On Greed

“Every effort must be made to increase forfeiture income.” Attorney General Richard Thornburgh warning federal prosecutors in 1990 when the Justice Department was falling short of the $470 million in asset forfeitures they had expected. (reported in the Nando Times, July 5, 1999)

A couple weekends ago I attended the Iowans for Tax Relief Gubernatorial Forum, and had a chance to hear five of the six candidates for governor speak on what their platforms will be regarding taxes (Governor Culver was invited but declined to attend). All were asked to talk about their viewpoints on taxes, jobs and good governance. There were three Republican candidates (Rod Roberts, Bob Vander Plaats & Terry Branstad), one Independent (Jonathan Narcisse) and one Libertarian (Eric Cooper). The keynote speaker was Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. All addressed how taxes are burdensome, how the government bloated, and what they would do to help solve some of these issues.

All made quite good points (I may quote them in future articles), but it was a statement by the Libertarian candidate Eric Cooper that really got me to think about how our government is greedy. According to Cooper, “government is a monopoly, with little incentive to please its customers or be efficient”. Cooper went on to say that “children not yet born will be paying off the debts created today. This is taxation without representation in its purist form”.  Monopolies by definition thrive on one thing: greed. Debt is a symptom of that greed; of wanting something now no matter what the consequence is to one’s future or that of another’s. The very government that is currently decrying the greed of the Wall Street is quite blind to its own.

For evidence of government greed you need look no further than your paycheck. Look at your gross, and then look at your net, and then tell me who you think is greedier: your bank, your broker, or your government? According to Thomas Sorwell, who coined the term “tax gouging”, most people are more apt to complain about the price gouging of businesses instead of the tax gouging of government. Both lead to less money in an American citizen’s pocket, yet the latter has an added cost: with more taxes come more regulation, with more regulation comes less liberty. While the government keeps us distracted with how they are fighting the errors of business that harms a few, we are unable to fight the errors of government that harms us all.

Americans suffer not only from the consequences of unscrupulous men and women in business, but unscrupulous men and women in government. Why are so many of the electorate quite content to lift leaders up to be above the normal failings of man? Are they somehow immune to the very things for which we now condemn Wall Street?  Does elected office somehow shield our officials from the temptations of money and power? Are not these men and women all imperfect like us? Yes, indeed we know they are.

Therefore, it is upon We The People to jealously guard that which was purchased at a far greater price than any Wall Street bank account. Our liberty and freedom are far more precious resources than our money. We can have freedom without prosperity, but we will never have prosperity without freedom. There are no regulators to regulate our government – this duty falls on us alone.  We must understand that elected office does not confer or maintain intellect, knowledge, humility, wisdom or perfection, so be wary of those that claim it to be so.

Seek truth! Question boldly! It is our birthright!

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which 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.” Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address; March 4, 1801

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply