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Okay. Adam brought his 20th century political hero into the mix, so I’m going to introduce mine. Harry Truman once said, “It’s plain hokum. If you can’t convince them, confuse them. It’s an old political trick. But this time it won’t work.”

Nice try, Adam.

In his last post (a response to my response to his original post—nice to see they’re working us interns real hard over here at All America PAC), Adam basically made it seem as though us libertarian types hate helping people. It was an admirable effort at confusing the issue, to be sure, but I’m not going to let that one slide, so I’m going to respond briefly before, y’know, actually doing my real job.

I think that any time you give a government a task that could be completed by someone or something else, you need to justify it. Thus far, big government liberals have utterly failed to convince me as to why the federal government should be performing tasks like providing drug counseling or deciding one single nationwide criteria for what constitutes a “successful education.” I believe that these are tasks that are performed much more effectively on a local level, and so far, liberals, Adam included, have yet to make an effective argument as to why these are tasks that can only be performed by the federal government.

I think that helping those that are less fortunate is important. In fact, I believe that each and every person on this planet has an obligation to help their fellow human beings.

I just don’t think the government should be telling them how to do that.

I think that most people have an innate sense of right and wrong. And I think that given the opportunity, the vast majority of Americans will rise to the opportunity to help those in need.

But it is quite simply not a government’s job to do that. That is not what a government is. A government doesn’t exist to enforce moral behavior; it exists solely to keep order and provide services that can only be achieved through collective action, like trash collection.

Our founding fathers never intended for government to become the giant machine that it is today. That is why they initially wrote a ban on income taxes into the Constitution. This is a rule that is of course long gone, but the issue still stands. Hobbes argued that government was an issue not of moral good, but of self-interest—that is, citizens cede certain rights to the governments in exchange for physical protection. Nowhere in that argument does helping the less fortunate come into play. It is simply not the domain of government. The social contract between a citizen and his government is not one of morality, it is one of pragmatism. Government does not exist to serve as an equalizer; not all people are necessarily equally deserving of reward in their lives. It’s why communism failed; governments have no place controlling the distribution of income amongst their citizens. In my view, if you earn your money, you should get to keep as much of it as humanly possible, taxing only what is necessary to keep anarchy at bay. Taxes should only be imposed as an absolute last resort, and laws passed only when a problem of order, security, or equality cannot be solved any other way.


Liz Fossett said...

wow...I'm going to join the war now.

I have to disagree with you. As Americans, we have some collective responsibility to help each other (even if it's only to keep the homeless from making unsightly messes on our streets...).

Think of taxes as a type of fee to pay for living in the best country in the world. Even taxes we pay for services we enjoy (paid firefighters, police services, public schools and libraries) are a form of poor tax. Those who can't pay for those services don't, and yes, the rich have to foot the bill, but it's necessary that someone does.

I'm not going to say that our tax system doesn't need reform. $200,000 is probably a ridiculous cap for the highest tax bracket, considering there are billionares in the same bracket (though supposedly only 4% of the population is in that bracket...). I think we need a fairer way of dividing incomes ranges, but I also think that people who are that rich can afford to pay more for the services they enjoy (and often enjoy more of...nicer towns from higher taxes, etc.). If there was some type of reform, it would be apparent to higher income people that there was more fairness in the system, while they continue paying higher taxes.

We should also consider the wonderful incentives tax cuts give the wealthy to donate to charities, etc. that do a superb job of helping those in need. Those contributions keep many of those organizations/programs afloat and that alone is enough to make me realize the importance of higher tax brackets...