Early Episodes of American Socialism


In last week’s column, I posed the question of whether Barack Obama was a socialist or not, given the current definition of the ideology.  I think the evidence is clear that he is.

Obama likes to boast that we, as a nation, have learned from our history.  But, as he seeks to implement more socialism, have we really learned anything?

In the academic world it is common to hear defenses of the failures of socialism, most notably the oft-repeated statement that “true socialism has never been tried.”  But alas, my dear friends, it has.  As a matter of fact, it has been tried right here in America, during our earliest years, and it is being tried right now. Continue reading

The Truth About Wealth Re-Distribution


A recurring theme throughout this campaign season has been the distribution of the nation’s wealth, stirred by President Obama and the Occupy movement.  A new phrase has entered the American political lexicon:  the 99 percent versus 1 percent.

Mitt Romney stirred up the political waters recently with remarks about wealth distribution and government dependency.

“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he told supporters at a private fundraiser.  “All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.  [They believe] that’s an entitlement.  And the government should give it to them.  And they will vote for this president no matter what.”

Though what he spoke was truth, the Mainstream Media went wild.  At the same time, a 1998 tape was released of then-state senator Obama speaking in favor of re-distributing wealth.  Yet the media just yawned. Continue reading

The Re-Distribution of Wealth Debate in 1894: An Excerpt from The Last Jeffersonian


On December 19, 1893, William L. Wilson, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, rolled out a new tariff reform bill, which passed the House on February 1, 1894 by a significant margin, 204 to 140.  Tariff duties were modestly cut by 15 percent.  However, to make up for any projected loss of revenue, the final House version of the bill included a provision for an income tax.  The young Democratic congressman from Nebraska, William Jennings Bryan, introduced the tax amendment and vigorously defended it.  “There is no more just tax upon the statute books than the income tax,” he told the House.

Though not a new concept, a tax on incomes had been first enacted in 1862 to help finance the Civil War, and, despite the Constitution’s prohibition against direct taxes, federal courts had left it alone as a war revenue measure.  The original act created the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the forerunner to the IRS, to collect the tax.  It covered all incomes over $600 a year at two graduated rates.  Income above $600 and up to $10,000 was taxed at three percent, while everything over $10,000 at five percent.  In 1864 the top rate was increased to ten percent.  When applicable, the federal government had actually withheld the tax from people’s income, such as government salaries, dividends and interest from bank stocks and bonds, as well as from railroads and other corporations.  By the end of the war, some 15 percent of households were paying the tax.  In 1872, the law expired and Republicans were content to leave it dead, as the tariff was continually pouring money into the federal treasury, making additional taxes unnecessary. Continue reading

Drought 1887 versus Drought 2012: A Lesson from Grover Cleveland


Droughts periodically strike the United States and this year is no different, as a severe calamity has affected at least half the country, the worst, at least so far, since 1956.  The House of Representatives recently passed a one-year relief bill, yet the Senate adjourned for August recess without acting on it.  Senate Democrats have already passed a massive agriculture bill that totals nearly $1 trillion over a decade and want the House to do likewise.

So the question is not if there will be relief, but only how much relief will be doled out from Washington.  It wasn’t always this way.  During the late 1880’s, a severe drought struck Texas.  Congress, growing with progressive-minded members, sought to help, since no organization like the notoriously inept, incompetent, and corrupt FEMA existed in those days. Continue reading

The Dangers of a Cashless Society


Many conservatives and civil libertarians erroneously believed that the implementation of the ObamaCare bill would be the final nail in the coffin of a free society, which is why President Obama spent a full year trying so hard to implement it.  But I respectfully disagree.  Though it is part of the same big government scheme, the creation of a cashless society will be the endgame.  And the movement toward it has already begun.

In March, the government of Sweden announced that it would be moving toward establishing a cashless economy.  Other nations are examining the possibility of using new ways to rid their society of cash, as well as to identify and keep track of its citizens.

Biometric ID devices, or biometric authentication, can identify a human by specific characteristics and traits – fingerprints, iris scans, vein scans, DNA, voice recognition, facial recognition, and even behavior analysis.  These technologies presently exist and are being perfected every year.

The populous nation of India, with 1.25 billion people, announced recently that they were forming a biometric ID program for all Indian citizens.  Each person will be given a unique identification number that will be tied to biometric data, using the prints of all ten fingers, scans of the iris in both eyes, and facial photographs.

In this country, we are beginning to see an increased discussion about the usefulness of a cashless economy backed up with a biometric ID system.  But to impose it, the government must convince us of its benefits.  What reasons might our government have for moving us in the direction of Sweden and India in the future? Continue reading

When Tyranny Comes to Main Street


“Which is better,” Boston clergyman Mather Byles is reputed to have asked, “to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away, or by three thousand tyrants not a mile away?”

Many loyalists and fence sitters during the very early days of the American Revolution pondered that very point.  It did not mean they were in love with George III by any stretch of the imagination but only that they were just as wary of homegrown despots.

In our present predicament, it seems we have both – a tyrant in the White House and a multitude just down the road in our local courthouses.  We must ever be mindful that local governments can oppress the rights of citizens just as effectively as Washington, DC. Continue reading

The FDA’s War on Health Choice


In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt signed the Pure Food and Drug Act into law, which eventually led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a new regulatory agency that would ensure that the American people would consume only the best food and pharmaceuticals.

To conservatives who distrust government power, liberals are fond of asking, “Why oppose such a benevolent government program?” But if you understand the nature of government, as true conservatives do, then you realize that such a venture could eventually evolve into an instrument of tyranny.

According to recent reports, the Obama Administration is now using the FDA to ensure that “we the children” only choose the foods and medical treatments that our government parents approve of, and they are using the most vicious tactics to see to it that you obey. Continue reading