Ensuring Tomorrows Prosperity Today The economic slavery of our children
By Steven Burgauer, Candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois
The young people of this country need our help. Their future is being stolen by high taxes and oppressive laws. They have literally become slaves to our largesse, our middle-class entitlements.
A college education costs ten times what it did when I was a kid. So does a new home. Interest rates, on the other hand, are only a quarter as high. For a young person to get ahead today is almost impossible. Why else would so many of them be disaffected? They dont vote. They dont participate in the political process. They dont marry. They dont have children. They dont hold permanent jobs. And you want to know why? Because their taxes are too high and they realize that weve robbed them of their future.
A 14-year-old, who lands his first job, and is proud of his first paycheck, takes it to the bank only to discover that he wasnt paid what he was due, that hes had to pay Social Security tax on his meager earnings. This kid wont even be able to vote for 4 more years and already, as a society, we are stealing from him!
This same kid hears on the news that Social Security is bankrupt and yet his grandparents, whom he loves very much, spend every winter at their condominium in Florida and whine at Thanksgiving about the high prescription prices they have to pay for the drugs that keep them alive and who think the young should pay higher taxes still to subsidize their ever more expensive hospital stays. No wonder this kid decides not to work the following summer. Its a lot more fun to lay around the house and watch TV.
The disaffection continues when he sees politicians abuse their sacred trust by being scoundrels, or priests who abuse an even more sacred trust by being pedophiles, or corporate executives acting like common street criminals. The kid begins to wonder what hes getting for his tax dollar and why he should participate in an economy and a political system that leaves him holding the bag for todays excesses.
The kid thinks: What kind of society is it, when entitlement replaces responsibility? When coercion is described as compassion? When compulsory redistribution is called sharing? When race quotas become a substitute for diversity? When suicide is prescribed as death with dignity? When a celebrity is ascribed with courage for admitting she has an eating disorder? Its our troops in Afghanistan who have courage, not some overweight diva who gorges herself on pizza and then throws it all back up again.
Well, the problems of the Church are a matter for the courts, and the boards of directors of Americas corporations will soon be prodded to police their own, but there is something that can be done about big government and its enslavement of this young American.
Very simply put, his taxes are too high. A tax on labor discourages work, and a tax on capital is nothing more than a stealth tax on future labor. Because the young have so many years of saving ahead of them, taxes on capital hurt them far more than the old, who tend to spend their income as it arrives. So not only are people penalized for working, theyre penalized doubly for working early in life. Now can you see why Im in favor of eliminating the income tax on young people?
Lets look at the record. From the founding of the republic in 1776, until the early part of the last century, combined total government spending at all levels rarely exceeded 10 percent of national income. The only exceptions were during periods of war, of which there were several. At the start of the 20th century, taxes accounted for just 6% of income; by centurys end they had ballooned to more than one-third of GNP. Is there anyone out there besides Teddy Kennedy who thinks taxes are too low? Perhaps Dick Durbin; he voted against the Bush tax cut, small as it was.
Unprecedented affluence has had an unprecedented impact on the nations political agenda. It has altered the nations political sensibilities, reducing to the vanishing point the once-sturdy concern for limited government. Though I would be the last one on the planet to argue for less affluence, I have to wonder whether our prosperity has made limited government nothing more than a quaint idea in many peoples minds.
The nations freedom and prosperity have been secured. Most of the problems that used to dominate the legislature on a day-to-day basis have been solved. Things like reducing pollution, improving medical care, providing more police. These problems are no longer resource problems, and the sacrifices involved in paying for such things are no longer prohibitive. Americans are exceptionally prosperous, self-sufficient, and at peace with one another, and yet, government continues to grow at a prodigious rate.
Government outlays at all levels, plus regulatory costs imposed on the private sector have grown more than 50 percent faster than the economy as a whole for five decades and now claim more than one-third of our entire GNP. The federal government owns one-third of all the land. It pays for 40 percent of all the medical care. It manages nearly 50 percent of our peoples retirement funds. And of course it regulates countless industries. Most Americans have become so accustomed to living and working within a web of government rules, they no longer question it.
Granted, there are some forces which tend to work against the unstoppable growth of government. Money can always move to a more hospitable jurisdiction, as can people and services. But increasingly, government is using what I would call the terrorist excuse to track down and intimidate even the movement of money. This is one reason why Im in favor of a new Financial Privacy Act, one that will protect our right to keep assets below the radar screen of government. Just think about what government requires you to report. Every birth, every death, every trip into or out of the country, every dollar you earn, every capital asset you sell, every home you buy, every gift you make, every loan you take, every deposit or withdrawal of cash from your bank account. Isnt it about time we put a stop to all this?
I say it is. Lets free the young of this country from their economic slavery. Lets push for a smaller, less intrusive national government. The reduction in size, scope, and level of responsibility of the Federal government is critical to the basic concepts of individual freedom and states rights. Necessary to this end are the employment of fewer bureaucrats, less Federal spending, fewer enforceable statutes, a smaller scope of responsibility, and a greater scrutiny by the public. Individual states should be granted more authority to decide what is right for their own citizens without fear of interference from the central government.
Lets work to institute a sharply lower and flatter tax-rate schedule, with a maximum rate no higher than 20 percent. Hard working, lower-paid individuals should not be forced into poverty by our tax system. Thus incomes below $25,000 should not be subject to income taxes of any kind. Not only should the tax code be simplified and rates lowered, but stealth taxes, like the alternative minimum tax, should be eliminated altogether.
Lets insist on the elimination of both income and social security taxes on young people up to age 25 who are trying to finish college and establish themselves in their first jobs. At a bare minimum, those under 18 who cannot vote should not be required to pay taxes of any kind. There will be no taxation without representation.
And while were at it, lets get rid of the death tax and the capital-gains tax. Only then will the economic slavery of our children truly be ended.
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