Monday, October 12, 2009

Federalist Number One--Warning Against Despotism Disguised as Populism or "Obama's Stash" 101

"Obama's Stash"

I have not been able to shake the Friday soundbite of the Detroit woman waiting in line to apply for a government voucher. When journalist, Ken Rogulski of WJR in Michigan asked why she was waiting, she replied, To get some money." What kind of money he asked? "Obama money. " In reply to his query regarding where did Obama get his money, she replied: "I don't know, his stash." The first time I heard the clip I laughed. But the more I thought about it the less funny I found it. How many people think there really is such a thing as a government stash and that the government's money is its own? Not the money of the people.
Let's look at it another way.
In 2009 the average worker (those that actually pay income taxes, that is) worked from January 1st to April 13th for the federal government. To fund "Obama's Stash." (FYI, according to The Tax Foundation 31% or 42.5 million working Americans in 2004 were not even required to file or pay income tax. That percentage is up from 17.9% just twenty years before in 1984, increasing the burden on those are required to pay. )
April 13th: Three and one half months during which our labor is dedicated to the federal government. Dedicated, of course, is a literary term implying that the motivation to do so is altruistic. In fact, our labor is not offered to the government, rather the government confiscates it. Then of course, there is social security tax and medicare and if you live in a state like California another 10 or so percent off the top. I haven't done the math but that should put us somewhere into the summer before the average worker living in California begins to earn money to save for his retirement and his children's college education and durable goods like automobiles and big screen TV's (until their outlawed here) and food and clothing and oh yes, to pay his mortgage.
Back to the Stash. In addition to wisely anticipating the potential factiousness surrounding the question of direct taxation, our Founders also understood very clearly the dangers of despotism. In Federalist 1, Alexander Hamilton warns: "...and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants."
Obsequious court to the people. Demagoguery. Impossible. Not in America. Yet, in just a few short months we have seen a government that is willing to create false crises to pass legislation (the stimulus bill that would ensure unemployment not rise above 8%--now hovering at 10% and the trend is up not down), pandering to special interests like environmentalists and global warming quacks with the growth -killing cap and trade bill, promises of change and transparency though bills are being pushed through without the opportunity for citizen review (health care reform) and a flaming of racial prejudice as we saw with the Cambridge police accusation a few months back. School children singing songs of praise to "Barack Hussein Obama." Yuck.
And now we have Obama's Stash. The Stash he is benevolently dispensing to the common folk.
"...the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues and ending tyrants."

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