Right Angles column: Americans have a right to the certain death of high taxes
Taxes are said to be as certain as death. That’s because people buy the notion that they have a “right” to retirement, health care and welfare. Big government and a complicated tax code shroud the fact that entitlements are provided at the expense of taxpayers.
Government does not have the right to tax and redistribute our earnings. Americans need to understand our true fundamental rights. Then people will see that our liberty requires lower taxes and a limited government.
The Declaration of Independence asserts all people are endowed by God with “unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Rights are fundamental freedoms not granted by government or provided by other human beings. In the Constitution, the founders expressed that government shall “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” As Americans, we are free to take responsible action to fulfill our needs and pursue our dreams.
We do not have the right to anything beyond our freedom of choice and action. No person is entitled to the goods or services provided by any other person. We don’t have the right to demand that fellow citizens pay for our retirement, health care or welfare benefits. Americans are at liberty to fulfill most of these needs through their own means. Traditionally, families, churches and charities have stepped up to assist those individuals who need help.
To limit government, a federal income tax was originally prohibited by the Constitution. That changed in 1913, when the 16th Amendment granted Congress power to assess taxes on the incomes of citizens. Then establishment of the Federal Reserve (the Fed) gave the federal government a source to borrow dollars not backed by gold. Income tax generated revenue to pay interest to the Fed on the loans. Government expanded its power and launched the welfare state at the expense of the people’s rights.
During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt used our money to initiate Social Security and the New Deal. President Lyndon Johnson kept spending our money with establishment of Medicare and Medicaid. The Economic Opportunity Act and the Food Stamp Act consumed more tax dollars and expanded government dependency. In 2010, the passage of Obamacare robbed citizens of more liberty and sent the nation careening toward financial oblivion.
Entitlement programs are not rights, yet advocates insist that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cannot be cut. Citizens and businesses are burdened with payroll taxes of about 15 percent directed to these programs. Yet the most recent Social Security and Medicare trustees’ report indicates the unfunded liabilities of these programs exceed $120 trillion. These entitlements are projected to consume all tax revenue within 30 years.
Obamacare proponents claim health care is a right. But these supporters approve of infringing on the rights of individuals to choose a doctor or forgo health insurance. Beyond our liberty, Obamacare will cost us more than $2.5 trillion over the next decade. Part of that expense is covered by more than a dozen tax increases, most affecting the middle class. Meanwhile, health insurance premiums skyrocket.
Too many people in our nation feel entitled to perpetual government aid. About 20 percent of American households do not have a family member in the labor force. The number of people dependent on food stamps has increased to 48 million. Our national debt is nearly $20 trillion and rising. That allocates to over $165,000 of debt per taxpayer. The Fed keeps interest rates suppressed to keep us from default.
The corporate tax rate on American businesses is 35 percent. A typical working family is subject to an income tax rate between 15 percent and 25 percent. At the same time, myriad credits and deductions allow a growing percentage of low-income earners to receive money from the government instead of paying income tax. People who aren’t footing the bill don’t care. Those citizens who do pay often don’t see the link between their tax dollars and “government-granted rights.”
The only true right of Americans is the freedom to choose and to act. Government has no rights; it has a duty. That duty is to secure the unalienable rights of citizens. The entitlement mentality and a complicated tax code obscure these facts. A simple flat tax applied to every household and business would ensure that everyone pays a fair share to fund a limited government that simply protects our liberty. Americans have a right to the certain death of high taxes.
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.