would all be based in Europe or Asia as there would be no funding for it in the US.
I think it's important to have somebody like Ron Paul around, because there are always some really cool things about the path we don't choose in life and it's important to have someone to remind us of that. It's also important, though, to remember there were reasons, usually very good reasons, why we chose the paths we did, and although there are problems with the way things worked out, they could be worse if we had gone another way.