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Thomas Jefferson Quote

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.

ideas > Why more taxes and bigger government... I just don't get it.

Why more taxes and bigger government... I just don't get it.
Recently, I read an article on CNN.com that was posted June 27, 2007. In this article, Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest men, made the following comments.

  • Warren Buffett suggested ramping up the tax code on big businesses and the super rich

  • Buffett revealed his puzzlement that he was taxed at a lower rate than many of the lesser-paid individuals working for his company. Buffett said he makes $46 million a year in income and is only taxed at a 17.7 percent rate on his federal income taxes. By contrast, those who work for him, and make considerably less, pay on average about 32.9 percent in taxes - with the highest rate being 39.7 percent.

I trust Warren Buffett's calculations. The lower and middle classes in America pay a higher percentage of their taxes to the federal government than do the upper class.

But I do not agree with Mr. Buffett's solution, which is raise taxes on the rich and big business.

First, if and when I become rich, what right does the federal government have in penalizing my hard work and good fortune. Wasn't America built on the foundations of freedom and personal responsibility? I am currently part of middle class America, so if I become rich, then it will because I earned it. Punishing me for achieving success is immoral and here is why it is immoral.

What rights to you have as an individual and where do those rights comes from? In the Declaration of Independence, it states "we hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". I would also add that the right to property and the protection of property are unalienable rights as well. The Declaration continues in saying, "that to protect these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." These statements from the Declaration of Independence answer the previous two questions.

As human beings we have the basic rights to life, liberty, happiness, and protection of these things including property that we own. Most people, at least those living in free nations, would concede that these are fundamental rights.

These rights come from our Creator and government or man cannot take them away. They can try, but to do so is immoral. Governments do not give us these rights, but governments are supposed to protect and secure these rights that God gave us. To deprive us of these rights is immoral. In fact, the Declaration of Independence continues "that whenever any Form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it..." Since government gets its rights from the people, not the other way around, then it follows that if individuals cannot deprive other individuals of their rights, then governments cannot deprive or punish individuals of their God given rights of life, liberty, and property or any other fundamental, inalienable right.

What Mr. Buffett proposes is immoral on the grounds that whatever substance I get legally through my hard work is mine and if an individual cannot walk up to me and say "Give me $100 of your substance because you have too much", then a government cannot do the same because the government gets its rights and power from the people.

Second, Mr. Buffett suggests taxing big business more. What exactly is big business? Let's turn to Forbes for a list of the top ten American companies by market share. This should be a good sampling of what exactly a big business is. The latest list I could find is 2003. The top 15 companies by market share were, starting at the top, Microsoft, General Electric, ExxonMobil, WalMart, Pfizer, Citigroup, Johnson and Johnson, IBM, AIG, Merck, Intel, Procter & Gamble, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway (Buffet's company), and Cisco Systems. Recognize any of these companies? Do you buy products from these companies? Most Americans rely on these companies for software, drugs, electrical appliances, electricity, retail items, banking, computers, insurance, and even parts of the Internet (Cisco). These companies all produce products and services that make our lives easier and they produce them at competitive prices. What Mr. Buffett proposes to do is to tax these companies for their success and give this money to itself, a big monopoly that has shown over the years that it is incapable of spending efficiently or wisely. The government produces nothing, yet Mr. Buffett would trust it with other people's money. I find this to be somewhat insane.

Also, the same principles of individual rights would seem to apply to businesses as well. Whatever profits they get through legal means should not be penalized disproportionately because of their size. All men are created equal and I would add that all businesses are created equal and should be treated equally under the law. As you can see from the list of businesses above, big businesses are a BIG reason for the economic success of this country. They provide the economic muscle to marshal together huge amounts of resources to produce automobiles, airplanes, pharmaceutical drugs, oil, gas, etc. Punishing them for their success would be like cutting off the legs of a human to get rid of a wart on a big toe. Sure it is effective, but what has one really accomplished.

Third, Mr. Buffett suggests that taxes should be raised. I have a much better suggestion, how about lowering taxes on the middle and lower classes so that we effectively pay 17 percent. That would be a much smarter idea for several reasons:

  1. We all know the federal government wastes tens of billions of dollars a year, so why don't we give them less to waste. Don't you consider yourself smarter than the federal government when it comes to spending your money? If you don't, then you ought to quit reading right now.

  2. We all know the federal government spends money to buy votes. If you are hard-working, believe in personal responsibility, and want to take control of your life; then you better understand that the number of Americans who expect the government to give them something for nothing or for less than they worked for is growing. There are tens of millions of Americans who feel entitled to something that they did not honestly earn. If you enjoy your money and want to keep your money from these economic vultures, then you ought to vote for people who will reduce taxes and therefore reduce the politicianís ability to buy votes. A perfect economic storm is coming to people who work hard, work smart, and believe in personal responsibility. That storm is being conjured up by your elected officials.

I, to this day, cannot understand why the Wizard of Omaha, Warren Buffett, would advocate increasing the federal taxes on the rich or big business. The federal government is a bloated mess that is infringing every day on the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that this country was founded to protect. Instead of raising taxes, why doesn't the federal government lower taxes, cut entitlement programs, and give Americans back their economic freedom. The knowledge that we currently pay 1/3 of our income to a government entity is sickening and then to think what that entity does with it is downright appalling. Why Americans continue to stand for this is beyond me? This is a federal government that takes your hard-earned dollars and gives it to people who don't deserve it, so that politicians can buy their votes. It's that simple. If you enjoy your money and want your freedom back, call your Senators and Representatives every day before it is too late.
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