The Rational Environmentalist    
[ Nov. 3, 2008 by Jimmy Hogan ]

Going Galt?



Recently a tape of an interview of Barack Obama came to light where he discussed his views on Constitutional liberty and redistributive wealth. In this he goes into the concept of negative liberties and positive liberties. In a nutshell, negative liberties are what the government is limited in doing to you and positive liberties are what the government is to do for you. Positive liberties for individuals or groups, however, are a misnomer because you cannot bestow a positive liberty on one person without depriving someone else of their own work or property.

Some positive liberties are necessary for the common good as in an army to defend the country. Some are not necessary but it could be argued that they are very beneficial. Support for basic education comes to mind but that lends to the question of what is taught (a topic for another discussion).

The framers were very careful about limiting governmentís role to what is necessary. None of the framers believed that it was right for government to take the earnings or belongings of one person to do charity for another. They, because of their extensive study of liberty, knew this to be dangerous so our federal government was limited from doing this.

The constitution, in fact, specifically says in Article 1 section 9, "No capitation or other direct Tax shall be laid unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken".

Now why would the framers, with their ultimate goal of liberty and a limited government, index any direct taxation to the census? It is because the notion of taxing one person more than another person is an affront to liberty and is tremendously dangerous because government can then use the work and property of one person to buy political favor with another.

This was the most important provision of the original constitution for limiting government scope and power and if Jefferson were to return today he would pronounce the 16th amendment, that undoes this provision, is the reason for the disaster of a federal government we have today. It would seem that Tocqueville was right when he said that America will endure until Congress figures out it can bribe the public with the publicís money. Obama seems to have seized on this idea as well, as a presidential candidate, with his promise to take more from the people who are already paying the most to buy political favor.

Already, with our progressive tax system, there is little popular political resistance to government growth; yet many fall for this ruse that will make our taxes even more progressive... astounding.

McCainís plan to reduce the corporate rate to 25% is a measure that will put our corporate tax rate in line with the rest of the worldís nations. The corporations will then have nowhere better to run so they might as well pay US taxes. It will be preferable to them to just pay up rather than focus on financial shenanigans or bury revenue in unnecessary infrastructure. Obama calls this Ďtax cuts for the richí but in truth itís just sound economic policy... as is maintaining capital gains taxes where they are now and maintaining our already ridiculously progressive tax structure where it is now.

Obamaís plan is nothing new... itís page one of the populist playbook. Take the earnings of one group and promise it to another. Has our society grown so ignorant as to not understand the consequences of this? Iíve been poor in my life; living in a 2 bedroom trailer with two in diapers, working two jobs and going to night school. Iím doing pretty well now though; so Iíve lived both sides of this equation. The big difference now (and this is an important one so pay attention) is that I work because I choose to work.

When half of the second income in a two earner household is going to taxes of one form or another because it is all in the highest marginal tax bracket it begins to make more sense to play defense with the family budget rather than offense. And although the majority of people are not in my situation, THE MAJORITY OF TAXES ARE PAID BY PEOPLE IN MY SITUATION.

I donít have to go John Galt to opt out of this system. All I have to do is give two weeks notice, start clipping coupons, fire the housekeeper and start eating in more nights than not. Again... we are looking at a minority of people who are on this situation on the edge of the fence where the hassle-to-income ratio makes our CHOICE whether we work or not, a coin toss. Policy makers would do well to court us rather than condemn us since this minority of people pays the majority of taxes, pays the majority of charity, does the majority of discretionary spending to keep the economy healthy, and are the ones who can, and do, answer the call when a family member or friend is in trouble.

Howisit that society has become so ignorant of how the work/reward cycle works in this country? Whyisit that so many people think itís a good idea to funnel the resources of society through an inefficient, often corrupt and politically motivated bureaucracy to do some politicianís definition of good? Why is it anathema to let the person who went to the trouble to earn in the first place decide about reasonable charity with his/her money?

This election is not between two people it is between two totally different ideas of how our country should work. One is based on how the framers established this great country... and the other is based on an idea that many people believe will make the country fall apart. John McCain has done a pitiful job of defending his position; and the media has done an excellent job of selling Obamaís. Please educate yourselves and understand the potential unintended consequences of your vote in this historic election.

copyright 2007 - Jimmy Hogan - all rights reserved