Common Sense – Ch 3 Tax Code Prt 2
It’s Not the Money, It’s the Rule Of Law
The Progressive movement (which created the modern income tax under President Wilson) saw America as a democracy rather than what it really is: a Republic. The distinction is not subtle and our Founders were clear in the belief that a democracy always led to mob rule. But the Progressives (both Republican and Democrat) felt that democracy and socialism are twins since both ultimately had their power stem from the people. If the people felt that someone or some group made too much, they could level the playing field for the good of all.
Not much has changed in the hundred years since.
The tax code has never really been about raising revenue as much as it is about punishing opponents, helping friends, or as President Obama says, instituting a system of “fairness”. Government bailouts are similar. Did all of those companies really need that money, or was it in the government’s interest to force it down their throats so they’d have some control over them?
It’s what President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, meant when he said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you could not do before.”
Although Emanuel is a Democrat, that is not a partisan sentiment; Republicans are equally opportunistic.
The rule of law was meant to prevent a crisis from being taken advantage of by forcing outcomes of disputes to be decided according to a strict set of principles, not subject to raw emotion, popularity, political power, or financial clout. But that concept now seems to be just another “traditional value” that people like New York senator Chuck Schumer believes is “over.” Consider the following:
*The U.S. House of Representatives used its power to target a group of AIG Insurance executives who collected a bonus they were contractually and legally allowed to receive, by passing a bill that would have imposed a 90 percent retroactive tax on their bonus money;
*New York state attorney general Andrew Cuomo threatened to reveal the names of AIG employees who were paid a contractual bonus and wouldn’t voluntarily return that money
*GM was required to fire its CEO as a prerequisite to receiving any additional federal bailout money even though the CEO didn’t engage in any criminal or corporate malfeasance;
*Banking executives were threatened to accept government bailout funds or risk increased scrutiny and audits;
*The sacrosanct “secret bailout” is under assault by union leaders who feels it’s more important to get new members than to protect free elections.
*The government has suggested it will force states to accept federal stimulus money even if they don’t want it;
*The state of Connecticut has considered legislation that would retroactively raised the state income tax on high-wage earners;
*The rich are being vilified and targeted because they are rich. (Class warfare is always politically popular, but common sense tells us that people won’t work if they can’t keep what they earn. It also tells us that what starts as government taking on the “rich” always truckles down—remember, in 1913 the income tax was applied to only the wealthiest 1%);
*Executives of AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac are all on the federal dole and have received billions in corporate welfare. Executives at all companies received bonuses, but while AIG executives were targeted by Congress and unions, executives of Fannie and Freddie received scant attention due to their ties to government.
Is any of this in accordance with the rule of law? These abuses must stop.
African-Americans have long understood dual justice. One set of laws for whites and one for blacks. While we have made great strides in correcting that injustice, we have gone in the opposite direction with the rest of society. We have allowed the system to be so corrupted that many want justice to be “empathetic”, not blind.
When the weed takes hold, it will choke the very life and security out of our system as vengeance and vigilantism become the only available source of “justice”. Millions of people who have played by the rules are forced to assist those who haven’t and it causes them to question the fairness of a system that lets people reap rewards for risky behavior and prevents them from facing any consequences or losses.
While our current president and political leaders repeatedly assure us that giving government more power is the only answer. George Washington calls out form the past to remind us that government itself is usually the problem: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
But an increasing number of Americans don’t see it that way. A recent poll revealed that a slim 53% of Americans believe that “capitalism” is a better system than “socialism”. A full one-fifth of Americans think that socialism is the better system and an embarrassing 27% are “not sure.”
Wake up, America! You have bought into the lie that capitalism is only about money, corporations, greedy businessmen, and corrupt politicians who cut backroom deals. Capitalism isn’t about money, it’s about freedom—the freedom to try and fail that made the United States the richest industrial nation in the world by 1905 and the freedom that has kept us there ever since. That is the power of the system that we now seem so eager to trash.
The scariest part of the poll was what it revealed about America to her founding roots—roots that most people don’t even fully understand. The first government established by our Founding Fathers was under the Articles of Confederation, a document that created the weakest possible form of national government. Why? Because they recognized that having no government meant anarchy, but they also knew that government was a “living creature” that would seek to grow in power at the expense of personal freedom. Their compromise was to give America the leanest form possible and let it grow from there.
But it didn’t work; the government was too weak. So the patriots made another go at it. Fifty-five men met during the hot and humid Philadelphia summer to hammer out a new document that would give government slightly more control; the Constitution of the United States of America.
When Americans say that socialism is a better system than capitalism they are essentially saying they prefer to be led and fed by the state than be free. They are saying, perhaps ignorantly, that they prefer increased state control over their personal decisions because having a cap on success is an appropriate price to pay for also having a cap on failure.
Those who desire to have their hand held by government admit that they are sheep willing to be shorn and molded by their master—yet their ranks are likely to swell as the economic crisis worsens, because hunger and fear almost always trigger a stampeded to security. In this context, the word security is defined as “total government”—the type of which is inconsequential, since they’ve all been proven to be miserable, selfish, and violent masters. A simple reading of the stories told by those who survived under the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Lenin, Castro, Chavez, or Kim Jong-il should tell you everything you need to know.