After half a century of fighting encroachments upon freedom in America, journalist Garet Garrett published The People’s Pottage. A year later, in 1954, he died. The People’s Pottage opens thus:
“There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom.”
Garrett wrote of a revolution within the form. While outwardly America appeared the same, a revolution within had taken place that was now irreversible. One need only glance at where we were before the New Deal, where we are and where we are headed to see how far we are off the course the Founding Fathers set for our republic.
Taxes drove the American Revolution, for we were a taxaphobic, liberty-loving people. That government is best that governs least is an Americanism. When “Silent Cal” Coolidge went home in 1929, the U.S. government was spending 3 percent of gross domestic product.
And today? Obama’s first budget will consume 28 percent of the entire GDP; state and local governments another 15 percent. While there is some overlap, in 2009, government will consume 40 percent of GDP, approaching the peak of World War II.
The deficit for 2009 is $1.8 trillion, 13 percent of the whole economy. Obama is pushing a cap-and-trade bill to cut carbon emissions that will impose huge costs on energy production, spike consumer prices and drive production offshore to China, which is opting out of Kyoto II. The Chinese are not fools.
Obama plans to repeal the Bush tax cuts and take the income tax rate to near 40 percent. Combined state and local income tax rates can run to 10 percent. For the self-employed, payroll taxes add up to 15.2 percent on the first $106,800 for all wages of all workers. Medicare takes 2.9 percent of all wages above that. Then there are the state sales taxes that can run to 8 percent, property taxes, gas taxes, excise taxes, and “sin taxes” on booze, cigarettes and, soon, hot dogs and soft drinks.
Comes now national health insurance from Nancy Pelosi’s House. A surtax that runs to 5.4 percent of all earnings of the top 1 percent of Americans, who already pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes, has been sent to the Senate. Included also is an 8 percent tax on the entire payroll of small businesses that fail to provide health insurance for employees.
Other ideas on the table include taxing the health benefits that businesses provide their employees.
The D.C.-based Tax Foundation says New Yorkers could face a combined income tax rate of near 60 percent.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson called George III a tyrant for having “erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
What did George III do with his Stamp Act, Townshend Acts or tea tax to compare with what is being done to this generation of Americans by their own government?
While the hardest working and most productive are bled, a third of all wage-earners pay no U.S. income tax, and Obama plans to free almost half of all wage-earners of all income taxes. Yet, tens of millions get Medicaid, rent supplements, free education, food stamps, welfare and an annual check from Uncle Sam called an Earned Income Tax Credit, though they never paid a nickel in income taxes.
Oh, yes. Obama also promises everybody a college education.
Coming to America to feast on this cornucopia of freebies is the world. One million to 2 million immigrants, legal and illegal, arrive every year. They come with fewer skills and less education than Americans, and consume more tax dollars than they contribute by three to one.
Wise Latina women have more babies north of the border than they do in Mexico and twice as many here as American women.
As almost all immigrants are now Third World people of color, they qualify for ethnic preferences in hiring and promotions and admissions to college over the children of Americans
All of this would have astounded and appalled the Founding Fathers, who after all, created America — as they declared loud and clear in the Constitution — “for ourselves and our posterity.”
China saves, invests and grows at 8 percent. America, awash in debt, has a shrinking economy, a huge trade deficit, a gutted industrial base, an unemployment rate surging toward 10 percent and a money supply that’s swollen to double its size in a year. The 20th century may have been the American Century. The 21st shows another pattern.
“The United States is declining as a nation and a world power with mostly sighs and shrugs to mark this seismic event,” writes Les Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, in CFR’s Foreign Affairs magazine. “Astonishingly, some people do not appear to realize that the situation is all that serious.”
Even the establishment is starting to get the message.
Patrick J. Buchanan [send him mail] is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of seven books, including Where the Right Went Wrong, and A Republic Not An Empire. His latest book is Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War.