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When Insanity Rules 04/03/2009

Tax payers and tax consumers

We are becoming divided between those who pay taxes and those who consume taxes.

 

I am increasingly concerned for our country, given the flood of rapid, poorly-conceived decisions that will produce negative consequences for decades. Not for one moment am I implying that our leaders or our citizens are insane. I am stating that the practices we are presently engaging in are nothing short of pure insanity.

Consider the fact the source of our "bail outs" for companies in dire debt is actually the biggest debtor of all. Government runs a higher deficit and carries a greater debt than any corporation or individual, yet they are the ones guaranteeing our financial security. By "robbing Peter to pay Paul," we are not digging our way out of an economic pit; we are actually preparing a grave for our economic hope. Neither individuals nor governments have ever successfully spent their way out of debt through increasing lines of credit. That's insane!

Many of our elected officials and their appointees have never owned or operated a business, but they are now taking over America's most influential companies. The man who runs the IRS could not accurately determine his own taxes or simply refused to pay them. Now he is overseeing the largest tax increase in American history. Former vice-presidential nominee John Edwards spoke often of "two Americas" as the "haves" and "have-nots," but I fear we are moving rapidly toward a deep division between the tax payers and the tax consumers.

Candidate Obama said, "Under my plan, no family making under $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." Joe Biden repeated this pledge, too. This week, cigarette taxes went from 39 cents to $1.01 per pack. This disproportionally hits those well under the $250,000-a-year level.

I am not defending smoking -- it killed many people I loved and I personally dislike it. I just see this as one example of the gap between the words and actions of our leaders. I also see how crazy it is to justify a cigarette tax by claiming the funds will go toward "children's health care." Taxes are being used to purge a bad habit while creating a program with growing needs. If the tax is successful, there will be no money for the children!

Over and over, we have heard how the terrible economic situation was brought on by greed and manipulation. But the architects of the recovery directly benefited from the failure of the banks and mortgage companies, which were largely influenced by the policies the architects wrote into law. Now the politicians and Wall Street financiers are further benefitting by the "stimulus packages" while manipulating an unsuspecting public that doesn't discern the lies. We are led to believe something is true when it is not, then deceived by our belief system.

We have abandoned the principles of a free market system with limited government oversight for a government that provides every need. Never in history has this worked. "Good enough for government work" is an old catchphrase because government has always had a tendency to run things poorly. Now those who are in power tell us that they can run all things better than the private sector. But bigger government will only lead to bigger failures.

We fail to see that the strength of our economy was built on calculated risk, wise investment and hard work. Failure provided valuable lessons so success could rise to the top. Today, we reward companies that have failed and give bonuses to those who oversaw the failure. A free market would never knowingly reward such poor management. A government operating in its proper role would punish those who broke the law and amassed their wealth through greed, manipulation and dishonesty. The penalty would be equally applied to many in Congress who inspired and helped create the mess.

Creating an environment of equal opportunity is far different from providing care, whether someone participates in the free market system or not. Government should encourage opportunity and punish discrimination, but that doesn't mean implementing a well-intentioned, but ill-conceived, system of race, gender or sexual-preferences quotas. Imagine if the president, who made a show of filling out his March Madness brackets, insisted that each college basketball team had a certain number of white, black, Hispanic, Asian, female and gay players on the court at all times. The Final Four would not only be different, it would be far inferior. (By the way, if you watch this weekend's games, you will likely see a court with 10 black men at some point. This is how we maintain equal opportunity, success and prosperity -- by putting the best players in the game, not the team that "looks like America!")

Our nation is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy, because our founders understood that the majority can be misled. Majority rule can set the stage for deception and manipulation, but adherence to a system of absolute, time-tested principles will eventually lead to success and prosperity. Yet the current attitude of many legislators and judges is one of a "living, breathing Constitution" that evolves with the whims of elite philosophy or mob rule.

We have chosen to divide into groups responding to the sounds of many voices. Some of these voices proclaim irrefutable truth based upon proven principles, while others tickle the ears of the masses to move democracy in their direction. Rather than rallying around our common interests, we are polarized along the lines of ideologies driven by popular personalities. The majority of our population cannot discern the truth, even when it is spoken clearly, because they respond better to anger, hostility and resentment. We must stop following cheerleaders and begin recognizing and cheering truth when it is spoken, whatever the source.

The image of our congressional leaders coming together on September 12, 2001, to pray in unison after the terrorist attacks seems like a mirage now. I wonder how many of them have united in prayer to deal with our economy. Was there any thought of prayer at this week's G-20 gathering? Did any world leader acknowledge a power greater than theirs? Obviously, they have not been able to get a handle on the many crises we face. We must return to sanity and the rock-solid principles that allowed us to become the strongest and most prosperous nation in history.


Author: James Robison

Editor: Randy Robison

Word Count: 1065

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.