Skip to comments.The Citizen and the Government
Posted on 05/22/2012 4:41:41 AM PDT by Kaslin
In the Aesop Fable "The Grasshopper and the Ant," there are moral, economic and political lessons for our time, or any other.
As the story goes, the lazy grasshopper wiles away his summer days singing and hopping and having an all-around good time while industrious ants work and march and struggle to carry kernels of corn to their anthills, storing up for the winter to come.
As you would imagine, the inevitable happens. Come winter, the ants have plenty of food to see them through the cold, fallow months. The fun-loving grasshopper has nothing. The grasshopper begs the hardworking ants to share their bounty, but they refuse.
Let's begin with the political lesson. Government, the grasshopper in this little morality tale, is constantly trying to get its citizens, the ants, to cough up more and more of what they've earned by the sweat of their brows so that it might pay for its own needs.
The latest of many recent examples occurred last week in Maryland where the majority Democratic legislature passed another tax increase on "the rich."
Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley and the legislators have lowered the definition of "rich" from the arbitrary $250,000 established by President Obama, to $100,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples filing jointly. Maryland residents will now be slapped with a new tax on top of already high state and local taxes, tying the state's new state-local tax bracket, according to the Washington Post, with that of "...the District's for fourth-highest in the nation." Especially in the expensive Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., incomes of $100,000 and $150,000 are barely middle class.
The tax hike caused the Democratic comptroller, Peter Franchot, to protest. Franchot told Washington radio station WMAL his fellow Maryland Democrats "try to be loyal and want to be supportive of their party, but they're becoming very frustrated with this long list of almost indiscriminate tax increases that we're faced with on an annual basis."
Only if the tax-and-spend "grasshoppers" start feeling the heat from the taxpaying "ants" are they likely to reverse course. Some of that heat may soon be coming from people who are fed up enough to act. There are reports of wealthy individuals and some businesses from states with high taxes, including Maryland and certainly California, moving to states with a lower state tax, or no state tax at all.
The economic lesson is this: Human nature has demonstrated that if government can squeeze more money out of its citizens without having to cut wasteful spending, it will; and if citizens can get other people's money without having to earn it, they will become addicted to government and come to regard the sustenance as an entitlement.
Compare the huge number of ineffective and wasteful government programs with The Marshall Plan of 1948, which established the Economic Cooperation Administration, the intent of which was to provide $13.3 billion in U.S. aid to Western European countries to rebuild industry and put people back to work after World War II. Much of Europe is in crisis today because it has become a victim of its own welfare state. Instead of industry, there is indolence. Economies are in trouble because government, not the individual, has become supreme. France just elected a socialist president, rejecting necessary austerity. The European gravy train has derailed.
In America, too, many of our domestic programs merely sustain people in poverty rather than help them to become self-sufficient. Liberal politicians, especially, think this is perfectly fine because addiction to government means addiction to them and to the perpetuation of their liberal agenda.
The moral lesson is this: When government takes money from people who earn it, government has a responsibility to spend it wisely and in ways that achieve the ends set down in our founding documents. Chief among these is that noble sentiment found in the Preamble to the Constitution about promoting "the general welfare." By "spreading the wealth around," rather than teaching and encouraging individuals to build wealth for themselves, government robs people of the joy produced by human initiative; indeed it takes from them one of the building blocks that makes us unique among living things: the dignity and reward of work.
The moral, political and economic lessons of the past are in fables and reality to teach the present and ensure a better future. By ignoring them, Europe and America risk repeating costly mistakes and suffering the consequences.
California, Illinois & New York are all examples of states where recent state personal income tax revenues are cratering, while other more reasonable states are experiencing recovery in state revenues.
It's very striking when you see the numbers.
Progressive tax policies are politically popular, but they are economically unwise. For one thing, tax revenue becomes far more volatile when fewer people share the burden. Think of it as 4 guys carrying a heavy crate versus 20 guys. If one guy of the four drops out, the impact is far more severe.
Secondly, the tax increases have to be more and more draconian to raise enough money. The higher rates don’t kick in until the higher income levels are reached, again meaning far fewer people are affected and the percentage increase must be more severe in order to raise the desired revenue.
Finally, people will simply avoid taxes if the rate is raised too high. That might mean moving out of the state, but it could also be as simple as choosing to be less productive. If someone knows they’re only going to be able to keep a small portion of what they earn by working much harder, they lose the incentive to strive harder to make more.
States like Illinois and California are fighting a losing battle. They keep asking fewer and fewer people to sacrifice more. Those people don’t just still still and take it. That’s why the states almost always end up making much less revenue than they project from a given tax increase.
Yet, there are ardent plans still moving along to build another High Speed Rail boondoggle——the H S train from Victorville, Calif to Las Vegas.
I used to live in So Calif.
I still have friends there. I have asked a number of them if they would use the high speed train described.
The resounding reply is NO-—ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Why would I put my car into an unsecured place in Victorville—pay for such a priviledge—Hassle with my luggage to get onto a train to ride for 2 hours—hassle the luggage off the train and then be a captured audience & have to pay for a cab to my destination within Las Vegas?”
That was the usual answer.
Time for a serious population shift or a serious shift in voting patterns.
Time also to do mandatory testing on all welfare, food stamp, etc, recipients, along with those who have found a method to collect Soc Sec disability or other kinds of ‘disabilities’. Such testing to be at least every 8 weeks, and the welfare immediately cut off when they fail.
Kick them off the hand out lists when they are caught dirty. Everything—welfare—food stamps—Section 8 housing—free medical—free dental—free cell phones—EVERYTHING.
Those who think it is wonderful to collect unemployment for more than 26 weeks, make them pick up trash along the highway, clean parks and playgrounds and do landscaping on public spaces. They can also clean up graffitti. MOst communities have had to drop their graffitti removal persons off the public payroll.
I wonder if their is a connection between this article and the fact that “Fables” have been removed from schools in favor of ‘Heather has two Mommies”?
The FL legislature passed and Governor Rick Scott signed such a law last year.
A court found it unconstitutional.