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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
The United States faces an abundance of problems, a weak economy, an abundance of public expenditures, out of control entitlements, and an over-expansive foreign policy, to name a few. These issues are getting worse, not better, with no end in sight. In recent decades, politicians of nearly every conceivable stripe have offered solutions, all to no avail. The only real solution to America’s woes is a return to Jeffersonian principles.
Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and D.R. Francis standing on a porch circa 1903. Courtesy of the POTUS Flickr archive.
Since the days of Grover Cleveland, who ended the harsh Panic of 1893 in less than a full term in office, the federal government has used Keynesian economic theory, or intervention, to fight every economic downturn. The results have been less than spectacular. What began as a severe recession in 1929 became the “Great Depression,” the worst economic calamity in American history. Many people will be surprised to learn that the Great Depression came after the government stepped in with its bag of tricks. It did not end until the latter half of the 1940s.
After the Panic of 2008, the government bailed out Wall Street to the tune of $700 billion. In 2009, the Obama administration kicked in another $800 billion in a stimulus designed to jump-start the sagging economy. A total of $1.5 trillion in stimulus money has been apportioned. The economy is still in a state of mild depression with a net job loss during the Obama presidency. Continue reading
During Grover Cleveland’s eight years in the presidential chair, he confronted national problems nearly identical to those America faces today. There are numerous issues with striking similarities, but the three major ones stand out above all others are – the economy, paternalism, and foreign affairs.
Anders Zorn [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Politicians, pundits, and scholars have wrestled over a central question throughout American political and constitutional history: What role should the government have in the lives of ordinary citizens?
For Jeffersonian Conservatives, such as Grover Cleveland, the government has no business involving itself in areas outside its limited, constitutional role, and should never take a position as a “custodian;” the people should be free to pursue their own dreams without government interference, to rise as high and as far as their God-given talent, abilities, and determination will carry them. Success or failure depends on the individual.
Some liberals on the other side of the political spectrum believe the government should play a vital role in the lives of the people, from cradle to grave. They believe the lowly masses cannot take care of themselves. For Democrats, government must step in and take up the role of caretaker. As Nancy Pelosi said in 2011: “I view my work in politics as an extension of my role as a mom.”[i] This progressive viewpoint is known as government paternalism, and has been defined as “a policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities.”[ii] Continue reading