The state of the world is undoubtedly disturbing. Our President has proposed that the Federal Government become involved in mortgages, the United Nations is considering more foreign adventures, and Europeans are still attempting to prevent Greece from defaulting on its crushing debt from decades of socialist policies. Many wonder, “How did we (the West) get here?” True, most European nations have never been what the United States was at its founding. But, it is not only Europe that has strayed far. The United States is among the worst, considering the basic principles of the Founders. So, how did we get here? How did our nation go from the personification of classical liberal ideas to the government funding shrimp on treadmills? The answer is really quite simple.
I believe that it is wise to boil issues down to their core—to their gist. This applies to every issue, and those of the government are no exception. Even in terms of problems relating to the government, this is not difficult. While I am not downplaying some of the complexities inherent to politics, nor dumbing this down; this matter is easily “boiled down.”
What has enabled the government to go from being the protector of liberties to the watchers of walking shrimp and violators of liberty? What is the root cause of all of this? Money.
If the government is able to do such frivolous and evil things (in the case of infringing upon liberties) through their steady supply of money, then what shall happen if they no longer had such money? Elementary logic: they shall no longer be able to do such things. The only other alternative would be to use slave labor to continue such, which is not likely, nor ethical.
The sudden jump in the government’s wrong actions took place in the last ninety years (though the actions of the Federal Government before this were far from perfect). This was facilitated by an increased government revenue from the progressive income tax (note the word “progressive”). Again, this is merely logical. And, it is also logical that the more power (and money) a government has, it will always abuse it. Idealists will cry foul, but it is the case. If governments should be omnipotent, then why are not all governments such? This would be certainly much more simple than putting up checks and balances, ensuring liberties are respected, and crippling the government (in a good way) to prevent tyranny. Unlimited government control has been tried in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, China, and countless other places. It always fails miserably. Is this not enough evidence to defeat the eternal idealists?
Without such an increased revenue, this enabled the government to pursue Progressive programs. Again, this would not have been possible if there was not a spike in revenue. This clearly shows that, after the implementation of the income tax, government revenue greatly rose. If the government had never had such extra money, they would never have dreamed of putting into place far left policies, such as the New Deal.
Since we are on the topic of the income tax, there is something that should be said about it — chiefly, that it is robbery. Or, to put in the words of the economist Frederic Bastiat, “legalized plunder.” It is perfectly understandable that some taxes be paid in order to keep a government running. After all, we as citizens have entered into a social contract (i.e. the constitution) with the government. But, the income tax, like other taxes, has gone far beyond a small “fee” to keep the government running. If we are to take two people, Jack and Jill, and place them in a similar situation, the position of legalized plunder is apparent. Jack and Jill have entered into a contract (a constitution), in which Jack agrees to provide Jill with safety from attack and protect her liberties. And, in doing this, Jack must be a paid a small fee (taxes). If, suddenly, Jack demands that Jill give him a percentage of her income, and he will use force against her if she does not. This is clearly robbery. If this is wrong, then why is it right for the government to do so?
All of the evils of government can be traced back to giving them more money. In the government taking more money, it has grown to the behemoth that it currently is. The overreaching leviathan state has been shown time and again to fail and injure liberties. There is no reason why the government “needs” to be so expansive, and, subsequently, there is no reason that it requires so much money. This is why the issue of taxes is so important. When left with only the money needed to maintain a government of the Founders’ model, the machinations of tyranny will only be an absurd pipe dream. In such a situation, the only other option for the statists would be open slavery and robbery (though the income tax has been shown to be thinly veiled robbery). The results of such enslavement and plunder (if the public was aware) would be mass-outrage, far beyond a scale ever seen before. Thus, we want to end government putting shrimp on treadmills, among countless other more sinister things, taxes must be addressed.