The following is a sample from my book: The Great Compromise: Getting Past the Emotional Nonsense Dividing America, which you can check out on the aforementioned link. It's apparently of value to someone, because (although you can buy it at the low, low price of $9.99) some second hand re-seller is asking $422.00 for it here: Buy it used for an obscene price! I'm not sure who is doing it, but they must have liked this book quite a bit to put so high a price on it. But anyway, I need to pay my editor still, and I also need to start making some headway on my student loan bills, and consequently need to sell quite a few of these. Ergo, to encourage sales, and since Utah's State Legislative body has brought up taxes, I thought this chapter from my book would be quite apropos. Hopefully this segment will serve both to encourage sales, and also our legislature to behave themselves, and not, as George W. Bush warned against, balance the budget on the backs of the poor. With that said, Enjoy Chapter 4.
Chapter 4: Government’s Job Is Not Wealth Redistribution.
Jefferson once bemoaned the fact that it is “…a cruel fate that a rich country cannot long be a free one…”-1. It’s a lament that I fear has roots in the simple truth that where there is wealth, arrogance and lust for power inevitably becomes a part of the equation. Democrats see this in corporations, but the irony is that they fail to see it in themselves, let alone in the government. As a result the Democrats see their role in government as trying to balance everyone out financially. The vast majority of our leviathan government is welfare programs, but it isn’t working. People aren’t becoming more equal, it’s just getting harder to get rich. It’s getting harder for the McDonald’s employee to create his own burger joint to compete in the market. I don’t know if you know this but Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, was originally a chef for KFC, but then he came up with an idea for “old fashioned burgers” and set about chasing after his dream. It didn’t used to be impossible for that to happen.
Today, if you want to start a business, you have to begin with a mountain of paper work and wade your way through the suspicious eyes of the IRS. You have millions of regulations to wade through as well. It’s an expensive and time consuming process, which discourages most people and forces them to accept their lot in life. We’ve already talked about how this impacts the income gap, but it is important to point out that although Jefferson was aware of the greed and corruption of corporations, his solution to the problem was essentially to maintain the freedom of the individual, and organizations of individuals working together for a common purpose, or an incorporation, to pursue their interests and compete. The Founding Fathers did not set up a system of wealth redistribution; competition would keep the rich in check. These mechanisms didn’t enter the equation until the Progressive era of the 20th century, which Republicans have wanted to scale back, but have been too afraid to.
Morally speaking, the idea of wealth redistribution is reprehensible, and it’s not new. It’s been around since the dawn of time and quite frankly, it is one method of making a slave out of an individual. Now, taxes are a necessary evil, but there comes a point where enough is enough. I live in Utah where the spineless rule, so we have very heavy taxes here, albeit a lower income tax rate. We’re in a pickle because we have high property taxes, moderate sales taxes, income tax, payroll tax, and the federal income tax. Oh, and in some areas our Unified Police Department charges a Progressive service fee on top of everything else. We are taxed enough already here, but if you say so the Salt Lake Tribune will call you an extremist. We have a Progressive Healthcare exchange, they were working on it before Obama Care. Also, 100% of our income tax, and a huge chunk or our property tax, funds our Progressive education system. Now, bear in mind I am poor. By the time all the taxes are done with me, more than half my income is eaten by the greed of government so that they can pay for someone else to have services they would likely be able to pay for themselves, if the government would just stay the heck out of our wallets. Ironically, services I am having a hard time getting when I need them, so I don’t exactly feel like I am getting a return on this investment I am being forced into.
Remember I said that charity is one of our most noble aspirations next to liberty, but charity is voluntary, not government force. I have a problem with the philosophy of altruism for this reason. I look at how much better my life would be if I could just be allowed to keep my money, but because of altruism (an obsessive compulsive need to engage in helping the poor at someone else’s expense rather than your own) it’s harder for me to engage in charity. How do I give my 10% when 50% is already gone, taken by force not by my choice?
What I am about to suggest here is very controversial in Utah and will ensure that no Republican will ever elect me to anything ever again, I think states like Florida have the best solution for paying for education. Ready for it? Let’s ditch the state income tax and install a state lottery. Yes, the poor buy lots of lottery tickets when they should buy food, but right now I have to drive to Idaho to buy them, and that’s a lot of gas! Here’s the deal, don’t tell me you don’t want a lottery because you are worried about how it will hurt the poor, when you are willing to take money out of their paychecks before they even get it, and charge them an arm and a leg just for owning a house or a car! The fact is that Florida has this right because they have developed a system of collecting state funding that is voluntary, and if you can collect funds for the state through voluntary measures, that is within the confines of natural law, whereas a tax, as we mentioned previously, violates it.
That is the entire method by which government can honorably acquire the means for whatever ends it desires. I’ve also argued for a marginal Fair Tax to replace the 16th amendment previously, this is the moral argument for it. If a tax is attached to consumption, then it is collected in a voluntary transaction. However, if it is taken by force, out of a pay check, it is stealing the fruits of one’s labors much as the Democrats did to the African Americans in the early days on the United States.
When the fruits of your labors are taken from you without your consent, what else could it be but slavery? Especially when you have so much being taken! A lot of these individual taxes seem small, it’s when you add them all up you see how you’re getting screwed. While you fret about this program or that being shut down, ask yourself this question: what could you afford if you didn’t have to worry about the difference between gross and net? Just imagine for a second, a full paycheck… A full paycheck! Then the fruits of your labors are yours and yours alone. You want to help the poor? Go right ahead! If you want to fund education, buy a lotto ticket. It seems callous, but it is working in other states, and it has been working better than what we’ve been doing here in Utah.
The thing is that taxes collected should be voluntary. Taxes collected in any other way its theft and theft is immoral. America needs to embrace volunteerism rather than altruism. Trust me, people’s lives will get a lot better a lot quicker if they can keep their own money. Moreover, if you Democrats and Progressive Republicans agree to stay out of my wallet, then my compromise to you is that I will stay out of your bedroom, but we’ll get to that later.
Ultimately, the government’s role is not to provide equal things at the expense of only a few. There is a uniformity clause to the Constitution, which is always ignored, that is supposed to ensure everyone is treated exactly the same by the law regardless of class, creed or race. In order to ensure equality under the law in our society, we must ensure that the law does not treat anyone different regardless of race, creed or income. Our current welfare state does discriminate. We’ve just convinced ourselves that hate is okay… if it’s directed at the rich (or Christians, and especially rich Christians.) Our country’s past failings have been a direct result of failing to live up to that higher ideal of equality under the law. Should the government want to get into those kinds of redistributive services, then it must fund them only by voluntary measures.
Chapter 4 references
1- The Writings of Thomas Jefferson Albert Ellery Bergh ed. Vol. 17:162 (1787)