A Prescription for America
by Kenneth N. Matson. July 10, 2009Print
As I view the situation that America is currently in, I cannot help myself from being extremely pessimistic. I would like to be optimistic but I can’t. I don’t regard myself as a pessimist; I prefer to think of myself as a realist.
In a nutshell the reason that cause my pessimism is:
Approximately 50% of the eligible voters in the United States pay no income tax whatsoever. These voters overwhelmingly vote for public officials and programs that they perceive will improve their wellbeing. They have no concern for private property rights, the U.S. Constitution, or the fiscal condition of the country. Because these eligible voters are essentially exempt from income taxes, it is in their economic interest to vote for all social programs. At least they believe it to be so.
I am well acquainted with organizations such as the FOUNDATION FOR ECONOMIC EDUCATION, CATO, LUDWIG VON MISES INSTITUTE, and others that do a splendid job of explaining economics and the fallacies of socialistic programs to those that have an interest in becoming more learned in these subjects. I’m afraid however, that we are just whistling in the wind. With the number of voters having no “skin in the game” (i.e. paying little or no taxes) having reached critical mass, it is unrealistic to believe that the country can be turned back in the direction that our founding fathers had envisioned. It is patently obvious that our elected officials feel that their most important job is to get themselves re-elected. They are not stupid. With half of the eligible voters easily persuaded to vote for the politician promising to distribute wealth in their direction, it is a no-brainer to understand why social programs are accelerating.
The United States was founded as a republic with strict limits on the government’s authority. However, the country has evolved into a democracy1 ; a system of government that most citizens believe (or have been persuaded) is the correct system of government for a free country. What could be fairer than giving every citizen a right to vote with the majority of votes deciding the outcome? Perhaps the following hypothetical will present a good demonstration of the fallacies of democracy:
Assume a prosperous golf and country club with first class facilities, a fine golf course, exquisite dining, etc. The membership finds itself divided with regard to a number of issues. Some members want to increase dues to enable construction of tennis facilities; others want to sell club property to finance the improvements. Others don’t want to do anything. The membership decides that the fairest way to operate would be to employ true democratic principles. Every issue would be voted upon with the majority having their way. To make this hypothetical a good analogy to the United States democracy, the club also rules that no member is allowed to resign from the club. The only way to leave the club and its obligations is to die. Now the members are finding that majorities are making rules such as “no ladies may play on Saturdays”, “a monetary assessment is required to pay for a fitness facility”, “and only couples are allowed to play on Sundays”. Eventually the membership realizes that there are numerous corporate memberships and the majority votes that corporate members must pay 3 times the regular monthly dues. Then the membership decides that wealthy members should have a surcharge added to their monthly bill. I’m sure the point is well made. There is no freedom for members not in favor of majority rule, and because they cannot resign from the club, they live under tyranny.
Now back the United States and its current situation. What can possibly be done? Trying to overturn various programs, eliminate needless bureaucracies, replace elected officials are all exercises in futility. While trying to kill one program another two pop up. What is needed is to find the one change that will eventually correct everything and restore us to the kind of country we were designed to be.
It may be impossible to effect this change, but I believe that it is the one that is needed. Here is my PRESCRIPTION:
By a Constitutional Amendment, change voting eligibility from all citizens of a certain age to all entities2 that file federal tax returns. Additionally, the votes of all entities will be weighted by the amount of taxes paid with the latest tax return. Included in the Amendment would be the provision that no entity could be discriminated against based upon the amount of taxes paid.
The above is all that would be required. As quick as you can say Jack Robinson (that shows how old I am), you would find politicians in favor of saving taxpayer’s money. Those that don’t would quickly find themselves out of a job. Bureaucracies would be eliminated and wasteful programs shut down.
Short of this change, I do not see any way that the United States can get back on track short of a revolution, which I am not calling for and, in any case, is probably a long way off.
1 This evolution was primarily caused by the Supreme Court’s failure to strictly uphold the Constitution. I suppose it is the inevitable consequence of appointing justices by elected officials. In any case, the Supreme Court has clearly failed its primary duty.
2 An entity is the filer of any Federal tax return. Corporations, trusts, partnerships, individuals are all entities.
Copyright © 2009 Kenneth N. Matson
Bio: I am a 70 year old private investor. In my earlier life I was a graduate of the California Maritime Academy (1959), a naval officer (2 1/2 years), Sales engineer (3 yrs.), stockbroker (10 yrs.), and owner of an automotive collision repair business in Oakland, CA (21 yrs.)
I don't consider myself to be an accomplished writer but I do have occasional thoughts that I like to put on paper (good to help one think clearer). I seriously subscribe to the Austrian school of economics and generally find my thoughts agreeing with Libertarians.
Kenneth N. Matson | Reno, NV | Email