By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
Three years after George Washington retired as our first president, he was still in excellent health at age 67. He rode on horseback around his large farm almost every day to inspect his fields, fences, buildings and livestock.
But after being out for five hours in heavy rain and snow on Dec. 12, 1799,Washington came down with a very bad cold, cough, and sore throat. Some of the best doctors in America rushed to treat him.
Today, we know that this is usually caused by germs that attack our bodies. The best treatment is rest, nourishment and liquids that help our immune system put white cells and other defenses into our bloodstream.
But Washington?s doctors were certain that ?bad blood? was making him sick. So they cut Washington?s veins and removed more than five pints of his blood.?? Washington died from loss of blood within two days of this ?treatment.?
George Washington?s doctors remind me of the clueless ?experts? that Republican Gov. Christie hired to cure Atlantic?City during the past two years.
Ever since 1854, when Jonathan Pitney and his investors built that first railroad, liberty was the lifeblood that brought success and prosperity to Atlantic City.
Once the railroad was built, anyone was free to buy whatever land they wanted on the empty, greenhead-infested island. Thousands of displaced farmers, poor immigrants from Europe, and freed black slaves from the south moved to Atlantic City and took advantage of that opportunity.
Until ?progressives? like Democratic Gov. Woodrow Wilson took control ofNew Jersey government in 1910, government permits were not needed to build a house, a hotel ? or a power plant. Or to sell liquor, run a casino, sell cocaine (then a key ingredient of Coca Cola), or grow and smoke a common ?weed? now called marijuana.
Until New Jersey?s Governor Wilson became president in 1913, there was no federal income tax, Federal Reserve Bank or inflation. A dollar in 1913 had the same buying power as a dollar in the days when Thomas Jefferson was president.
Before the progressives took over, people who arrived broke and worked as carpenters, bricklayers, cooks and maids could and did earn, save and borrow enough money to buy land, build, and start their own businesses in a few years. Everyone was free to keep most of what they earned, since taxes were almost nonexistent.
Private donors and volunteer organizations provided libraries, hospitals, recreation facilities, and even food, clothing, housing, and medical care for the poor.
Back then, the term ?public servant? meant something. People afraid of the risk and uncertainty of private jobs and businesses agreed to take less pay in exchange for job security and modest pensions.
But in spite of low taxes and low pay, Atlantic?City?s public schools were so good that foreign diplomats who lived in Washington,?D.C., sent their kids to our schools. Serious crime was almost nonexistent, and white tourists freely mingled with blacks walking to and from some of the town?s best nightclubs and gambling halls in the mostly black neighborhoods at all hours of the day and night.
The HBO TV series ?Boardwalk Empire? is fiction. But it tells the true story of how progressive laws that deprived adults of their freedom to buy liquor created crime, murder, and abusive, expensive and corrupt government.
But other progressive laws were just as harmful. Progressive politicians had the government take over the work of highly effective and efficient volunteer groups and charities that provided good libraries, health care, recreation, food, housing, and college scholarships for people in need. This brought tax hikes, vote-buying, and attitudes of dependency and entitlement that hurt the economy and increased crime.
Atlantic Citygot progressive zoning and building laws in 1929. Before then, churches and bawdy houses were built next to each other, and both did well. Now, almost every new project violates some law, so almost every builder needs a special variance and must pay to play.
The obvious way to saveAtlantic? Cityis to have less government, lower taxes, and laws that let ordinary citizens again be free to build and open the businesses they want to invest in.
But Gov. Christie?s ?experts? are killing Atlantic City with more of the ?treatment? that made it sick in the first place: more government agencies in control of more things and needing more permits and approvals ? and higher taxes and fees to pay for them ? so only a few insiders with special deals can succeed.
(Reprinted from February 8, 2012 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/20938-progressive-treatment-of-atlantic-city-is-killing-the-patient.html)
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturday. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email
or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.