Jan 04

There’s no telling what legislative debacles await our country over the next year, until the new class of 2010 is sworn in and Obama’s ability to implement his remake of America comes to a screeching halt.   In the meantime, we can suggest a few resolutions for Congress and our President, or at least aspiring candidates, to consider:

We will not give away that which we do not own. As we come out of the Christmas season, we must realize that while Congress loves its adopted role of Santa Claus, it is not a role that is found in the Constitution.    Adopting this resolution would nearly single-handedly restore the government to its original limited purposes, as prior to “giving” something to anyone, Congress must first take it from someone else.   And in one fell swoop, government would become dramatically cheaper as well.

Alas, there are not nearly enough elves in Washington or anywhere else to create all of the “toys” that society has lobbied for.  But even if somehow there were, why have we tolerated a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats determining who is naughty and nice, delivering stimuli, redistribution and favors to the latter, and coal (not even “clean coal” at that) into the stockings of the former?

We will not “triangulate” our national security. Ah, imagine the calculus that screamed in the backroom meetings about Afghanistan…. How many votes do we lose if we stay? Who do we gain if we appear tough?   How blatantly can I ignore my field generals?  Osama bin Laden is on record that 10 million dead infidels, which includes both conservatives and liberals — the enemy does not care — would be an acceptable goal for their cause.  Meanwhile, we offer full Constitutional courtroom rights to self-admitted wartime terrorists.   Just what are we thinking?

We will make the “death tax” permanent. Could there be a more blatant act of class warfare and demonstration of the Politics Of Envy?   Wealth accumulated through a lifetime of work and saving, wealth on which taxes have already been paid, is taxed again because supposedly the government can redistribute the wealth more efficiently that those that created it.   How is it that we tolerate the transfer of wealth from those with the best track record of creating it, to the entity with the best track record of squandering it?

We will repeal Obamacare. Or whatever it’s ultimately called.    In a spectacularly stupid tactical maneuver, the Democrats have both a) followed a path of ramming through legislation that no poll can describe as being wanted by the American people, and b) structured the financial pain of the plan to come before the supposed gain.   This sets up a massive opportunity for those running in the 2010 elections (and probably 2012 as well) to run on a campaign cleanly targeted against the Democrats and tapping into the public’s disgust for government waste and overspending by selling the repeal of Obamacare as a cost-cutting measure.

Furthermore, if they have the spine not displayed for the last several elections, they’ll aggressively market a health insurance reform plan centered around Health Savings Accounts, true nationwide competition between insurance companies, malpractice reform, and directly addressing the uninsured.  In other words, a plan that will cost a tiny fraction of Obamacare, but more importantly, will actually be successful in driving down the rate of inflation in medical spending.     Why?  Because where HSA’s are being adopted, that’s exactly what’s happening.

The bottom line on Obamacare is that it simply can not work, because there are no elements in the plan that give any incentives to individuals to seek less medical services.  Indeed to the contrary, it will dramatically increase those demanding medical care without correspondingly increasing the supply of service providers.    The existing on-the-road-to-bankruptcy plan that is Medicare is being held up as a model to emulate, which would simply be laughable if it weren’t so outright dangerous.    But hey, this is consistent with the rest of the Obama administration’s thinking:  Identify the cause of a major sociological problem and then do more of it.

We will not sit idly by as a politically active minority transforms the character of our country. In other words, the giant that is a nation that still leans conservative will not stay asleep any longer.   It is obvious what happens when that takes place:  It sets up the stage for a demagogue like Obama to tap into a fawning national press corps and sweet-talk himself into office, promising the world (or “change”) to any and all supporters/worshipers along the way.

Instead, we will vote in record numbers and shut down the attempts to overturn the defining characteristics of our society, namely, limited government centered around freedom in all forms.    We will no longer watch the irony of formerly communist countries like Estonia racing towards freedom while we race away from it.   We will return to our global role as a country that leads by example, one that recognizes God-given liberty as the most effective way to improve the condition of mankind.

Lastly, we will actively encourage and support politicians who support the above. We will donate our time and resources to ensure that they are elected to office and hold them accountable for promoting true change in the form of reducing the size and role of government in our lives.    Likewise, we will have the courage to tell those who promote the opposite, in no uncertain terms:  You are wrong.

18 Responses to “New Year’s Resolutions We’d Like to See”

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  12. Eric Bergerson says:

    Estate taxes are not right or wrong, they are a simple choice by a nation to decide how it would like the playing field of life to start for each individual. When individuals are allowed to create dynastic wealth, it creates a vast advantage for their inheritors of that wealth over other less fortunate children to compete equally. Those who support estate taxes see it as a goal to attempt to level that playing field so that all Americans start on more equal (it will never be equal) footing, so that more Americans with the capability to create wealth get the opportunity to do so. The re-distribution of the wealth after death does not re-distribute it from those who made it. Those people are dead. It re-distributes from their inheritors for the express purposes above. It is also not an all or nothing situation. It does not take back a persons entire estate, nor does it leave an entire estate to the advantage of a person’s inheritors. Rather, it simply states that some portion of that estate can be used to create a more just society. If you are of the opinion that money I make is mine and no one should be able to touch it, than clearly no estate tax can ever seem just. However, I believe that ones capability to create wealth is largely determined by the environment in which one chooses to make money. How one creates wealth in America is much different than how one accumulates money in other societies. I value the ability to make wealth in our nation, one that attempts to create a fair set of rules under which we all can compete, where right is more important than might. As such, I feel an obligation to contribute back into the system that provided us that opportunity. However, I don’t feel this is strictly a personal elective decision. I see estate taxes as an ante or fee, the cost to all of us for the right to play a game of a lifetime, that is fair and fun, and where competition is rewarding. Estate taxes help insure all future Americans have the same opportunity.

    • Administrator says:

      What you describe sounds wonderful, but it collides with the facts of what actually happens. You didn’t address my central point on this issue: Government has a fantastic track record of destroying wealth, and of re-distributing wealth via a political process, one which necessarily creates confrontational factions within our society that fight for their “fair share” of the redistribution pie. By contrast, those who have amassed wealth through their lives by definition have a clear track record of being able to create it, or at least not squander it. Likewise, the skills to maintain that wealth across generations are non-trivial and must be taught. It’s hard to argue that this (or any country) could NOT use more people who understand how to maintain wealth.

      So following your reasoning, we would (as I said in my post), take wealth from those with a track record for maximizing it, and give it to an entity with a track record for minimizing it, which necessarily reduces the total amount of wealth available for all. This should be obvious, as even “inherited wealth” serves society by being part of its capital base. As we’ve just gone through a series of grotesque financial bailouts with the expressed goal of rebuilding their capital bases, why should we consciously destroy the capital base of our private citizens? Likewise, instead of seeing the usage of this capital get fought over via a political theater, left in private hands it peacefully and voluntarily finds its ways in and out of the marketplace according to the “fair set of rules” that you (and I) cherish.

      I’ll leave you with a few questions:

      • Who decides how “to create a more just society.”?
      • Do paying estate taxes by the force of law satisfy your feeling of “an obligation to contribute”? (if so, we have a very different definition of what a “contribution” is).
      • If there were no such law, would anything stop you from voluntarily contributing to organizations which might exist to help fulfill your goal? If no such organization existed, would you start one yourself or with your friends?
      • Are the taxes we pay through our lifetimes not enough of “an ante or fee” to satisfy your vision?
      • Eric Bergerson says:

        I guess it comes down to whom you put your trust in. Clearly you do not trust the government (and given its track record, you have every right not to). At the same time, wealthy individuals, while clearly showing their ability to create wealth, have an even worse record of re-distributing it. That is why there has always been class warfare, because those who have money, do everything in their power to keep it, independent of the morality of doing so (think Victorian era England, or class traunched India). The only reason I suggest giving -some- of the wealth created over a lifetime back to the government, is not for the government to simply fritter it away or give it back in entitlements (which I agree, they do often and inappropriately). However, as the elected representatives of our collective society, I suggest there is no other body that more closely represents our collective will in terms of how to build a more just society. True, we could individually spend our money on the charities of our choice, but that would in effect be voting with our money, keeping the direction of our society moving in the direction of those that have made the money and dis-empowering those with less means. For me, capitalism is the game we play to earn money, but democracy is the infrastructure of how we govern. For me, democracy does not equate to one vote to one dollar (or shouldn’t). Rather it is one person one vote. By not asking all those who get to use a free market to reach their financial goals to contribute back to the governing body, is to move us from democracy to an oligarchy of the wealthy. We end up living in a country where might makes right, where might is no longer the power of arms but the power of our wealth. I see your points and understand your concerns. America is being shaken at the root by those terrified of moving to far towards Socialism and those afraid of moving to far towards a Tyranny of the Rich. Maybe a little less labeling, less crying on TV declaring how our nation is disappearing, and a little more hard work and cooperation on solving the distinct problems our nation faces, and we will all find a compromise that we can live with and respect.

        • John Kramer says:

          I would ask that you study the works of notable Austrian school economists such as von Mises, Hayek, Hazlitt, or Rothbard to name a few notable choices.

          Money has no real value unless invested and/or spent. In a truly capitalist society all wealth, except that which is buried somewhere, produces wealth for many. That wealth can take numerous forms but it always produces jobs. Those jobs provide food and shelter for individuals and families. They also provide for protection (in the form of insurance), recreation, and savings – all forms of wealth.

          If a person inherits wealth he will spend it or it does him no good. How he spends it will provide him with either short-term or long-term gain, but it will provide the recipients with their own form of gain (wealth). That, to me, is the most fair and equitable form of redistribution I can think of. As Ayn Rand said, a person must be “worthy” of his money to keep it. But either way it will always find it’s way into the hands of others.

          I personally know a man who took a family fortune of some tens of millions of dollars and turned it into what is now over a two billion dollar net worth. Over the years he has created over 100 companies employing many thousands of people. He gives enormous amounts of his fortune to charitable institutions. And when he dies, even though his children (who have all helped in his wealth creation strategies) will receive large portions of the enterprise, the bulk of his estate will go to charity. He has done it all honestly and mostly in manufacturing industries. This man has done far more good with his inheritance than any gaggle of government employees could ever dream of. He has invested it wisely because it is HIS MONEY!

          Frankly, I don’t know how you can suggest that government, through the use of force, governed by political expediency, can produce a better result? Without government interference, money always finds it’s way into the hands of those most deserving.

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