The Comeback

Only principles will bring America back.

Becoming aware of, accepting, and living by a certain set of transcendent principles is the only way a society maintains cohesion. Doing so provides a solid, consistent, constant foundation that generates an environment of predictability – that in the basic interactions necessary for a civil society to exist, each member of that society knows what to expect from others in that society.

One of the first principles that must be adopted is from the Biblical Ten Commandments – “thou shalt not steal.”

Of course, most of society knows and respects this commandment. We don’t (at least on a regular basis) go over to our neighbor and take his lawn mower to keep for our own use. We don’t run down to the Wells Fargo on the corner and hold them up – not only because we would be arrested but because for generations, western culture has taught that thievery is a bad thing. Taking from others without their permission is not a behavior we expect, we expect others to leave our stuff alone – and if they don’t, to preserve our system of civil society, we have prescribed both criminal and civil punishments for those acts. Stealing is defined as a crime against the individual and the society as a whole – the individual is harmed through the loss of property and society is harmed because the solid, consistent, constant foundation mentioned earlier is chipped.

But when it comes to government, this principle is thrown away – at least by a growing segment of American society. I liken what has become the norm to insurance fraud. If a person files a bogus claim and collects a sum of money they were not legitimately entitled to, they usually rationalize it by thinking that they aren’t hurting anyone because the insurance company is paying and they have plenty of money. Truthfully, they are hurting every person who paid for a policy issued by that company. It is the same with government. In a sense, people who receive shares of taxpayer funds or funding provided by public debt beyond what the Constitution allows are also in a sense, defrauding other taxpayers.

In this, I include more than welfare recipients – the community using federal block grant money to build bike paths, companies that receive tax breaks, corporations that receive subsidies or “set-asides”, providing services to illegal aliens and even seniors who are given entitlement programs are all part of this group. Even the new idea that health care is a “right” that must be paid for by government effects all of us – theft of taxpayer money touches all.

How is this rationalized? The same way as the insurance fraudster rationalizes his fraud – it’s not hurting anybody because the government has a lot of money and it must be OK or they wouldn’t give it to me.

Wrong.

This isn’t a victimless crime and government only gives to get political support. If you remember nothing, remember this – the government has nothing but which it first takes from someone else. The money you receive in your government check came from someone else. This is true even in Social Security – benefits have far outstripped what we pay in, so current taxpayer is paying the bills for our retirement (just as your money went to pay for prior retiree benefits). SS is no longer a retirement program, it is a wealth transfer program.

All government spending impacts all citizens. The national debt has an impact on the financial markets and how much everyone pays to borrow money. Income tax burdens are increasing on corporations and they pass that increase on to consumers in the price of the goods. Individual income taxes are increasing on a shrinking pool of taxpayers and even people who don’t pay income taxes still must pay payroll taxes, property taxes and sales taxes.

In the end, people who receive anything from government must ask themselves thus: by what right do I receive this money? Take people who receive subsidies for Obamacare for example – I hate to break it to the general public but if the answer to that question begins with “I want”, “I deserve”, “they gave it to me” or it is simply because your breath can fog a mirror, it is not your right to receive these benefits.

Until we can see government largess for what it is, nothing changes.

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