Addendum, 04 May 2009

2009/05/04

Some additional thoughts to consider regarding nationalization, higher taxes, and refund vouchers. Fundamentally, this issue boils down to whether you want to do things on your own initiative, or whether you want the government to take responsibility for you. Much also depends on the details of these rations; given the President’s chronic lack of disclosure when it comes to details, his efforts to drive the nation down the socialist road (even a moderate one) are concerning. For example, suppose that the government provides everyone with a vaction ration; what happens if you choose not to take a vacation for the year? Do you have to return the ration? Can you spend it on something other than vacation expenses? What if you want to take a more expensive vacation, but the higher tax rates make it all but impossible for you to save the additional amount to supplement the ration? Suppose that the government issues rations related to children – school supplies, daycare, etc; what if you don’t have any children, and do not intend to have any? Are you still required to pay the taxes that support these rations, and what happens to those tax revenues if you do still pay? Can you apply to have these taxes refunded to you? If you cannot, does this not constitute a penalty on individuals who choose not to have children? What if these individuals have good and rational justifications for not having children; should they have children anyways, simply to avoid the “penalties” associated with remaining childless? Does not such a policy encourage irresponsible family planning (or even a lack thereof), as individuals rush to have children as soon as possible, so that they can avoid the penalties incurred by the high tax rates that fund these rations?

Socialist programs such as these presume that the individual does not know how best to allocate their money for themselves, and that the government should step in to show them the way. Is this the ideal towards which we should strive? Are a handful of politicians wiser than the 300 million citizens of the Republic? Are they not our servants, or are we subservient to them and their personal ideas? If we open the door to this sort of “wisdom,” how long will it be before the government takes over additional aspects of our lives? How long before the government decides that we must be protected from ourselves, at all costs? How long before we stop suffering the horror of thinking and deciding for ourselves? And at that point, will we not truly be slaves to our political overlords?

Does anyone have any answers to these questions? I’d like to hear them, though I suspect that I will not like the answers. If we go down this route, we should know as much as possible before we begin; I suspect that it is possible to incorporate some of these socialist ideas into our otherwise unfettered society and economy. Vigilence is of paramount importance, however – it is, after all, the price of protecting the civil liberties that are the foundation of our Republic. [1]

Notes:

[1]: Andrew Jackson’s farewell address, 04 March 1837: “…you must remember, my fellow citizens, that eternal vigilence by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.” (Emphasis added)

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