Yesterday was Tax Day, and there were people at Tea Party rallies protesting all over the nation. Some will try to portray the people at the Tea Party rallies as rabid extremists. Others will say that these people are just against government. However, neither of these accusations touch on the truth. What were the people at the Tea Party rallies protesting? They were protesting the fact that something good is being turned into something bad.
According to the Tax Foundation (see here), the average American worked until April 9th this year to earn enough money to pay all their taxes. Even so the Federal deficit has been rapidly increasing. Government spending is growing out of control.
The Federal Government began as instrument designed to promote the general welfare. The Preamble to the Constitution puts it this way.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (from here)
Unfortunately, during the Great Depression our leaders decided that promoting the general welfare meant providing welfare checks. At that time many of our leaders began pitting the people receiving welfare checks against the people paying for welfare checks. Then we began learning that no society so divided can remain for long united in the cause of liberty.
Now we have a serious problem. What can we do? We would do well to ask ourselves a fundamental question about government. Why do we as a People have the right to tax our fellow citizens? What are the limits of this right? Does this right of taxation include the right to rob Peter (through taxation) to pay Paul? Why? Some politicians would have us all assume government has this right, but who has actually made a logical argument justifying such a thing?
If we want to succeed in promoting the general welfare (as opposed to providing welfare checks), should we not give some thought as to why we are doing what we are doing? Shouldn’t we begin by examining our assumptions? Does it actually make sense to give our leaders the unlimited power to tax us and redistribute our wealth?