Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Presidential Candidates – Taxes and Private Property

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 18, 2008

Is there anyone else sick and tired of the continuous increases in our taxes?  The average American works past July 4th before they get to keep their first penny of earnings!  Our founding fathers would be outraged for two important reasons: first, why we let it happen and second, why we haven’t done anything about it?  Does anyone honestly think the answer is to give more funds to the government to take care of our needs?  If you do, let me share with you one of the better documented cases of taxation producing results opposite of intentions.  President Lyndon
Baines Johnson was an influential president with a large ego.  Driven by a desire to leave an enduring legacy, President Johnson declared a national “War on Poverty” with an objective of a “total victory” for his Great Society. 
By its very definition “war” entails the use of violence and we should be concerned when violence is used against someone’s private property to ameliorate someone else’s living conditions.  Economically speaking, anytime poverty is rewarded—more people will become dependent on aid, where they once were dependent on their personal efforts.  Michael Tanner documents:

Since the War on Poverty began in 1965, federal, state, and local governments have spent more than $5.4 trillion fighting poverty in this country.  How
much money is $5.4 trillion?  It is 70% more than it cost to fight World War II.
For $5.4 trillion you could purchase the assets of all the Fortune 500 corporations and all the farmland in the United States.  Yet . . . the poverty rate is actually higher today [1996] than it was in 1965.

Talk about a major investment with a negative return!  Only the government could afford an investment like this.  Would any conventional business be capable of ignoring the investment vs. return on something of this magnitude?
Our politicians ought to accept responsibility and apologize to the American people for their short sighted programs.  The problem with our government is not that it makes mistakes, but that it rarely learns from them.  The more overnment promises, the more they have to take our property to pay the bills.
I am genuinely concerned every time I hear a politician promise some government benefit.  I know that means more moms off to the work place to pay for the politician’s campaign promise.  Richard Pipes conclusions on the alleged “War on Poverty” in his book Property and Freedom, is biting, on the mark and near impossible to describe any better:

Between the launch of the Great Society in 1965 and 1993,
the percentage of the population living below the poverty line rose from about 12.5 percent to 15 percent.  This has
occurred during a period when welfare spending increased from under $50 billion
annually to $324 billion.  The reason for this unexpected outcome is that welfare fosters dependency and dependency promotes poverty.  This trend is most
obvious in the case of the program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children.  Originally conceived as a way
of assisting widowed mothers, its main effect has been to encourage unmarried women to have children, who become government wards.  Thus, whereas in 1960 only 5.3 percent of births occurred out of wedlock, in 1990 this figure rose to 28 percent; among blacks, it was 65.2 percent.  Ninety-two
percent of families on welfare have no father present.  Bountiful welfare, welfare which does not confine itself to meeting emergencies and situations out of the recipients’ control but attempts artificially to provide them (in FDR’s words) with a “comfortable living,” is not only injurious to the principle of property, an indispensable adjunct of freedom, but self-defeating.

The right to property in and of itself does not guarantee civil rights and liberties.  But historically speaking, it has been the single most effective device
for ensuring both, because it creates an autonomous sphere in which, by mutual consent, neither the state nor society can encroach: by drawing a line between the public and the private, it makes the owner co-sovereign, as it were.  Hence, it is arguably more important than the right to vote.  The weakening of property rights by such devices as wealth distribution for purposes of social welfare and interference with contractual rights for the sake of “civil rights” undermines liberty in the most advanced democracies even as the peacetime accumulation of wealth and the observance of democratic procedures convey the impression that all is well. 

The more money we throw at poverty the more we take people’s self respect—making the problem worse than when we started.  I love people too much to take their belief in themselves’ and their ability to solve their own problems.  Yes, we may struggle at times, but we will learn and grow through the process.  Richard Epstein writes, “With a tax, the government takes property in the narrowest sense of the term, ending up with ownership and possession of that which was once in private hands. . . Taxation is prima facie a taking of private property.”  We must arrest the tax creep going on in American society.  To boil a frog, you slowly increase the temperature.  The frog will adjust to the slight increases and never attempt to jump out of the pan.  In the same way, we have been slow boiled by rising taxes.  Remember, the revolutionary war was started on a tax of less than 1%.  It is time to massively reduce taxes, just like a company would reduce their budget after a failed business line.  The welfare state has failed, socialism has failed, and communism has failed.
The only successful economic system is free enterprise tempered with
Judeo-Christian justice, charity and love.  Winston Churchill said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”  I will take a productive people with the inequalities of wealth associated with people’s different gifts, skills, and work ethic over the envy and laziness associated with a culture that demands equality through coercion.   The welfare state taxes societies’ achievers to give to the past generations temporary poor and in doing so creates a class of permanent under-achievers.  What kind of logic is this? 

Any presidential candidate must address specifically how they plan on reducing government and the multitudinous pork barrel projects now.  No household can afford to run a negative balance for long without paying heavy consequences.  Why do we allow government to routinely do what we would not and cannot do?  We need a mandated balanced budget and some leader willing to make some tough calls to reduce the budget.  I honestly believe that we stand at a precipice—if we continuing to raise taxes, we will destroy the very liberties that made America the land of the free.   Any candidate that is promising all kinds of government benefits is promising to tax Americans today or tax our children tomorrow.  Enough is enough!  Don’t give me unearned benefits—just ensure my opportunity to enter the free enterprise system and my performance will ensure my benefits.  In 1992, I was living in a trailer, but I had a dream and I knew I wasn’t lazy.  I was engaged to be married and excited about the future.  I had plenty to learn, but a willingness to fail and get up and try again.  Don’t give me a handout and take my self respect.  You can give someone encouragement, give someone money, but self respect is an inside job!  Americans are some of the hardest working people and are not looking for hand outs, but hand ups.  The Team is made up of individuals who know, “If it is to be then it is up to me.”  This is what the Team training is all about—teaching people how to help themselves and others.  As Ronald Reagan
said, “America is the last best hope for mankind.”  Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Update:
I want everyone to know that I believe in a limited government as the founding fathers did.  Limited government means—let the citizens accept responsibility for the greatest sphere of action and only utilize government where no individual or group of individuals can accomplish the task.  Government is by nature a monopoly and when government gets involved in an activity, it very rarely withdraws from the field.  Everyone knows that it is much easier to start a government program than to end one.  The more government is involved, the less money and influence the private sector has in that field.  People naturally learn from mistakes due to the pain of failure, but government rarely learns because they do not experience the same pain of failure as individuals and private companies.  An example would be GM, which
ran like a federal government for years, (and had a budget like some smaller
countries) but is now paying the price for failed policies and learning hard
lessons.  Our federal government when it fails, merely taxes more, increases money supply through inflation or borrows more money—this delays the lessons for our future generations.  I am not the type of person to pass the buck to our future generations and I desire a restoration of the government
principles that made our country great originally!  The founding fathers spelled out their principles of government in the Federalist Papers in three broad
categories:

1. Settling disputes according to the Rule of Law between individuals.

2. Protection from criminals attempting to steal, lie or coerce profits vs. earn them by service.

3. Ensure liberty for all by providing protection from foreign invaders.

God Bless, Orrin Woodward

5 Responses to “Presidential Candidates – Taxes and Private Property”

  1. […] budget would have to admit something has gone drastically wrong since World War II.  Deficit spending has skyrocketed; savings for Americans are at all-time low numbers, government spending makes up […]

  2. […] without an income tax, so don’t tell me that society would crumble without it.  I agree that massive government would crumble without our money, but government in America was never intended to be the behemoth […]

  3. […] admit failure before it can break free of it prevailing Keynesian paradigm.  Every promise by Big Government to solve your problems is actually a power grab to take more of your money and freedoms.  Wake […]

  4. […] born here to be an automatic citizen. Then the illegals came by the tens of thousands. Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families: you have to wait 6 hours […]

  5. […] our country, that are elected to maintain our national freedoms, are allowing us to sink into the bondage of debt?  This is not a little issue, it is the difference between a free & prosperous America or […]

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