Paper is made from wood. It is a recyclable that can be remade into another paper product over and over again. It is essential to our way of life. In fact, the largest tonnage of any commodity brought into our nation's capital is paper. It is also a fact that the largest tonnage of waste products leaving our nation's capital is, you guessed it, paper. (Let's hope our politicians recycle.)
There are a large number of companies who produce a wide variety of paper products. Just think, in addition to toilet tissue, companies may produce facial tissues, paper towels, labels for cans and bottles, cardboard products from cereal and gift boxes up to rugged shipping cartons, greeting cards, writing paper, paper used in the printing of our currency, and all sorts of paper products used in offices, schools, and homes. On your next trip to the grocery store, just take notice of how many products completely fill some aisles, either providing the total wrapping such as for bread and rolls, or cereals, or butter, or sugar, or chips and cookies, and many frozen foods, and eggs, and all those cans and bottles with paper labels, and the signage throughout the store, and don't forget the greeting cards and wrapping paper, and the magazines and newspapers, the gum wrappers, and more and more, and more. So, when you hear or read that a nation has no toilet tissue, just think of all the other paper products that they use every single day and also mark them absent. Bottom line (pun intended), paper is an essential commodity.
A bit of trivia deals with the availability of the wood needed to meet our ever growing needs for paper products. Even though paper products can and are being recycled, as a consumable, and with an ever growing population, if paper producing companies didn't engage in outstanding re-forestation programs, we could use up every tree on the planet. However, because those big bad for-profit companies know that the need for paper is and will forever be increasing, they expertly manage their forests. It is also a fact that our country has more trees today than it did when Columbus discovered America . . . thanks in large part to the paper companies.
With that background, let's now think of what it means when a country, such as socialist Venezuela, is unable to provide its citizenry with an essential, such as toilet tissue. Not only is that essential missing, think of the other things that require paper products that are missing from the grocery stores. And, if such a basic essential as paper is absent, what other essentials are also missing?
We have witnessed during this election cycle, politicians who constantly work to divide our country into voting units . . . young vs. old, men vs. women, rich vs. poor, race against race, government vs. private enterprise, and so on. Promises have been made that simply cannot be kept, without destroying our country. Free education is one example, as are all sorts of "equal" outcomes, and promises of baseline higher income is yet another that can literally destroy our economy. All these unfulfillable promises not only intend to divide our country, they also attempt to promise to change us from a democratic republic to a fairy tale utopia called socialism, where government is the answer to all our problems. If the politicians are successful, we too can become a Venezuela in search of toilet tissue, and all the essentials that will surely be in short supply. However, as President Reagan said, government is not the solution, government is the problem.
The paper companies in this country provide a wonderful example of what free enterprise and the profit motive can do to benefit a country and its citizenry. First, to stay in business the company must fill a market need (at a price the market is willing to pay); toilet paper is an example of a market need. Next, after it pays its employees their wages and benefits, the company must make a profit in order to simply stay in business. Also, the company must ensure it has a continuing supply of raw materials to produce the products it offers. In this example, the companies not only filled the market need by manufacturing the paper products needed today, they continually farmed and expanded the forests in order to ensure they had ample raw material to meet future ever growing market needs. Obviously, in a socialist country like Venezuela, void of free enterprise and the profit motive, there is no toilet paper and the government is the problem.
Beware of political promises. The government can't give you anything that it didn't take from someone else. Government meddling into our free enterprise system will only degrade not only the companies that produce our goods and services; it will degrade and destroy our republic. Don't let that happen!
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
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