Why we lose our property

One of the most sacrosanct beliefs in a libertarian society is the free right to own property. In the most fundamental sense, this property includes personal possessions such as land, homes, automobiles, and other sundry valuables accumulated over time by an individual or family unit.  In almost in all cases, this private property is obtained from the fruits of ones’ labor; from participation in free market transactions whether from traditional manufacturing – selling of products, by delivering services and expert advice to someone willing to freely purchase them, or even by speculatively investing where one’s original investment is smaller than the final price obtained when the investment is sold.

How much fruit one obtains in a free society is often distributed unequally within the society and is dependent on a multitude of factors including hard work, skill, education, knowledge, experience, and even plain luck.

For some reason, statists despise the inequality of free markets and the fact that someone can be very successful and accumulate significant wealth by conducting free market commence.  To combat this undesirable feature of a capitalist society,  statists have created two large classes of the populace who can be ‘fed’ via the taxation or theft from all wage earners, even those who work within the statist system.  (Very strange, they give money to someone who works for the state and then tax them to pay for their and other government employees’ wages)

The first class to receive the benefits of redistribution of wealth are government employees. Now mind you, many of these employees provide value to society but given their relegation to being employed by the state instead of the private sector they become a protected class that must be supported by the forcible confiscation of wealth (fruits of one’s labor) from workers.

According to the census bureau’s Government Employment and Payroll measure, the number of federal, state, and local civilian government employees and their gross monthly payroll for March of the survey year can be found at. Survey of Public Employment and Payroll website >>

The number within this class is large and as of March of 2015, there are 14,425,359 people drawing wages via the forced taxation of private property.

The other class of people are those who are made dependent on the state for some portion of their existence.  These people receive the fruits of someone’s labor via programs like:

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Housing Assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • General Assistance (GA)

“Approximately 52.2 million (or 21.3 percent) people in the U.S. participated in major means-tested government assistance programs each month in 2012, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. “

One final thought to ponder. Do you think these two protected classes (Government employees and people receiving means tested benefits) will ever support changes to our statist system?

 

 

Statism Does Not Work

This morning’s headlines are further proof that the state is strangling economic growth.  A modern economic system will not grow when there are high rates of taxation (federal, state, and local) coupled with burdensome regulations on business. We have seen this phenomena quite visibly in our nation’s lack of economic growth for the past eight plus years.  Some of the problem with our nation’s blindness or unwillingness to see this is the fourth estate’s coverage of facts but the sin also rests at the foot of those Americans who do not take the time to be educated on what is happening at a macro level with our economy.

U.S. Economy Expands at Slowest Pace in Three Years

This situation bodes the question, when will Americans say enough is enough?

 

 

 

An Outstanding Assessment

A very insightful piece from Simon Black.  I cannot add to this but to say, Mr. Black is spot on with his assessment of Americans today.

https://www.sovereignman.com/trends/new-poll-record-number-of-americans-want-more-government-in-their-lives-21388/?inf_contact_key=bca43013ae3658dd22297fe0e5837999bd3b2e4d6f6b2a81a9955af064c21ad9

April 24, 2017
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

In a poll conducted a few days ago by NBC News / Wall Street Journal, a record 57% of Americans responded that they want MORE government in their lives, and that the government should be doing more to solve people’s problems.

That’s the highest percentage since they started asking this question in 1995.

In fact, 57% is nearly double what people responded in the mid-90s.

Furthermore, the number of Americans who feel the opposite, i.e. responded that the government is doing too many things that should be left to private businesses and individuals, fell to a near record-low 39%.  

Bottom line: people want more government.

It’s hard to even know where to begin with this.

First- more government is nearly an impossibility.

As I’ve written several times in the past, the US federal government already spends almost all of its tax revenue on mandatory entitlements like Social Security, and interest on the debt.

They could literally cut nearly everything we think of as government– national parks, Homeland Security, even the IRS– and still not make a dent in paying down the national debt.

According to the US government’s own financial statements, their net operating loss in 2016 was an unbelievable $1.05 TRILLION.

Think about that– they lost more than a trillion dollars in a completely unremarkable year.

They weren’t waging world war, funding a major infrastructure project, or dealing with an economic crisis.

It was just business as usual. And they STILL lost over a trillion dollars.

More government is going to cost even more money that they don’t have… which means even more debt and even more pain in the future.

The usual refrain is to pay for more government programs by raising taxes on the rich, or big corporations, or whoever the evil villain du jour is.

Anyone who thinks this actually works needs to study history.

Simply put, RAISING TAXES DOES NOT RAISE TAX REVENUE.

I wish every Bernie Sanders voter could understand this very simple fact:

Since the end of World War II, US federal government tax revenue as a percentage of GDP has been nearly constant at 17%.

In other words, while the actual dollar amount of tax revenue goes up every year due to inflation and economic expansion, the government’s slice of the total economic pie is 17%.

Yet during the previous eight decades, actual -tax rates- have been all over the board– sometimes rates were higher, sometimes rates were lower.

Back in 1963, for example, the highest marginal tax rate on individuals exceeded an unbelievable 90%.

I’m sure there are plenty of Americans who would love to see the wealthiest citizens paying 90% again.

Yet in 1963, even with rates that high, the total amount of tax revenue that the US government collected was 16.7% of GDP.

In 1988 when the highest tax rate was slashed to just 28% under Ronald Reagan, total tax revenue 17.3% of GDP.
 
It doesn’t matter if tax rates were high or low– the actual tax revenue that the government collects stays constant at around 17% of GDP.

This raises a point that these socialists never seem to understand:

If the government’s slice of the pie never seems to change no matter how high or how low tax rates are, shouldn’t they focus on making the pie bigger?

Duh.

And it seems intuitive that higher taxes obstruct economic growth (i.e. make the pie smaller) because there’s less money in people’s pockets to spend and invest.

Then, of course, we have to touch on the issue of competence.

It’s absurd to want a government that has a nearly interminable track record of overreach, waste, and failure, to be even MORE involved in people’s lives.

We’re talking about the same institution that wastes taxpayer money to study monkeys on treadmills…

… or spent $1 billion to destroy $16 billion worth of perfectly good ammunition…

… or $2 billion to build a website.
 
It’s extraordinary that these people are already in charge of educating our children, regulating our savings, and now our medical care.

It’s even more appalling that given such dismal performance people want more.

As the old saying goes, the classic definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

A final point I’ll mention is that it’s concerning to see people in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave expect the government to solve their problems.

What ever happened to self-reliance? The pioneering spirit? Good ole’ American can-do ingenuity?

In truth there are countless ways for a motivated person to solve problems. Or at least to make forward progress.

For example, to all these kids that have their hands out demanding free university education, I always ask the same questions:

How many books did you read in the last twelve months?

How many FREE online courses from Harvard and MIT did you take?

Are you actually doing anything to help yourself? Or are you just whining on social media about how no one is giving you anything for free?

America was founded as a place where people take responsibility for themselves.

But this now seems to be an outdated, minority view.

The Land of the Free is truly becoming the Land of Getting Free Stuff.

 

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black

Founder, SovereignMan.com

Basic economic laws should not be thwarted

In the United States of America, the state continues to deploy failed policies that violate basic economic principles to the detriment of the entire society it seeks to control.   This failure can be seen in America’s Welfare State and progressive income tax program. The former subsidizes individual actions and life styles that can contribute to poverty and the later discourages income and wealth generation. Simply put, basic praxeology shows us when you subsidize something you will get more of it. Tax and regulate something you get less of it.

Since the amalgamation of the Revenue Act of 1916 and FDR’s New Deal, (in which the state used taxation, targeted subsidization, and regulation in an attempt to alleviate and or mitigate its definition of poverty among its citizens), the state began to extremely violate the aforementioned basic principles of human behavior.

In FDR’s “First New Deal” (1933–34), many programs were instituted using state subsidies to pay people who did not work and create new regulations for the banking and industrial sector which increased their moral hazard in an attempt to combat the impact and causes of the Great Depression.

FDR’s “Second New Deal” (1935–38) went further and fully institutionalized state involvement in the nation’s personal behavior in an attempt to address the effects of the ongoing economic crisis.  Programs such as Social Security and the Fair Labor Standards Act would change America forever.

The state, in its infinite wisdom, seeing less than satisfactory results from FDR’s New Deal, thirty years later further increased its involvement in Americans’ personal lives with new programs, subsidies, and taxes during LBJ’s Great Society.

Our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it. No single piece of legislation, however, is going to suffice.”
– President Lyndon Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Recently, according to the 2014 House Budget Committee Report, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later the state’s return on investment has been less than satisfactory.  Below are some conclusions from the report showing failure of the state to eliminate poverty by not understanding basic human behavior:

The War on Poverty at a Glance
Despite trillions of dollars in spending, poverty is widespread:
• In 1965, the poverty rate was 17.3 percent. In 2012, it was 15 percent.
• Over the past three years, “deep poverty” has reached its highest level on record.
• About 21.8 percent of children live below the poverty line.1
In can be no surprise the state has failed to eliminate poverty if one understands the basics tenets of human behavior and the fundamental principles of economics.   The state’s policy violates them. Government programs targeted at poverty reduction/elimination encourage more poverty by encouraging a person to continue their current situation of being in poverty — receive payments and subsidies for having lower income, receive payments and subsidies for not working, receive payments and subsidies for having more dependents, receive payments and subsides for not completing high school, receive payments and subsides for not living a healthy lifestyle, etcetera.
The state also discourages work and thus wealth generation with its onerous job killing regulations which make it more costly for employers and entrepreneurs to create jobs and thus new wealth.
Additionally, the progressive tax system reduces the incentive to generate new wealth as its marginal income tax rates and capital gains taxes punish those who generate more earned income and investment generated wealth.
The state could easily rectify the current situation by eliminating all subsidies to individuals and corporations and stop taxing income and wealth.
1. “War on Poverty.” Http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/war_on_poverty.pdf. United States House of Representatives , 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 8 Apr. 2017.

Can anyone dispute these statements?

 Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University and well known liberty loving commentator who has long spoke of the injustice of taxation and links it to state sponsored robbery.  His view can be validated in the following statement.

“Government income redistribution programs produce the same result as theft. In fact, that’s what a thief does; he redistributes income. The difference between government and thievery is mostly a matter of legality.”

Can anyone argue that one does not pay taxes under threat of punishment by the federal government?  Imagine, if you refused to pay the state. At best, you would be fined and at worst, you would be both fined and jailed.

Thomas Sowell, another brilliant economist and liberty loving commentator also spoke of the questionable action by the state when they take the fruits of labor from one hard-working individual and give it to another.  https://i1.wp.com/mccluresmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/thomas-sowell-mcclures-magazine-659x412.jpg

“What do you call it when someone steals someone else’s money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else’s money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else’s money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice”.

Are there any flaws in Williams’ or Sowell’s theses?

I was wrong, some places in America are totalitarian already

Leftist-statist fascism is in the news daily and there is no more non-tolerant place than American college campuses. These left leaning institutions have always supported state control of the economy and redistribution policy however, since the 2016 election, the statists have moved to a proscription against speech and freedom of association.

This contagion has spread beyond the traditional east and west coast statist bastions to small lower tier educational institutions in the Midwest.

A story on ZeroHedge,  Conservative Students “Violently Threatened” At Lutheran College

spoke of a situation that could have been reported in 1930s Nazi Germany.  This story is upsetting to any freedom loving American but it gets worse. There is a strong move among these same statists to create an economic crisis by not paying their obligations and then, get taxpayers to foot the bill for their obligated student loan debt.

Students Demand “Sanctuary” From Immigration Laws, Student Loan Debt, And Finals

The First Crack: $270 Billion In Student Loans Are At Least 30 Days Delinquent

Next Mega-Bailout On Deck: White House Studying “New Bankruptcy Options” For Student-Loan Borrowers

At 108 US Colleges, More Than Half Of Students Haven’t Paid Even $1 On Their Student Loans

The Student Loan Write-offs Have Begun: 78,000 Students File For Debt Discharge After Corinthian Closures

24% Of Millennials “Expect” Student Loan Forgiveness

“Cancel All Student Debt” – The Petitions Begin

To correct this we must remove the state from any and all influence in higher education and enforce the rights expressed in the US Constitution. Failure to do so will result in a loss of freedom and a very large tax bill to bailout students by paying off their debt.

I am in awe

While reading quotes of our nation’s founders, I am in complete awe of their wisdom prescience. Let me highlight a few I like.

The source is: http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/quotes/govt.html

My comment: This quote could speak to the last few people occupying the Oval Office

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”
–H.L. Mencken, the Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

My Comment: Madison is foretelling the welfare state which has been a destructive force in America since the days of FDR.

“The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
— James Madison, speech in the House of Representatives, January 10, 1794

My Comment: Jefferson is spot on regarding the current situation. 

“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.”
— Thomas Jefferson

My Comment: Jefferson is predicting the problem of Judicial Activism.

“…the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”
— Thomas Jefferson

My Comment: Franklin told us about the Welfare State years ago and yet, here we are today with millions on the public dole.

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
— Benjamin Franklin

My Comment: Webster highlights the need for the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

“The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.” .”
— Noah Webster

My Comment: Madison warns of the creeping behemoth of the Federal Government.

“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
— James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 16, 1788

My Comment: A prediction of the power grab (production of others) to fund the elites’ power.

“We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute.”
— Thomas Paine