In the Dec 19th Perspectives (Inland Newspapers), Garland Byrum’s and Daniel Jeffs’ letters are used to ‘debate’ whether it is “time for sacrifice”. People have always sacrificed here. Americans have long been the most charitable people on Earth, whether in support of our own citizens or responding to distant emergencies. Our government typically gives more than any other (and most combined) to any given aid drive and our people freely donate more than our government.
Byrum is a lawyer with the American Institute for Progressive Democracy and 1st V.P. of the Democratic Club of Claremont (his ‘USAPAC” could be any one of several by that name ranging from “Conservative Leadership” to the “Communist Party, USA”). He admits that our deficit (quintupled since Progressives took supermajority control of the government and equal to the first 42 presidents’ combined) is “unsustainable”.
From there he departs from reality, asserting that “common good cannot be sustained by cutting expenses alone” and if there is a government program that we individually benefit from, “adding taxes will require sacrifice”. He then recites the Left’s class warfare mantra of looting “the rich”, using partial information about tax rates.
Byrum’s “common good” likely includes giving 47% of the population a complete pass on income taxes, while the top 2% pay about 70% of those taxes. They also get “rebates” on the taxes they didn’t pay. These are I.R.S. return numbers, not skewed statistics to be quoted with “but they use loopholes”. The loophole asterisk belongs with his citation of Eisenhower’s “91%” tax rate: the 1950’s tax code was rife with loopholes and less than half of that rate was actually paid. It has been proven over and over through history that overtaxing the rich just makes the rich go elsewhere to hire and invest, while “common good” free rides make the poor dependant on their welfare masters and run up the debt. Socialist “rich” cry for higher taxes (and their loopholes) but somehow fail to donate to the government, while conservative “rich” donate far more to charity.
What made young America a superpower in only 150 years, and THE superpower in another 100 (despite Socialist waste, interference and sabotage), was maintaining a minimum level of centralized government and allowing the individual desire to prosper bring the entire economy up with it. They let families and local charity or faith-based groups do their much better job of caring for the needy. Then local or state approved government programs took care of the little that remained.
The correct ending for Byrum’s, “…if there is a government program…”, is not, “…adding taxes will require sacrifice.” The correct ending is, “…it should be eliminated in favor of the better system.” The Constitution does not provide for centralized welfare control among the enumerated powers. It is the several states that created the United States, and they and their People actually hold most of the power. Until the 1920’s Progressives, our debt and deficit rates were almost flat, because the system worked. Certainly, we cannot just cut people off. We must honor the contracts we made with the poor, the elderly and the sick. But we can start the process of moving responsibility and control back out where it belongs; gradually move people into equal or better programs that are NOT going through the vast bureaucracy. Better yet, help many of them out of indentured servitude and, over time, into self-sufficiency. This means no welfare-imposed limits on prosperity for minorities and the poor.
The reason that too many politicians and lawyers don’t like this obvious answer is that power over the federal valves that control the flow of trillions of dollars is vast power. Even a little “leakage” to individuals and their cronies is measured in billions of dollars.
Daniel Jeffs’ “Why give more?” doesn't appear to be written for this debate, but his points are all solid. He has served the People at the local level for decades. He does not appear to be one of the growing numbers of unionized “public servants” that double-dip and triple-dip to bring home more in retirement than they ever earned. He, like most of us, is still willing to contribute what he can: his time and experience to help others.
When the people recognize (as 70% now do) that our system has been corrupted to favor centralized power over efficient use of charity and local control, they get frustrated by the continued waste and abuse they now see in the stunningly arrogant, “lame duck” session. Only a month after a historic repudiation of the Left by voters, Progressives (even a few in the GOP) were cramming another TRILLION dollars of pork into bloated giveaway bills as if it was their right to do so.
Conservatives stopped most of the additional damage. Repair will come, but slowly. If government (especially the higher levels) would get out of the way, more people would have more money to contribute as well.