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In the long run, free is never free

When I was about 12, I was really excited when my dad said we could get a power mower. After he let me pick one out, he advised the clerk that I would be paying for it, $9.75 per month. No more excitement. Many more lawn jobs. But eventually I owned my own mower.
This political season we are being offered lots of stuff for free.
The recent presidential debate promised free college education, paid family leave, subsidized/free health care for anyone who comes in the country legally or illegally, child care, pre-school, expanded Medicare, more military, expanded Social Security, higher minimum wage, another trillion in infrastructure, more aide to Israel, etc. etc.
And we are still a year out from the election.
These promises sound great, especially to our younger voters. After all, who could deny people any of these? But, the fact is, they come at a heavy cost and, as with my mower experience, someone has to pay, eventually.
Politicians of all stripes pile up debt with new programs they can tout while campaigning, then increase our debt and taxes to pay for them once elected. No wonder elections fall so close to Christmas.
And this is the cycle in which Congress and the White House have operated for the past 70 years or more.
In fact, in the last 15 years, our debt has grown three times faster than our economy. Now we have politicians advocating doubling down by adding exponential debt to this number.
Much of the spending is a result of self-inflicted wounds. For example, government policies and regulations destroy private sector jobs leaving 95 million people unemployed. Then there is a need for more unemployment and food stamps, which requires more taxes from fewer people.
The most politically correct solution to this is to tax the rich more. After all, “they have lots of money; 2 percent of the people control all the planet’s money.” These are the same “rich” who pay 95 percent of our taxes, and who are abandoning U.S. citizenship at a record pace.
Now some politicians want to tax everyone. Bottom line: Government has no money except that for which it can use its coercive power to extract money from its individual citizens. Income, sales, corporate, FICA, Medicare, etc. are all trickle-up taxes that start with our pocketbooks and wind up in government coffers, who waste, reward and redistribute it as “they” see fit to whom they see fit.
True, taxes are necessary. Excessive taxes are not.
But if we took all of Americans’ earnings and investments, every dime owned by Americans in every country and gave it all to the government, would the government have enough money to continue to operate? Not long, and the next year, nothing is left to tax. And meanwhile, the need for government assistance would grow as more jobs went away.
America’s problem is not the taking of too little off our kitchen table, it’s insatiable government spending designed to keep incumbents in power.
It’s time for government to take a serious look at waste, wasteful programs, fraud and things that can be outsourced back into the private sector and faith community.
We need to get the costly, ineffective, one-size-fits-all government bureaucracy out of the way, not give it more to do and spend.
Just like when I realized when buying my mower that somebody is going to have to pay someday. And guess who it is?
Let’s stop the bleeding.