There is a fundamental rule in architecture, always build upon a sturdy foundation. It is as old as the Bible, the earliest builders understood to build on shifting sands was to invite ruin. That if not on solid rock we stand all other ground is sinking sand so to speak. These laws also apply to other creations, a nation for instance. The most basic relationship that a citizen has with his country is based around taxes. Be honest, how many of you thought of the structure of government until you saw just how much Uncle Sam was taking from your paycheck? A driver’s license is a rite of passage, most young people do not vote, only a small minority of people reside in jail cells, but no one can escape taxation. It is true that only half pay into the income tax system, but as we have covered ad nauseum here, the income tax system is only one small part of a 70,000+ page tax code that is only growing. It is the part that is played by politicians in front of a camera to divide the American people and solidify their own position of power. The fact is that the tax code extends into our everyday life in a surreptitious way that borders on sinister. To extricate ourselves from this entangling mess of a tax code we must not merely cut the growing vines but set fire to them. Nothing short of full repeal will allow us the necessary breathing room to jumpstart our economy from the individual, to the small business, on up to the large corporation.
It cannot be ignored or forgotten that the growth of government is directly tied to its ability to tax. There is a large segment of the population that believes that the first priority of government should be to cut its spending. It is true that government spending is out of control. That can be easily seen in the fifth consecutive $1 trillion deficit we have run. But the popular idiom, we do not have a taxing problem we have a spending problem, is misleading. The reason we have a spending problem is because of our taxing problem. The same government that has control of the checkbook also has the ability to gain taxes from whatever source derived. This, quite literally, unlimited power leaves the people without much of a say in the matter. We, under law, must pay our taxes; the government can tax to whatever degree they wish. If we question or protest, we are called greedy and elitist by those that have cameras recording their every word. Abraham Lincoln would certainly be confused with present circumstances for it seems we have a government created of, by, and for the politician. This is the result of nearly a century of government mandated control of our own wallets.
The issue of the balance of power has come to light during the last four years; the questions have surrounded our three coequal branches. Can a President stop enforcing a duly enacted piece of legislation? Can the Supreme Court make a political decision in an election year and still retain its credibility? How far can the Congressional subpoena power reach into the Executive branch and what communications are subject to be covered with Executive Privilege? The questions surrounding the balance of power are not avoided in national discourse yet the question is never asked as to the people’s position in government. It is merely understood that citizens are allowed to have a say at least once a year, but mostly every four years. Sometimes, if the political situation allows, they may have some impact in a mid-term election. The work load of the responsible citizen and the Olympic athlete should not share so many similarities. How many hoops do we jump through, how far must we travel, and how quick must we be with our messages? At the end of our efforts, we are not rewarded with a medal or trophy, but a form letter, a noncommittal answer, an effete promise to deal with the situation in an unnamed committee. What we have watched over the last several years is the creation of a new class of people. Congress is now creating laws that others must follow but that they themselves are immune from. Of course you remember the insider trading that was running rampant throughout Congress until it had to be exposed by an outside party. It should also not be forgotten that the Affordable Care Act that was passed, supposedly, for the betterment of all American citizens and allowed for Congressional members, their families, and their staff to remain immune from its effects. But few instances highlight the complete disregard for rules and our nation’s proud traditions as well as Patrick Kennedy’s DUI from 2006. He was stopped by Capitol Police at 2:45 in the morning and instead of owning up to his actions, that he later pled guilty to, he claimed to be on his way to the Hill for a vote. It seems a very silly excuse until it is realized that the police could not have detained him if he were indeed involved in official business. He knew that legal loophole all too well and even in a diminished capacity had the wherewithal to call such information to his mind. He used the Constitution of the United States, a document fought over and fraught over with more diligence and care than we may ever be able to comprehend, and attempted to use it to cover his rear. There is no respect for our founding values in the highest offices of the land, why are we confused as to the reason its appeal is waning for our future generations?
There could be no clearer example that our elected leaders are out of touch with the average American. In an era when communication is easier and cheaper than any other this should not be accepted. We can only conclude that the reason that they are so far removed and seemingly so little concerned with the lives of American citizens is that they do not have to be. Representatives very rarely represent their constituents anymore. Listen to them speak, they represent the interests of their constituents. The difference may seem slight but it is telling. The interests of constituents are not expressed by voters at all, but by large groups. Whether those groups are corporations purchasing political favors and advantages or special interest groups ready to show political favor and positive media coverage of politicians willing to play their game. You see, it is not profitable to represent citizens anymore. The reason that people feel a lack of political representation is not a secret and the way to fix it is no less of one. This shell that surrounds our elected officials is the bureaucracy that we pay for. It is comprised of laws passed for special interest groups, paid for with money taken by a tax code largely changed to fit the desires of large corporations.
The FairTax releases us from this monstrosity. It is as John writes in the 15th Chapter. “I am the vine….apart from me you can do nothing.” Likewise we are removed from our founding. How long do we expect to survive? If our foundational principles are missing from today’s actions then we are doomed to wander lost without tether to anything familiar. Our destination could be a disastrous one with no guiding light to set us again on the path to success. If the scope of tax power is reduced to just consumption then the heretofore complicated and multi-faceted organization becomes as clear as day. People understand consumption taxes and are aware of them every time they spend. We are also more aware of when those taxes go up or down. Those who do not wish to stay aware of what their government is doing are forced into becoming political participants by the sheer power of perception alone. We know, regardless of the arguments from several political elites, that keeping our own money is not greedy. Taking money that does not belong to you to give to matters that many disagree with in such quantities that you cannot afford to ensure your own job is greedy. If the system is to become more transparent it will ensure that the American people can better hold our leaders accountable. If we are to continue paying a consumption tax for something as basic as groceries, then we will want to know how our money is being spent. If we begin to look under the hood of our government we will see that quite a bit of the machinery is useless, out dated, repetitive, or just not working. To curb spending we must first make people aware on a massive scale not seen today, we must hold our leaders accountable in a way that we cannot or do not do now. We cannot stop our out of control spending if the people continue to be divided with the class warfare inherent in our tax code. Both parties have had control of Washington in the past decade and our debt has risen to uncontrollable levels. Electing new Congressmen, changing the party in charge of the Senate, or choosing a new President is no guarantee against the spending controls we need now. All we can rely on is the campaign promises of a group of people who have made it a practice to dance around the needs of the American people while building a fortune for themselves. The only safeguard against an overpowering government is the input of the people and the only way we can return to them the power is to give them back the purse strings.
We are being crushed under the expanding weight of a federal bureaucracy that we can no longer afford. That is not the position envisioned for us by those who created this government. We were meant as overseers and masters of our own domain. The nobility of the individual is lost in the name of centralized power. We have corrupted an institution that was meant to watch over us into one that lords over us. The foundation of our country was built on the rock of individual liberty and responsibility. The tax code has suffered a daunting 4,500 changes over the last ten years. That is more than one per day. That is also the definition of shifting sands. To continue down this path is to invite calamity. A course correction is necessary to stave off such disastrous outcomes. Let us refashion our government to fit into the fundamental and bedrock building blocks of our founding. Lay the cornerstone of government at the heart of what the FairTax enshrines. The individual.