The Key to a Nation's Prosperity
Starting with a Small Example
The Bible tells us that some Christians lived communally. They shared everything. The Bible is silent on what happened next. A lot of people think that communal living is Christian and is the ideal.
Here is an experience a friend of mine had. She and her husband had something like six children. At some point, they decided they wanted to form a Christian commune. They moved to Tennessee or someplace similar. There were 45 people in the commune. However, the only person in the commune who was gainfully employed and did anything useful was my friend's husband. Everyone else lived off his earnings. After awhile, they quit in disgust and became Mennonites.
The truth is, communal living is contrary to human nature. It doesn't work. It hasn't worked throughout history. There is a reason why Christians in general do not live communally today. Instead, countries that try communism or socialism eventually discover that this system destroys incentive and productivity, and that the population as a whole pays a dear price. In an effort to keep such countries alive, leaders have often killed millions of people merely for dissenting. If the people have a work ethic, the situation may last awhile longer, but eventually it will fail.
Has there ever been a successful commune? Yes! The Farm, in Tennessee, run by Steven Gaskin, has existed since 1971, and they are still going strong. But there are some prerequisites. First, it has to be a community made up of people who volunteer to live there. Second, the people who get involved have to be people who naturally want to engage in some useful occupation, and have skills to contribute. Third, they have to have a charismatic leader, someone who can lead without being a tyrant, and whom people will follow simply because of their personality. Having a religion that everyone wholeheartedly believes that teaches communal living helps, too.
Here is their web site: The Farm
Why doesn't this work when tried by a nation? I hope to show you.
The Founders and Taxes
The people who wrote the Constitution specified that only excise taxes should be charged to anyone. Other taxes had to be apportioned among the states. They realized that taxing productivity would hurt the economy, and everyone would suffer.
One unfortunate thing is that the Founders did NOT make note of the fact that we are entitled to the right to property lawfully acquired. They put "the pursuit of happiness" in its place. The English had recognized the right to property, and because the Founders failed to include this in the Constitution, it was included in the Bill of Rights, but it also led to a rebellion, because people didn't have fee simple title to their land. At that time, America was a nation of farmers, so land was important to just about everyone. In fact, we are material beings. We require food, clothing, and shelter to survive. All of these things are produced on the land in one way or another. So only a nation of people tied to the land will be a prosperous and stable nation. The right to property has been steadily eroded ever since our nation was formed, and it shows. We have more irresponsible people who won't settle down and be productive than we ever had. There are so many taxes we don't even know all the taxes we are paying, and we don't know how much of our money goes for taxes, and how much is left over to allow us to provide for ourselves.
Taxes drive manufacturing companies overseas and destroy jobs. Taxes are often a family's biggest expense. Because of taxes, it is very difficult to accumulate enough money to send your kids to college, which means someone else will end up paying for their education, and that means more taxes for somebody in most cases. Many mothers work solely for the purpose of paying the family's taxes, and that means they can't stay home with the children if they want to. It has been shown that children whose mothers stay home with them (or fathers, as the case may be) are more responsible citizens, which means fewer slothful people, and less "need" for people to pay taxes to take care of those who refuse to take care of themselves.
The Founders were wise. Excise taxes are only levied on people who buy stuff. This means if you don't have the means to buy stuff, you don't get taxed. It is good for the poor. When the government causes food to be tax free, as it is in my state, this further helps the poor. I would like our country to go back to excise taxes, but exempt food, used clothing and cars, and supplements and medicines. Services aren't taxed either, only goods.
There are those who have advocated the Fair Tax. This tax is said to be designed to eliminate all income taxes, and tax all sales. This would be fine if necessities are exempted. I don't think they will be. One advantage of sales taxes is that you know how much you are paying. Some people want a Value Added Tax (VAT). This tax is a bad idea because it conceals taxes and is an accounting nightmare. It would be more expensive to implement. You want to keep the implementation of taxes as low as possible. Sales taxes make more sense because stores are already set up to charge sales tax. It would remove the cost of administering the income tax, without adding appreciably to the costs for administering sales tax.
The Use of Taxes
Our Constitution specifies certain duties that the federal government has. Primarily, it has the duty to protect the nation from aggression from other nations, and to keep peace among the states. It has the duty to encourage and foster commerce between the states. It also has the duty to build post roads so mail can be delivered. There are very few duties the government has, and there are also very few authorities the government has.
When the people begin to vote themselves all sorts of unearned benefits, they begin to erode the will of the productive, and this leads to the erosion of the tax base. As more and more people become slothful because they don't have to work, the burden becomes greater for those who remain productive. Unless a society has a culture that has a strong work ethic, this will lead to universal poverty fairly quickly.
The Bible says that he who does not work should not eat. I would only make exceptions for those too young to work, or too disabled. Even children should help around the house or farm, however. The Bible makes a lot of sense with this statement.
The responsibility for taking care of the needy belongs to the church. The government simply cannot do charity. They cannot determine who really needs and deserves it. When they try, they just make a large number of nonsensical regulations that help no-one. Furthermore, it is in the government's best interest to keep people dependent. That way, bureaucrats keep their jobs, and the people responsible for these schemes get more votes, from people who want a hand-out.
I maintain that for government to do charity is a violation of my First Amendment right to freedom of religion. It is my responsibility to help the needy, in person, with love, in the name of Jesus. When government confiscates my charitable money, I am not allowed to do any of these things. It is time we asserted our First Amendment rights to have our right to perform charity according to our faith protected and preserved.
These Books Explain It Best
These are about economics and government ethics.
Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
by Henry Hazlitt
by Frederic Bastiat
The Law is available for free in its entirety on the internet. I don't know about Hazlitt's book, but it is available at Amazon.
The Most Insidious Tax
I know most Americans won't agree with this, but the WORST tax from the standpoint of freedom is the property tax. I urge them to re-think their failure to recognize this.
Property tax is levied on property with no attention paid to whether or not the property owner has the means to pay it. Some people acquire a home by inheritance, or they buy and pay for a home while they are working, and then they go on Social Security. If you don't pay your property tax, they'll take your home without compensation and toss you out into the street. That is a violation of the clause in the Bill of Rights that says property shall not be taken without just compensation. Things have gotten so bad that the Supreme Court (Kelso v. New London) decided that a community government has the right to take property through eminent domain simply because they can sell it to a private developer who will build and cause the value of the property to climb so they can take more in taxes.
Imagine living in the home you grew up in, becoming old and frail, and then having your home taken from you because you can no longer pay the property taxes.
The way in which the property tax operates essentially means that we have NO right to property whatsoever. The government owns everything. You get to stay in the home you bought and paid for ONLY if you pay the RENT.
And by the way, even people who rent apartments pay property taxes. The apartment buildings are taxed, and the landlord has no choice but to pass the cost on to the renters. If he didn't, he'd go out of business. So property taxes are also hard on the poor.
This is a place where even libertarians really get confused. There is a group running around calling itself "Georgians" that think no person has a right to own land. Since there is a limited amount of land, you should pay rent to everyone else for the parcel you hold. This is socialism of the worst kind. When they took farmland from the peasants in the Soviet Union and turned it over to a collective, all of the incentive to feed one's family and others was lost. The result was mass starvation.
The United States issues land patents, which is the first title to land. When a person fulfills the conditions for the patent, he is given a land patent that says that he owns the land, as well as his heirs and assigns forever. There is no authority in the land patent for taxing the land, and the Supreme Court (Leo Sheep Company v. US and Summa Corp. v. California) has stated that unless there is language in the patent granting an authority to do something to the land, the government has NO authority to do it. None of the land patents grant the authority to tax the land.
The land patent is also called "allodial title". This means there are no feudal duties on the land. Property taxes are a feudal duty.
Property taxes are unconstitutional and contrary to federal law.
The Use of Property Taxes
Property taxes are used to pay for local services such as police, fire, courts, and so forth, and for the public schools. The amount of money collected for all purposes other than public schools is a small percentage of the total, as a general rule. So most of the taxes go to pay for schools.
People are just starting to realize this is a bad bargain. The public schools are not educating children. On the national level, 1/3 of the students drop out of school before graduating. 1/3 of them graduate functionally illiterate. Instead of educating, schools waste time on many things that undermine parental teaching. It is getting worse and worse. I remember years ago that parents protested some new form of sex education. I went to one of the board meetings. The hall was stuffed, and there were more people waiting outside. The board spent most of its time awarding each other various awards. They let ONE woman speak, who had signed up the day before, and then they announced there was no more time, and ended the meeting. Nothing changed. The parents lost. This thing has been repeated ad nauseum for years. People still think they can rescue and reform the public schools. Forget it. They are beyond repair. They get your money by force, and they have no accountability.
Conservatives need to realize that public schools are educational welfare. When people take educational welfare, even though they would not take any other kind of welfare, they're still feeding at the public trough. He who has the gold makes the rules.
Public schools violate everyone's First Amendment rights. They need to be shut down.
Supply Side Economics Works
President Ronald Reagan lowered the income tax rates drastically, and the economy took off like a rocket. This will work for continued reduction in taxes for awhile, until the rate gets too low, but we have a long ways to go before reaching that point. Why does this work? It is because when fewer taxes are collected, the money circulates more times. Each time it circulates, taxes are collected. Tax revenue goes UP instead of down.
Let's look at an individual case. Let's say a man earns $100. $30 goes to the government in income taxes. That money does not get taxed in that transaction. The tax revenue from that money is lost. Most of that money will go into the hands of welfare recipients. They don't pay taxes, either. So another transaction goes untaxed. But the man takes the other $70 and spends it on something. That money gets taxed, because the recipient will pay taxes on it. That recipient in turn will use part of that money (minus taxes) to spend on something else, and the new recipient will also pay taxes. The lower the tax rate, the more times the money circulates in a given length of time. Tax revenues go up.
Lower taxes also mean more jobs. A rich person who doesn't pay a lot of taxes either spends the money or invests it. Say he buys a yacht. The recipient of the money he paid for the yacht will pay taxes on the money. The people who built the yacht have a job. They pay taxes on their salaries. Say the rich man puts some of it into savings. This money will be loaned out to people who will spend it, and the recipient of that money will pay taxes on it. Say he invests some of it. He now will hire some people. Each person he hires will spend some of their salary, and the money will get taxed.
It doesn't matter how rich or poor you are. You pay income taxes on your money, and that money is now out of circulation. You buy stuff with your money, and it gets taxed again. Even the poor buy stuff, and the recipient of the money pays taxes. The rich generate more tax revenue by spending, investing, or hiring people.
Anybody who doesn't understand this is not qualified to be a public official.
Government Managing Tax Money
Government is very wasteful because they can get away with it. Suppose that some of this money will be used for welfare. 50% of this money goes to the bureaucrats who manage the system. Only 50% of it gets into the hands of the needy or slothful. If a private charity spent 50% of what they collect on administrative costs, the leaders would be in prison. Government gets away with it. What does giving half of it to bureaucrats do? Primarily, it means that they fill out lots and lots of paperwork, and that means cutting down trees. Even environmentalists should be opposed to government managing welfare.
Government duplicates efforts. They create new agencies constantly, and these usually duplicate each other's work. This is more inefficiency.
If that weren't bad enough, the recipients are dehumanized by the process, and are even less likely to become productive citizens.
We started seeing our economy decline as each step of increased government was enacted. It has now reached a crisis point. Can it be salvaged? Maybe. The only chance we have is to stop all this taxation and spending NOW. We need to lower taxes and get rid of the inefficiency of government.
Reagan actually had some very good ideas. One of them was to cut $1 off the welfare payment of a person for every $2 he earned. This meant they had incentive to find a job, and gradually to leave the welfare system.
I would also like to see a freeze on hiring bureaucrats, and incentives for people to leave government and get private jobs. It is estimated that each bureaucrat kills 80 jobs. Hard to believe, but when you look at the figures, it's there in plain sight.
Vote for the person who pledges to lower taxes. Vote for the person who means it, not the person who says whatever the voters want to hear and then goes off and finds ways to raise taxes and the national debt anyway.
I never quite figured out what they meant by corporate welfare. Well, I think I got a pretty good grasp of it lately. It means giving corporations our tax money, to do something the government wants, or to salvage them from bankruptcy. Most left-leaning people despise corporate welfare, as well they should, until recently. Now suddenly it is acceptable. I disagree.
The new health care law means massive amounts of corporate welfare for pharmaceutical companies. Nobody else will be better off. In fact, it has been shown that socialized medicine hurts patients. They have to wait longer for necessary care. And this law is socialized medicine. Make no mistake about it. They have had socialized medicine in Canada for awhile. People have to wait so long for heart and cancer operations they just die instead. So people who can afford it come to the United States for care. What will they do now that we have socialized medicine, too?
I know a woman who lives in Canada. She was able to walk right into a hospital and get a second trimester abortion, but had to wait six months for a root canal.
Abortion always seems to be top priority. Now certain public officials want to force us to pay for other women's abortions, whether we want to or not. Abortion kills the workers who would help our economy boom. There have been actual studies done of what happens to an economy when the birth rate drops. It hurts the economy. Abortion causes the birth rate to drop. Q.E.D.
The health care law ignores those of us who don't want to take toxic patent medicines. They'll tax us because we don't buy health insurance we won't use, which means we won't be able to afford the care we choose. I think they want to drive us out of the market, and then the pharmaceutical companies will just get more corporate welfare.
If you are going to get me to take poisonous drugs, you will have to hog tie me and shove them down my throat. In the meantime, I am outraged I have to pay for other people to poison themselves.
Who Should Be Allowed to Vote?
I hold that only American citizens who are NOT receiving welfare should be allowed to vote.
Senior Citizens paid for their Social Security. They were compelled to do so. Contrary to popular belief, Social Security is not welfare. I am outraged to be compelled into this system. But when we pay for our own benefits, we still deserve the right to vote.
People should not have the power to plunder the taxpayer through their votes, putting people into office who will increase taxes and welfare spending.
Let's lower taxes and fix the economy. With the raising of more tax revenue, we can start to pay off the national debt. Let's shut down all unconstitutional agencies. Let's get those people working in the private sector. Let's reduce regulations and taxes on companies so they'll bring the jobs home. Then we will lower the deficit.
You know what to do, and how to explain it. Your assignment is to go act on what you have learned. :) Your children's and grandchildren's lives depend on it. If you want prosperity for them, practice supply side economics.
These are two college courses that go into the United States Constitution in depth. They are free, and donations are accepted. I have taken part of one of the courses, and found it well worthwhile. If you really want to understand the Constitution, these courses will help. They also go into the history behind the Constitution.
- Hillsdale College - Online Constitution Courses
Â Â Welcome to Hillsdale College's Online Constitution Courses!Â Constitution 201 is a new 10-week online course examining American progressivism: its historical roots and principles; its rejection of America's founding principles and Constitution;
- The Law by Bastiat
If you don't want to buy a print copy, here is an online copy.