Kellogg column: Declaration of Independence makes case for making America great again
As president, Donald Trump promises to “make America great again.” Over 240 years ago, colonists cast off an overbearing British empire and established a nation founded on individual liberty. Unfortunately, the U.S. government has expanded at the expense of citizens’ rights and American exceptionalism.
To salvage greatness for America, Mr. Trump will need to subdue a political culture in Washington, D.C., that has reverted to the behavior of the monarchy expelled by our forebears.
The Declaration of Independence was the founders’ response to “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations” by a king who intended “the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.” American colonists fought a war to “abolish” a government that was destructive to their “unalienable rights.”
When freedom was won, state delegates deliberately drafted the Constitution to establish a government with power to guarantee the rights of citizens and the limitations of a republic subject to their will.
Onerous taxes and trade restrictions are among King George’s offenses listed by the declaration. High taxes benefited a debt-laden monarchy and impoverished colonists. The English government also regulated imports, controlling markets and creating monopolies for favored British companies. When independence was won, the Constitution gave Congress authority to regulate trade and assess taxes for our “common defense and general well-being.” Our forebears knew that free markets and reasonable taxes foster prosperity.
Today, the federal government has amassed $20 trillion in debt. It levies income and payroll taxes of 30-40 percent on typical working families. The corporate tax rate of 35 percent pushes domestic industries out of the country. Government double dips by taxing capital gains on investments and interest earned on savings. Regulations, subsidies and mandates manipulate markets for favored industries and drive up costs for consumers.
President Trump must lead the charge to reduce taxes and remove punitive regulations. Jobs that pay well depend on American businesses that are profitable in a global market.
Another grievance in the Declaration was “obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners.” The British Empire used immigration policy to manipulate the political influence of the colonies. This also adversely affected the workforce and wages. After the revolution, the Constitution gave Congress the power “To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.” The founders wanted to ensure immigration policy would promote assimilation into American culture, preserving our values and ideals.
The current trend of illegal immigration marginalizes the importance of American culture, language and borders. Government also discourages self-reliance among immigrants, creating dependent subclasses of people who are simply voting blocs.
President Trump must ensure “that the laws be faithfully executed” firmly, fairly and equitably for every would-be immigrant. The United States is strong and prosperous because we are united into one nation with a common language, a distinct culture rooted in independence, and clearly defined borders.
The Declaration also deemed King George guilty of erecting “a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people.” A flood of British officials, including military, increasingly asserted control of all aspects of colonial life under the guise of enforcing the law. Poorly paid British soldiers took the jobs of the colonists, invaded their homes and ate their food. After evicting the imposing British, the Constitution was created to “promote our general well-being, and make sure that the blessings of liberty continue for ourselves and our posterity.”
Fast-forward to President Obama’s tenure and dozens of appointed “czars” who preside over every aspect of society, from green jobs to health care. The IRS brazenly denied tax-exempt status to conservative political groups and scrutinized big Republican donors. The National Security Administration tapped into the central servers of U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails and documents of private citizens.
President Trump must scale back increasingly oppressive bureaucracy and demand that government serve the best interest of the people, not the reverse.
Washington, D.C., currently operates with disdain for the rights of Americans. Punitive regulations and taxes, uncontrolled immigration, and intrusive bureaucracies and policies undermine our liberty and well-being. The political elite seek total control … perhaps tyranny.
In November, people in an overwhelming majority of states voted to “alter” government that has become destructive to its intended purpose. We’re counting on President Trump to lead the campaign to restore America.
James D. Kellogg is an engineering consultant and the author of “Radical Action: A Colt Kelley Thriller.” Look for the novel on amazon.com and visit JamesDKellogg.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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