The Proper and Improper Role of Government – Part 1

Several years ago, I tripped across a paperback book and felt to read the book.  It was written by Ezra Taft Benson, who was the 15th US Secretary of Agriculture, whom I respected for his keen mind; I felt compelled to read his book.  Mr. Benson, writing about the proper role of government, providing a running commentary about the founding of the United States of America, is worthy of study by every student as a part of social studies.  Before reading this book, I had not thought about the role of government, proper or improper. However, after reading this book, I came to understand why America is in such trouble and how the government is the perpetrator of the crimes against the citizen of America.

If they were missed, I have written articles about the US Constitution, the US Bill of Rights, the role of the “Rule of Law,” and other founding documents.  All these and more are essential or fundamental principles of understanding for discussing the government’s proper and improper role.  Please note, when talking about the proper and improper role of the government, I am not explicitly discussing The United States of America; but all non-Communist governments and many of the principles should be applied to communist governments to improve the situation for the citizens.

Private Property Produces Liberty and Freedom

Unfortunately, to fully appreciate all Mr. Benson is discussing, one must first understand the role of private property.  Charles Reich, an American legal and social scholar and an author while also a Professor at Yale Law School, wrote a paper every American citizen needs to read and be concerned over.  With the US Government changing the definition of private property and selecting winners and losers for government investment, the US Government radically changed and fundamentally destroyed the basic fabric of American law!  “Property is not a natural right but a deliberate construction by society. Like the Bill of Rights, property represents general, long-range protection of individual and private interests, created by the majority for the ultimate good of all” (Reich, 1964, p. 771-772)

Starting in the 1930s, during the “Great Depression,” changes were made to America’s methods of governance by the President, a willing media, including sycophants in the Senate and House, continuing a trend that began under President Woodrow Wilson (D).  Thus, establishing the Federal and State Government’s ability to rule by largess, picking winners and losers based upon obeisance to a bureaucrat’s whims, wishes, and will.  Reich lays out this history, walks the reader through the laws, and makes the case that because of democratic rule, America’s Republic has been reduced to a feudal system where the government decides who gets the largess and who does not.  With the Federal and State Governments making these decisions, businesses do not compete fairly upon their own merits but upon how much taxpayer money they can bamboozle from Uncle Sam.  Unfortunately, the entire system hinges upon reducing private property ownership and the freedoms private property allows feeding the ever-hungry beast of Government consumption.

The United States of America and every representative government can only provide freedom to their citizens if that country allows ownership of private property.  From private property principles comes every freedom and liberty enjoyed, as even the government must bow to the will of the people owning private property. So how did the government hijack your personal liberties and freedoms; well, there are a couple of wrongheaded Supreme Court cases, several Federal Court Cases, a complicit Congress with supermajorities, and a couple of presidents who were forward-looking and planning on stealing for personal gain.  The judicial interpretations opened judicial activism, released judicial restraint, and Congress stepped into the vacuum to protect itself from the people’s will.

One of the scariest ways personal freedoms have been stolen has been through owning a home but not owning the property under that home.  Homeowner’s Associations and the United Nations Agenda 21 actions have stripped personal property and made the homeowner pay ever-increasing homeowners association fees for the privilege of losing liberty and freedom.  All these actions, and many more, originated in the government actions under President Woodrow Wilson and were compounded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Many will try and claim WWI and the Great Depression, and WWII triggered taking “bold action” through the legislative process.  What they mean was the Legislative Branch kowtowed to the Executive Branch, while the Judicial Branch twiddled their collective thumbs and began to legislate from the bench.  Never forget, the two presidents with the most executive orders are Wilson and Roosevelt, and this was even with a complicit media and friendly legislative branch.

Reich (1964, p. 773) implicitly details that the power to change the culture and definitions of private property and liberty started with judicial activism that led to government intrusion.  “During the first half of the twentieth century, the reformers enacted into law their conviction that private power was a chief enemy of society and individual liberty. Property was subjected to “reasonable [emphasis in original] limitations in the interests of society. The regulatory agencies, federal and state, were born of the reform. In sustaining these major inroads on private property, the Supreme Court rejected the older idea that property and liberty were one and wrote a series of classic opinions upholding the power of the people to regulate and limit private rights.”  Continuing, Reich (1964) detailed relevance and the conflict of having government contractors and bureaucrats inventing the rules to provide services or grant largess.  Concluding that “many agencies take action which is penal in all but name,” and how these penal actions are punishing the citizen through adjudication without a judge, jury, or trial.

To review, the US Government stole private property, abused the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights, and fundamentally changed America.  Private property is the source of freedom and liberty in a representative government.  By choosing to limit private property, many have never been able to possess the most basic of human rights and liberties.  Worse, the deck has been stacked to keep the average citizen from owning private property.  When the US Government used statehood to strip constitutional authority from the states to own their own land, America started a decline where private property produced liberty and freedoms.  These are crucial steps in the journey to understanding the proper and delineating the improper role of government.

Finally, Reich brings us to the summum bonum of the problem where the government, Federal and State, have been leading the citizen, the “Welfare State” as a “Right.”  Consider, “It is time to recognize that “the public interest” [emphasis in original] is all too often a reassuring platitude that covers up sharp clashes of conflicting values and hides fundamental choices. It is time to see that the “privilege” or “gratuity” concept, as applied to wealth dispensed by government, is not much different from the absolute right of ownership that private capital once invoked to justify arbitrary power over employees and the public”  (Reich, 1964, p. 787).  Who is smart enough to “know” “the public interest?”  Honestly, which political party, politician, business leader, or influencer would you select, always to know the “public interest” and work for the “common good?”

Without private property, the citizen will not find a secure place to consider how to vote and who to vote for properly. This has been designed into government to facilitate single-party rule.  I agree with Reich (1964, p. 787), “Above all, the time has come for us to remember what the framers of the Constitution knew so well-that “a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.” We cannot safely entrust our livelihoods and our rights to the discretion of authorities, examiners, boards of control, character committees, regents, or license commissioners. We cannot permit any official or agency to pretend to sole knowledge of the public good.”  Hence, before we can understand the government’s proper and improper roles, we must have liberty derived from private property!

References

Benson, E. T. (1995). The proper role of government: The Improper Role of Government. H. V. Andersen (Ed.). Heber City, UT: Archive Publishers.

Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. (1964). Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol73/iss5/1

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

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NO MORE BS: Progressive vs. Regressive – Sales Taxes

Flying BuffaloAny time a debate about taxes arises, the terms progressive and regressive get thrown around like popcorn in a food fight.  Whether or not those speaking, even know, or care about the definitions, implications, and repercussions are different topics and one I will not hazard a guess.  My intent here is to help you know and better understand the terminology as we discuss the broader topic, sales taxes.  Please note, since the early 1900s, the word progress has been twisted by tyrants, plasticized by the media, and manipulated into means one thing to one person and a different thing to a politician.  Of all the terms plasticized for tyranny, progress is one of the most egregious examples.  Just like the term “Buffalo-wings.”

Progressive

Progressive and progressivism is a political philosophy that empowers a more extensive and more intrusive government, a government without any shred of decency, and a government that is as intrusive as possible into your daily life.  Progressivism has been the catchphrase for all sorts of political hooliganism and liberty theft at all levels of government.  These abuses by the government have been made possible because, as everyone knows, progress, the root of progressivism, is a good thing.Angry Wet Chicken

Progress is defined as moving forward or onward towards the desired destination.  Also, progress can be advancement or development towards a better, or more complete, “modern condition.”  Archaic definitions sometimes provide critical insight into a word, and in this instance, the archaic meaning of progress was a state journey or official tour, especially by royalty.

Without the political connotations, Progressive means something relating to or characterized by progress, making use of new ideas, findings, or opportunities.  In the classroom, progressive relates to an educational theory marked by an emphasis on the individual child, informal class procedures, and encouraging self-expression to the point of sacrificing educational opportunities.  The meaning of progressive also refers to making progress, moving forward or advancing, increasing in severity or extent, expanding the base rate of something, and a few other definitions specific to the sciences of computers and lenses for glasses.Angry Wet Chicken 2

President Woodrow Wilson (D) was a progressive, and many of his political detractors were regressive.  The distinction was drawn on a political scale to aid in differentiating and scorning political opponents who were concerned about the spread of government.  We need to be clear, any time anyone talks about progressive taxes, they are discussing expanding the base tax rate.  Making tax increases sound more pleasant is a key to twisting the meaning of words and exercising tyranny on a population.

Regressive

As you might have probably guessed, regression is the exact opposite of progression.  Regressive as an adjective relates to the production of regression, decreasing the rate as the base increases, and is characterized by simplification of structures in an evolutionary process.  Regression is the action of regressing, and regressing relates to the act of reasoning backward, moving backward to a previous, and possibly worse or more primitive state, but it is also a privilege of going or coming back to something.

Emotions and Language

Emtional Investment CycleThe terms progressive and regressive are a perfect example of how emotions and language mix.  Without knowing all the definitions of a word, people will choose to use the sound of the word to decide whether the word sounds harsh or pleasant.  For example, progression sounds good, and regression sounds bad, but progress has roots in royalty taking a trip, and regression is a privilege or returning.  Hence, one of the main themes in these articles has been and continues to be how to control your emotions to improve your decision-making, the need to read, the opportunity to learn and keep learning words to empower conversation and knowledge.Apathy

When emotions rule, people like President Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Bush II, and many others with conspiring congresses get away with fundamentally destroying the fabric of America.  One of the tricks used against the citizens of America and in many democratically elected governments across the globe has been using language and emotions to enact reigns of tyranny.  Let us face facts, the IRS and the Federal Income Tax are not progressive; America did not move forward by paying a tax that fundamentally hurts people in their wallets.  Education reform and progressive schools did not improve America’s ability to compete globally on reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The progressive ideas from the late 1800s to shut down literacy among government-mandated schools did not improve America!  Frankly, we should count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to regress on these fronts.

Sales Taxes

Bird of PreyOf all the progressive ideas needing to be eliminated, the sales tax sits at the highest pinnacle for regression.  Consider this, in states with the highest sales taxes, the sales tax is a pyramid where the final consumer winds up paying taxes on business-to-business transactions, dynamically increasing the price of the final goods or services delivered.  Business A buys raw goods from Business B and sells these goods to Business C to make small parts.  Business A buys these goods from Business C and sells them as finished goods to a consumer.  In a sales tax pyramid, the government gets paid at the end of every transaction; thus, a product in Vermont will be less expensive than a product in South Dakota, due precisely to the sales taxes paid by Businesses AB, B, and C during the manufacturing process.  Thus, the top five states in the United States with the highest sales taxes have a tax pyramid scheme in place, and the end consumer pays through the nose for everything!

In states with a less broad sales tax base, the sales tax remains egregious but more silent in how it steals your money!  According to the states with tax pyramid schemes, those with a less broad sales tax base are considered regressive, and those with the highest sales tax base are called progressive.  Either way, the sales tax continues to be the silent killer of ingenuity, innovation, job growth, and so much more.  Because people expect to pay a sales tax as a condition of making a purchase, the sales tax has become the majority of the fuel price paid to power a car, the hinge upon where jobs are produced, and part of the reasoning for populations to flee from.Plato 3

From an article on sales taxes by the Tax Foundation, we find the following important information:

“Narrow sales tax bases reduce collections, but more importantly, they make the tax less neutral and less economically efficient. Many states exempt certain goods (like groceries or clothing) from the sales tax for political reasons, excluding many consumer services (such as dry cleaning, haircuts, or tax preparation) largely by historical accident. Most states instituted their sales taxes during the Great Depression when services made up a much smaller portion of the economy. Since then, the portion of total U.S. personal consumption dedicated to services has grown significantly, while the purchase of goods has declined. This trend has contributed to the erosion of states’ sales tax bases over time, an unintentional base narrowing that puts upward pressure on sales tax rates.

Remember, sales taxes going up are considered progress. Reducing or eliminating the sales tax, which is the right path forward, is deemed to be regressive, based solely upon the sound of the terms being used.  Broader tax bases are not equitable, but many economists, especially those Keynesian Devotees, will claim broader tax bases and pyramid tax schemes are progressive, equitable, and helps the rich pay their “fair share.”  How can a person tell that sales tax schemes do not work to make “equitable” tax bases; “Curiously, a policy expressly designed to inject progressivity into sales taxes—an exemption for groceries—largely fails to accomplish its purpose. Studies suggest that the exclusion of groceries beyond the necessary exemption for food purchased using SNAP or WIC does not favor lower earners.”

Plato 2While the Tax Foundation does an admirable job pitching for “right-sizing” the tax base to make sales taxes more “equitable,” they miss the forest for the tree.  Sales taxes are a silent killer and need to be regressed from American purchases at the earliest opportunity!  Taxes never produce progress!  Write that on your hand, and use that hand to correct the behavior of politicians who want “progressive taxes,” a “federal sales tax,” or want to improve tax burdens progressively.  When did American goods stop being traded, and manufacturing jobs were exported when the income tax started!  Why do people not want to live where they pay high sales taxes because of the progressive nature of sales taxes, the other progressive tax structures, and the only entity winning is the government.

Knowledge Check!America, we need to regress from the state where the income and sales taxes have taken us.  We cannot afford the government largess stolen from workers anymore.  We cannot afford the size of local, county, state, and federal governments.  Until the taxes are regressed, which would be a huge opportunity to realize, we will continue to be treated as the property of the government, and I, for one, am done being owned and forced into indentured servitude just to pay for the government who abuses me!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.