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The Foundation

“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” – Gen. George S. Patton

Conservative Talk: What did they say?

Terry Paulson | “Give Me Individual Liberty Not Government Dependence”

Dennis Prager has recently added a pearl of wisdom to his repertoire of truths—“The larger the government, the smaller the individual.” The biggest danger from President Obama’s march to bigger government rests in what this means to the grounding principles that have made America great. Will America renew its commitment to individual liberty and personal responsibility or give in to government dependence and control?

As current Tea Party demonstrators would agree, Benjamin Franklin criticized King George’s high taxes to pay for the welfare entitlements of his time, “I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that act (taxes for welfare), you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on someone else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness. In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.”

Franklin preferred “responsible” caring, “I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it…. Repeal that law (taxes), and you will soon see a change in their manners. Labor…will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.”

Thomas Jefferson concurred, “A wise and frugal government…shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” Abraham Lincoln stressed common sense, “The worst thing you can do for those you love is the thing they could and should do for themselves.”

Mark W. Hendrickson | The VAT-Man Cometh?

Recently, progressives have made noise about introducing a value-added tax (VAT) in the United States. The VAT is an indirect tax—that is, Americans wouldn’t pay the tax directly to government, but would pay it to businesses as part of the retail price of things we buy, and businesses would then remit the tax to Uncle Sam.

A VAT is set at a fixed rate—say, 10 or 15 percent—added to the price of a good at every step of production, with a deduction allowed for the amount of VAT paid during earlier stages of production. The more steps there are in transforming raw materials into complex consumer goods, the higher the resulting consumer price as a result of those multiple layers of taxation.

Many countries have VATs, including Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. One might say that a VAT is an emblem signifying that a country’s government consumes a large percentage of its GDP, for VATs seem to go hand-in-hand with big-budget nanny states.

The reason for this phenomenon is simple: Any government that seeks to be all things to all people, and therefore seeks to spend ubiquitously, must inevitably seek to tax ubiquitously. Such governments have insatiable appetites for revenue. Because VATs are cash cows, diverting huge sums of money from consumers to government, they are favorites of big-spending governments.

Unfortunately, though, VATs have significant negative economic consequences.

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