Monday, December 22, 2008

the price of liberty

The words “Give me liberty or give me death” once rang in the hearts of Americans, commemorating the price that their forbearers placed on liberty: their own life. Liberty was so valuable to them that an actually price could not describe it. They fought against all odds to establish a nation in which individual rights were protected, in which the government existed for them and not in which they existed for the government. They lived in an age of tyranny, and their sole desire was to take back their God-given inalienable rights which had been usurped by the throne.

Times have changed. Washington has been able to put a price on liberty: 7.4 trillion dollars. At least, that is the price they are willing to pay at the expense of our liberty. And the number is increasing daily. For those who cannot fathom the magnitude of this number, $7.4 trillion equates to half the GDP of this great country. If distributed evenly is comes out to $25,000 per person, man, woman and child. So the question is raised. Are you willing to sell your liberty for $25,000?

Here’s the catch: along with giving up your liberty, you also give up the $25,000. Instead of selling your liberty to get money, you sell your liberty to GIVE money. That is the dilemma in which our tyrannical democracy has placed us. Washington has trampled all over the will of the people and extended its authority where it doesn’t belong. The government is using us, sacrificing our liberty to satisfy the demands of lobbyists. No longer do we live in a society in which we must earn our money, but it can easily be looted by the government. The days of Robin Hood, of stealing from the rich to give to the poor, have ended. We have entered the days of stealing from the poor and industrious to support the incompetent; when mediocrity is celebrated and prosperity punished. Trust me, it won’t stop at $7.4 trillion, and it won’t end with financial groups and the auto industry. And what are you doing about it? Do you even care?

Many of us have heard, and were outraged, about a $700 billion bail-out, writing or calling our representatives. When the bill passed, however, the calls ended. Despite the fact that they acted not only against the will of the majority but also against the founding principles of this nation, we the people became complacent. Where was the outrage AFTER the bill had been passed? when Congress sent a blank check to the Secretary of the Treasury?

The price of getting our liberty for our founders was their life. The price of giving up our liberty for us is our apathy. Because of our lack of concern regarding the infringements of the government into our lives and our wallet, the liberty that was hard-earned and prized is slipping through our fingers, and shackles are being slipped onto our wrists. No longer do we live in an age in which one can rise from the shambles of poverty into the halls of prosperity on account of his mind. Washington is damning us. No longer do we live in an age in which one controls his own destiny. Government power and autonomy cannot coexist. So as Washington expands its financial authority our liberty diminishes.

What price do you put on liberty? What are you willing to pay? Do you stand with the patriots at the time of the War for Independence and value liberty as an inalienable right; that it would be better to die for freedom than to live in bondage? Or do you stand with the “patriots” of today, when paying higher taxes is a “duty” to help those in “need” so that government spending can be wasted on putting the economy on artificial life support? Where is the outrage, the same outrage that carried us through the Revolution against a tyrant?! The problem we the people face today is not much different than the problem this nation faced at its birth.

We must take a stand while we still have a chance! They may take away our money, but they cannot take away our voice! Rise up and be heard! Do not let your apathy be the price of your liberty!

Friday, November 21, 2008

"money is the root of all good"

this comes from ayn rand's book atlas shrugged.

Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, "Don't let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil – and he's the typical product of money."

Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Aconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor – your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions – and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made – before it can be looted or mooched – made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced.

"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except by the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss – the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery – that you must offer them values, not wounds – that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when men live by trade – with reason, not force, as their final arbiter – it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability – and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?

"But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality – the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.

"Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth – the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve that mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Money is your means of survival. The verdict which you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Or did you say it's the love of money that's the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It's the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is the loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money – and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.

"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another – their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.

"But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride, or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich – will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt – and of his life, as he deserves.

"Then you will see the rise of the double standard – the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money – the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law – men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims – then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'

"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.

"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while you're damning its life-blood – money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves – slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers – as industrialists.

"To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money – and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being – the self-made man – the American industrialist.

"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose – because it contains all the others – the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money'. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity – to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.

"Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters' continents. Now the looters' credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide – as, I think, he will.

"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns – or dollars. Take your choice – there is no other – and your time is running out."

original source: Part II, Section 2, pages 387-391 of the paperback

Thursday, November 6, 2008

capitalism and the financial crisis

another article by walter williams

There has always been contempt for economic liberty. Historically, our nation was an important, not complete, exception. It took the calamity of the Great Depression to bring about today's level of restrictions on economic liberty. Now we have another government-created calamity that has the prospect of moving us even further away from economic liberty with the news media and pundits creating the perception that the current crisis can be blamed on capitalism. We see comments such as those in the New York Times: "The United States has a culture that celebrates laissez-faire capitalism as the economic ideal. Or, "For 30 years, the nation's political system has been tilted in favor of business deregulation and against new rules." Another says, "Since 1997, Mr. Brown (the British Prime Minister) has been a powerful voice behind the Labor Party's embrace of an American-style economic philosophy that was light on regulation."

First, let's establish what laissez-faire capitalism is. Broadly defined, it is an economic system based on private ownership and control over of the means of production. Under laissez-faire capitalism, government activity is restricted to the protection of the individual's rights against fraud, theft and the initiation of physical force.

Professor George Reisman has written a very insightful article on his blog titled "The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis." ( You can decide whether we have in an unregulated laissez-faire economy. There are 15 cabinet departments, nine of which control various aspects of the U.S. economy. They are the Departments of: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Labor, Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior. In addition, there is the alphabet soup cluster of federal agencies such as: the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH, and NASA.

Here's my question to you: Can one be sane and at the same time hold that ours is an unregulated laissez-faire economy? Better yet, tell me what a businessman, or for that matter you, can do that does not involve some kind of government regulation. A businessman must seek government approval for the minutest detail of his operation or face the wrath of some government agency, whether it's at the federal, state or local level. Just about everything we buy or use has some kind of government dictate involved whether it's package labeling, how many gallons of water to flush toilets or what pharmaceuticals can be prescribed. You say, "Williams, there's a reason for this government control." Yes, there's a reason for everything but that does not change the fact that there is massive government control over our economy.

It is incorrect to say that laissez-faire or free markets are unregulated. There is ruthless regulation, but it's not by government. Take the mortgage industry. In the absence of government interference, it is unlikely that a lender would extend a mortgage to a person with a poor credit history, making no down payment, and providing no verifiable employment history. But under the pressure of the government's Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buying up or guaranteeing such mortgages, a lender will.

When businesses make unwise decisions that lead to bankruptcy, their assets are sold off to someone else who might be able to put them to wiser use. Government bailouts give businesses a reprieve that the market wouldn't give them. Bailouts have at least two effects. They permit continued unwise use of resources and it creates what economists call moral hazard, the expectation of future bailouts and others hopping on the bailout wagon.

The blame for our current financial mess rests with government, with the major player being the Federal Reserve Board keeping interest rates artificially low and the congressional and White House market interference in the name of more home ownership. In the clamor for more regulation over our financial institutions, has anybody bothered to ask whether people in government know what they're doing?

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


Thursday, October 30, 2008

progressive stagnation

Freedom is a universal value. Our human instinct is to be free, to act according to our own will, our own reason. This is the key to progression, for if we are not able to be agents unto ourselves there is no way for us to learn. We progress through a pattern of choices and consequences - reasoning, acting, seeing the result of that action, and drawing a conclusion from it. If we are not autonomous, either through an inability to choose or inability to receive a proper consequence, then we cannot progress. We cannot reach our full potential both as an individual and collectively as a society. Autonomy is the only way to allow each individual the inalienable right of the pursuit of happiness. Therefore, it is the government’s duty to maximize autonomy. But it is our duty to live autonomously. Even if the government was limited and granted us autonomy, if we do not take it and live according to our own will, it does us no good and we fail to break free.

In every choice there is an inherent consequence, which is a natural result of the choice. You cannot have one without the other. In fact, in many cases our expectations of the consequences sway our decisions. Often we choose to do something because we desire the consequence and not because we desire the choice itself. On the other hand, many of the mistakes we make come because of we don’t take into account the consequence of that choice. If we make decisions based on consequences, then when the consequences are taken away our decisions are skewed. In other words, when proper consequences do not follow its associated choices we really don’t have the ability to choose.

Thus, justice is required for freedom. Justice can be defined as, “the administering of deserved punishment or reward.” There cannot be freedom unless we receive a just reward for our choice, whether good or bad. Our government was created to “establish justice” as well as “secure the blessings of liberty.” We can see that the two are not mutually exclusive, but rather mutually inclusive. Freedom cannot exist in an unjust society, for justice is the foundation of freedom.

To preserve justice, and therefore freedom, sometimes it is necessary for government to act. The government is a common judge, establishing laws that prevent people from obstructing the rights of others. When an individual violates those laws, the just consequence would be to punish him, making government action requisite. If they fail to act justice is not met and freedom is destroyed. However, there are two kinds of laws: civil laws and natural laws. Although the government must executive justice in regard to civil law, it has no authority to act on violations of natural law. In fact, if the government attempts to execute “justice” on violators of natural law it inhibits the natural consequences to follow, thereby eliminating justice and dissolving freedom. In order for us to become a free and autonomous society we must stop the government from trespassing on natural consequences and limit it to acting only on violations of civil law.

Take the example of “spreading the wealth.” In a free and just society, hard work and innovation (good choice) should be rewarded with a higher salary (good consequence). Then, those that receive high wages to have the opportunity to voluntary help those around them (good choice), which will be rewarded with happiness (good consequence). Yet when those that succeed are heavily taxed, the good consequences for good choices are taken away. Where is the justice in that? Not only that, but they are “forced,” in a sense, to help those around them. It is no longer a matter of choice, and so because there is no choice there cannot be a consequence. Thus, motivation to do good and help others is diminished. The rich should not be forced into supporting the failing social programs of the nation, but rather should be persuaded to make the choice on their own. This is the only just way, and therefore the only way to preserve freedom.

Now take the other side, that of the poor. Through the government attempting to help them, they are done a disservice. The real solution is to allow them to face the natural consequences of their choices. This gives them an incentive to fix the problem and progress, rather than numbing the pain, giving them an incentive to NOT progress. Granted, everyone passes through rough times. There are some extenuating circumstances in which people truly need help. I will concede to this fact. However, the government has neither the authority nor the obligation to step in because this is not a violation of civil law. It remains our responsibility and our opportunity as citizens of the United States to help those around us in a way that will truly lift them up, put them on their own two feet, and get them going. This is much more than any government-run social program can do, and the rewards are much greater. Those who need help, while still feeling the just consequences, have enough support from their friends, family, and neighbors. Those who help, through making a good choice, receive a just reward.

With government intervention all that is lost. The poor remain poor with no incentive to leave, and the rich become poor to pay for the poor, who remain poor. We see a gradual progression toward stagnation. And that’s not the worst of it. With it comes the defeat of justice, a loss of personal responsibility, and a depletion of autonomy.

Maximizing autonomy should be the goal of the government. Men are free, and ought to be free in every aspect of life. At the same time we must take into consideration that no one has the right to take another’s freedom. Thus we see that our freedom is not supreme but there are some limitations to it. In order to secure this freedom government was established. This is the sole purpose of government: to allow all men the opportunity to exercise their freedom to the biggest extent possible while at the same time safeguarding it from being infringed by others. It was never established as a tool to “help” the underprivileged. That has been, is, and always should be our social responsibility. Shoving that to the government is nothing more than shirking from our duty.

The only way to progress is by maximizing autonomy, by allowing all men the opportunity to choose. But when all is said and done responsibility comes down to us. Even if the government tried to restore autonomy to the people, the people must receive that autonomy. If we continue to live in manner in which we run from responsibility we cannot achieve a state of progression, no matter what the government does. We the people must choose to act. Choose now to live autonomously. Choose now to help those around you. Take back your autonomy if the government won’t give it to you. Just as important as a political revolution is a social revolution, in which we the people rise up and act on our own accord, not depending on the government to tell us what to do. This is the only way to break free from the shackles of stagnation that has been placed upon us by the tyrannical democracy. The only way we can get back that autonomy is by starting now to live autonomously.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the tyrannical democracy

In the year 1776 a declaration was written that would change the world. It contained the principles that would be the foundation of the most influential political experiment of all time. It also contains the parameters of a legitimate government: one that is established to secure our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (property).
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such forms, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Herein lies the right of revolution for the American War for Independence. The monarch had become a tyrant, not securing these rights but destroying them, which justified our fight for liberty. But herein lies our current paradox as well. When the Revolutionary War was won a republican form of government was established, a government of the people, for the people, by the people. In other words, we the people are the government. So what happens when this republican form of government becomes illegitimate? How do we obtain our right and revolution, and against whom do we revolt?

The problem with democracy is that it tends to expand power, even more so than a monarchy. The expansion of power doesn’t come through a dictatorial takeover, but is a gradual process in which the people willingly delegate more and more of their personal liberty to a higher institution, hoping that in giving it power they will be given something in return. Here we see the fall of democracy, and its inescapable destiny to become a tyranny by the majority of the people, oppressing the minority and snatching the liberty of all.

Think about it. Every four years presidential candidates establish a party platform, creating an agenda of things they promise to the American people. When one of the candidates wins and takes office, they do so under the false pretense that they have received a “mandate” from the people to make sure their agenda gets pushed through Congress, and Congress should support the president’s agenda because it is the “will of people”. But since when is the president responsible for legislation? Isn’t that Congresses line of authority? The president has become an office of continued unconstitutionality. If you take a look through history you can see how the president has gradually usurped power from Congress, violating the checks and balanced put in place to limit the government from doing more than securing our inalienable rights. As of recent years, though, we can see that the government has clearly overstepped its bounds.

It is the sad case that power, once acquired, is seldom returned. We have seen over the past century the unconstitutional acquisition of executive power, and none of it has returned back to the people. Remember, in a republican form of government we the people should lead. Except for the powers mandated in the Constitution it is our power to keep. Today’s presidential mandate becomes tomorrow’s presidential power. Add that up over 200 years and we are staring into the face of a tyrant.

The reason why the government has been able to seize so much power from the people lies in valuing our individual self-interests over our individual inalienable rights. We have become a people who, instead of looking at which candidate will better preserve the Constitution, looks to a candidate who will give us more or what we want. We have the idea of “I will vote for the candidate whose unconstitutional agenda benefits me the most.” The quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” comes to mind. But we don’t think like that anymore. We are too concerned about what we can get from the government that we are forgetting what we lose: the principles that founded this nation upon which lies our success. If we abandon those we are left to fail. By the time we wake up and realize the monster we have created it will be too late. The power will be too much. We are setting ourselves up for the worst political disaster in the nation of the greatest political success. We will be unable to revolt, for we the people are the government in the sense that we determine who leads, and we cannot revolt against ourselves.

Therefore, a revolution must occur within us. The only way to fix this problem is to go to the source of the problem. We the people must change the way we govern, or rather the way we elect officials. We must accept responsibility for our actions and stop trying to pin everything on the government. In order to see the true rights we should have we must step outside our self interest. The government was not instituted as a good tool that should benefit the majority of the people. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “The government is not the solution to the problem; the government is the problem.” Or “That government which governs least governs best.” We don’t need to government to tell us what to do. I believe that we the people can act on our own will to help those around us, to fulfill our social responsibility. I believe that we the people have the ability within ourselves to cooperate with each other. I believe in the principles of limited government that founded this great nation, and I believe that we the people can rise up and stop this tyrant! Now is the time to act. Now is the age of our right to revolution.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

obama's 95% illusion

this is an opinion article found in the wall street journal 13 october, 2008. author unkown.

One of Barack Obama's most potent campaign claims is that he'll cut taxes for no less than 95% of "working families." He's even promising to cut taxes enough that the government's tax share of GDP will be no more than 18.2% -- which is lower than it is today.
It's a clever pitch, because it lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that he's also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%. But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of "tax cut."
For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals:

- A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make work pay" that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple.
- A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.
- A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).
- A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.
- An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.
- A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.
- A "clean car" tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.
Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.
The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.
The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is.
The political left defends "refundability" on grounds that these payments help to offset the payroll tax. And that was at least plausible when the only major refundable credit was the earned-income tax credit. Taken together, however, these tax credit payments would exceed payroll levies for most low-income workers.
It is also true that John McCain proposes a refundable tax credit -- his $5,000 to help individuals buy health insurance. We've written before that we prefer a tax deduction for individual health care, rather than a credit. But the big difference with Mr. Obama is that Mr. McCain's proposal replaces the tax subsidy for employer-sponsored health insurance that individuals don't now receive if they buy on their own. It merely changes the nature of the tax subsidy; it doesn't create a new one.
There's another catch: Because Mr. Obama's tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge "marginal" tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. As the nearby chart illustrates, the marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.
Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job. As public policy, this is contradictory. The tax credits are sold in the name of "making work pay," but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you're a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year. One mystery -- among many -- of the McCain campaign is why it has allowed Mr. Obama's 95% illusion to go unanswered.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

destroying liberty

this is an article by walter williams, a professor of economics at george mason university. in it, he hits key points spot on:

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned, "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." The freedom of individuals from compulsion or coercion never was, and is not now, the normal state of human affairs. The normal state for the ordinary person is tyranny, arbitrary control and abuse mainly by their own government. While imperfect in its execution, the founders of our nation sought to make an exception to this ugly part of mankind's history. Unfortunately, at the urging of the American people, we are unwittingly in the process of returning to mankind's normal state of affairs.

Americans demand that Congress spend trillions of dollars on farm subsidies, business bailouts, education subsidies, Social Security, Medicare and prescription drugs and other elements of a welfare state. The problem is that Congress produces nothing. Whatever Congress wishes to give, it has to first take other people's money. Thus, at the root of the welfare state is the immorality of intimidation, threats and coercion backed up with the threat of violence by the agents of the U.S. Congress. In order for Congress to do what some Americans deem as good, it must first do evil. It must do that which if done privately would mean a jail sentence; namely, take the property of one American to give to another.

According to a Washington Post article (6/22/05), there were nearly 35,000 highly paid registered lobbyists in Washington in 2004 who spent $2.1 billion lobbying the White House, Congress and various agencies on behalf of various interest groups. Political action committees, private donors and companies give billions of dollars to political campaigns. My question to you: Do you think that these people are spending billions of dollars to assist presidents and congressmen to better perform their sworn oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution? If you do, you're a fine candidate for a straitjacket. For the most part, the money is being spent to get politicians and government officials to use their coercive power to create a favor or special privilege for one American at the expense of some other American.

If we Americans didn't give Washington such enormous control over our lives, I doubt whether there would be 10 percent of the money currently spent on lobbying and campaign contributions. This enormous control that Congress has over our lives also goes a long way toward explaining much of the government corruption that we see in Washington.

If the average American were asked whether he wishes to return to mankind's normal state of affairs featured by arbitrary abuse, control and government dictates, I am sure he would find such a suggestion repulsive. But if you were to ask, say, the average senior citizen whether Social Security, Medicare and prescription drug subsidies should be continued, he would probably answer yes. The same would be true if you asked a college professor whether higher education should continue to be subsidized, or a farmer or a dairyman whether their products should be subsidized, or a manufacturer whether there should be tariffs and quotas on foreign products that compete with his product. The problem with congressmen producing favors and privileges to all interest groups is that it creates what none of us wants: massive control, numerous dictates and micromanagement of our lives.

There is no question that if one were to ask whether we Americans are moving towards more liberty or more government control over our lives, the answer would unambiguously be the latter -- more government control over our lives. We might have reached a point where the trend is irreversible and that is a true tragedy for if liberty is lost in America, it will be lost for all times and all places.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at