America is off course and in trouble, and we must once again find our Vision if our country is to get back to its proper course – we must again realize what it means to be American. Our country is an experiment, created by US, to answer the question, “How can we create a more perfect union?” It is country born out of the Vision that We, all of mankind, all of our species, somehow and in some way we haven’t figured out just yet, are connected as One. And our mission in life, our purpose, the meaning of our individual lives, is to figure out how we can best come together. It was under this Vision of One that wars have been fought, governments have been tumbled, and civilizations have been destroyed. America was founded under this same Vision of One, but with the belief that one day we could peacefully unite as one people, one world, all of us – We the People.
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand…” – Thomas Paine
With this Vision in mind, our forefathers declared their Independence, bled to ensure our survival, established a constitution, and attempted to answer two questions: “How should government promote the general welfare?” and “How should government collect tax revenue?” The American experiment, the search to find the best answers to these questions, continues this very day. For America to move forward, we must re-discover ourselves. We must search our very souls to determine the meaning of life, recognize that it is to promote our fellow man, and then ask ourselves those same questions today.
“The World is my country, and to do good my religion.” – Thomas Paine
If we can again understand our purpose and take an honest look at present day America, we will see that We the People are off course. And I personally believe that, in the process of searching for why we are broken, we will re-discover two Truths: First, that the “Limited Government” envisioned by our founding fathers is the right answer – we will discover that our founders limited government intervention to Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness for good reason.
“A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.” – Thomas Jefferson
Second, we will re-discover that funding this Limited Government through a tax system that encumbers our wealthier citizens with a larger share of the tax burden is the right answer – we will discover that our forefathers enacted the 16th Amendment to our Constitution for good reason.
“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.” – Thomas Jefferson
If we ponder, read, and investigate further, we will see why – we will notice the elephants in the room that we are refusing to see. We will re-discover not only that our social welfare programs are not working, but we will remember that our Creator did not design us to excel in that environment. We will no longer find it ironic that the federal programs we design to promote our fellow man actually have the inverse effect from their desired intent. Then, we will see another elephant. We will re-discover not only that our refusal to tax our wealthy leaves us bankrupt, but we will remember that our Creator did not design us to excel in that environment. We will no longer find it ironic that federal tax laws we design to “ensure” equality among our fellow man actually have the inverse effect from their desired intent.
“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
The “New Deal” and “Great Society” are noble and inspiring quests, we are arguably just and right to make every effort to pursue them, but the lesson we must understand today is that they are never-ending. The “New Deal” and “Great Society” quests continue now, this very day, even as I write to you now. Our country is supposed to seek answers, seek “New Deals,” change.
My fellow Americans, We are heading into disaster if we don’t change course. We all know this. If 15.6 trillion debt, a dollar tied to nothing, and a Euro on the brink don’t convince you… if an American child, being born in more debt than the rest of the world’s children’s debt combined doesn’t convince you… if the fact that we produce little, have the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression, and sat idly by as our financial system collapsed doesn’t convince you that we are on the wrong course – then let me humbly submit that you, like I was until recently, are perhaps part of the problem.
My friends, we must look around today and examine the results of our choices. We must stop the mud-slinging and partisan bickering and ask ourselves, “As we continue, under the Vision of advancing mankind, as we continue to make every effort to create the “Great Society” envisioned by President Johnson and our forefathers, is our current system achieving our goal? Is what we set out to achieve actually occurring? And if not, why not?”
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill
Now is the day to recognize that the notion of limited government envisioned by our founding fathers is right. Welfare programs, which are designed and implemented by government, where we tax from one individual to provide for another rather than rely on love and charity for that purpose, actually run counter to their desired intent. Instead of creating a “Great Society,” they create a disgruntled and bankrupt people. The people who challenge themselves, who do their utmost to achieve their potential, feel cheated when their earnings are taken away and given to their neighbor. Worse, the people who struggle are never forced to overcome their challenges. Instead, they develop the sense that they are owed something and become content on receiving government aid for their well being.
“It isn’t sufficient just to want – you’ve got to ask yourself what you are going to do to get the things you want.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
It is in discovering Truth that we illuminate the Way forward, and the resulting Life we are meant to lead. And the truth is this – Government social programs do not act to better our society. It took communist Russia 70 years to realize this truth, and socialist Europe is discovering it this very day. We will discover it soon as well – the hard way if we don’t act in 2012. A society that attempts to create programs to care for its people will eventually find that the society is left bankrupt, with an entitlement minded and lazy populace, looking to its government for sustenance. It is destined for failure, and that is why it is un-American.
As any Father knows, kids must experience consequences in life after making poor decisions in order to discover their potential. We must experience great failure in order to appreciate great success, in order even to wish to strive for it. We experience loss so that we can appreciate the love that comes from charity, community, and acts of kindness. We don’t feel love in a check from the government, nor do those who are taxed feel like their charity is well deserved and well spent. Government welfare programs not only take the love out of receiving, they take the love out of giving – we cheat both sides. Our lives are meant to experience that love, to see it, and then to emulate it.
But this discovery is good news! If we can simply admit that we are off course, if we can see the elephant, then we can right our sinking ship. Discovery is how we advance.
“Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” – Thomas Jefferson
We are a country founded on the principle that you are responsible for you, that no one else is, and that you must learn to take care of yourself. America does not subscribe to this principle because she is unloving, selfish, or heartless. No, we are just the opposite. We subscribe to this principle because we care, more than anything else, that all of us in this world are able to reach our God-given potential. This is why our forefathers limited the government to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – they knew that to do more would be counter-productive for us. And they were right.
If we can realize this truth, if we can discover the power behind limited government, then we can start to get back on course. But it doesn’t stop there. We must not only embrace limited government as the right answer, we must also embrace the philosophy that a tax on our wealthy is the right way to pay for that limited government.
“Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
The desire to install a “Fair Tax” system is a result of our innate desire for justice, a noble and inspiring characteristic, and we were arguably just and right to strive for it. But again, we must examine the result. Now is the day to recognize that our wealthy must pay for our limited government – to recognize that the ideal envisioned by our 16th Amendment is right. Income taxes, inheritance taxes, and luxury taxes are not an attack on our wealthy, they are the necessary means to our desired end. In 1917, prior to the “roaring 20’s,” we had a 67% income tax on a top tier bracket that would equate to 35 million a year in today’s dollars. In 1936, top tier was 79% on those making over 80 million adjusted dollars. But in 2011, in the midst of two wars and vast debt, our top tier is only $379,000, our top rate only 33%. Considering our current state of affairs, we must recognize the truth that cutting taxes on our wealthy doesn’t help us. A society that attempts to create a “fair” tax code for its people will eventually find that the society is left bankrupt, with a disgruntled and tired populace, and a large wealth gap of haves and have-nots. It is destined for failure, and that is why it is un-American.
As any Father knows, his primary responsibility is to provide for his family. He works to ensure the livelihood of his children, he provides them a safe home, a healthy environment, and encourages their education. In the beginning, he provides his children with everything they need. As they get older, he has them pay for their toys, save their allowance, and perform their chores. And this shift continues throughout their development. As a teen, his children must buy their own gas, their own insurance, and perhaps their own car. But never in their development does the Father ask them to pay “their fair share” of the power bill, the water bill, and the mortgage. He accepts the responsibility of the overarching environment. He realizes that, even as he works to promote the advancement of his children into the world, to burden them this much too early will only work to stunt their growth. Instead of encouraging them to continue to reach their potential, such a burden will leave them penniless, distraught, and hopeless, as they work every day to just barely scrape by.
We are a country not only founded on the principle of limited government, but one who realized that, to avoid a massive wealth gap which discourages growth, we must tax are wealthy. We learned that the proper tax code is not one which is fair, but one which is right. America does not subscribe to this principle because she is jealous, envious, or disdainful of her wealthy. No, we are just the opposite. We subscribe to this principle because we care, more than anything else, that all of us in this world are able to reach our God-given potential. This is why our forefathers fought for income tax and penned it forever into our Constitution as our 16th Amendment – they knew that to continue without it would be counter-productive for us. And they were right.
Once we re-discover the proper Vision for America, We shortly thereafter realize that a vote for either party is a vote to reject our proper course. These days, no one wants to run on a platform of slashing federal programs and raising taxes on wealthier Americans, but that is precisely what we need. It is the right answer, our proper and only course forward. If you, like me, would prefer to chart our future rather than encounter it, if you share this Vision, please elect an Independent candidate with this proper vision for President in 2012. Thanks for caring.
“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Yours in Faith for a better America and a better World.