What Life Is Like When The Truth Revealed In CtC Is Widely Understood
By Peter Hendrickson [Full original at this location.]
Your great-grandparents would remember this with aching fondness; you will be delighted and astonished.
IN HIS 1776 MASTERPIECE ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations’, (and other of his writings, as well) Adam Smith explains the concept of the “invisible hand” by which each individual looking out solely for his or her own self-interest nonetheless organically supports and improves the well-being and prosperity of the whole community. America’s founders and the framers of the United States Constitution, who were close students of Smith’s work and wisdom, employed the same principle in their establishment of the federal tax structure.
That structure is designed to ensure that federal revenue reliance would necessarily be upon excises, imposts and duties, the incidences of which are entirely within the control of each individual citizen. Because each citizen naturally attends to his or her own financial well being by limiting such incidences, the Founders’ structure, like a mighty invisible hand energized by hundreds of millions of individual self-interests, relentlessly keeps the state lean and on the leash– when that structure is functioning as intended and is not nobbled by ignorance and Leviathan-serving mythology and disinformation.
We had the benefit of that disciplinary dynamic during our first 140 years or so. Then, in the early 1940s, we blew it.
Under the influence of the strange mass psychology of wartime, the residual effects of a decade of depression, the increasingly sophisticated “consent-engineering” begun during World War I, a relentless and unscrupulous disinformation and propaganda campaign by progressives in academia and the media and other factors, Americans succumbed to a bold subterfuge by an ambitious power-and-revenue-hungry Washington. The subterfuge involved the exploitation of what had, thanks to all those factors mentioned above in conjunction with Congressional adoption of a couple of statutes cleverly-designed to maximize confusion, become a very widespread misunderstanding of the true nature of the income tax.
As can be seen by tracking the size of the federal government over the years, the success of this subterfuge was the most significant event in American history:
Rolling things back to the pre-subterfuge status quo will be the second most significant event in American history– this time a positive one.
Here is how it will play out again once enough Americans have recovered an accurate understanding of US Constitutional tax provisions and the actual statutory structure of the income tax, which fully conforms to those provisions and their state-disciplining purpose:
THE STATE IS ONCE AGAIN RESTRAINED. Forced to operate on an actual budget, the federal government has to pick and choose what activities are most critically important and of genuine near-universal interest to the people. There is no expensive army of two million arrogant bureaucrats justifying their fat paychecks by contriving rationalizations for interfering in the lives of the rest of us, backed by another hugely expensive army of 100,000 attorneys with the leisure and funding to figure out ways to evade the law on behalf of every ambition of an unrestrained State.
Washington is unable to evade the fiscal discipline of a tax structure confined to its actual subjects and its Constitutional limitations. It cannot and will not turn to inflation because that gimmick is too unavoidably noticeable and too guaranteed to arouse ire, even when fiat money is being otherwise tolerated– something which itself is a good deal less likely among a population with an understanding of the “income” tax.
Nor is Washington able to borrow excessively. Its restrained circumstances are widely recognized, and it is known to be a sketchy credit risk, having already been forced to repudiate or drastically restructure its previous debt.
Efforts to expand federal revenues by heavier reliance on obnoxious and legally-dubious mechanisms like “asset forfeiture” or excessive fees or fines backfire. Increased resort to these draws correspondingly increased public attention to them, as well, resulting in the welcome reform or repeal of the abused and abusive processes long before the abuse has any chance of meaningfully re-energizing Leviathan.
Instead, the federal government has resumed reliance in large part on an across-the-board (non-protectionist) revenue tariff for financing its activities. Because of the State’s need to maximize the take from this practice, even imports by American-based companies from their own “off-shore” production facilities are subjected to the tax. The incentives for off-shoring jobs has thus been re-balanced in favor of keeping those jobs local.
At the same time the cost of manufacturing locally (and therefore the price-point required for locally-made products) has been dramatically reduced by the melting away of the hugely expensive, stifling and petty regulatory state by which American operations had been burdened. More jobs are staying in this country, and many are returning here.
ALL IN ALL, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE are back to dealing with, and enjoying the benefits of, a lean federal government once again constrained to its core Constitutional purposes as WE meant (and mean) them to be understood– if only because it hasn’t got the resources to misbehave. We are back to the government of the turn of the twentieth century, when government at all levels combined consumed less than 10% of our wealth, and when it was observed that an American could go his entire life without any contact with a federal official other than the guy who delivered his mail.
At this point the federal government takes in– and spends no more than– around $1 trillion or so annually. The amount is rising as the overall economy grows ever-more vigorous since being freed of the enormous drag of a bloated non-productive sector and the crippling distortions of constant political interference, but it’s proportion of the GDP is falling toward an historical average of 4% or so. (This federal revenue figure could and would adjust as needed if America suffered a disaster of some kind, or got invaded by a foreign power– something so unlikely as to be laughable, but which theoretically could happen. In such a case the American people can be relied upon to contribute whatever is necessary in blood, sweat and treasure to deal with the situation– before once again closing their purses).
Perhaps $150 billion of that notional $1 trillion is being spent on maintaining our already enormous strategic deterrent/response capability and keeping up an appropriately-sized rapid-deployment defense force. This is still more than any other country on the planet spends on its military– indeed, it’s more than double what Russia spent this year.
The tight-belted United States has ended the expensive practice of garrisoning troops all over the world by which you and I subsidize the economies of foreigners by sparing them the costs of defending themselves. We’re also done delivering enormous subsidies to the munitions manufacturers simply to acquire a gross excess of killing capability which ends up used to murder people in other countries and generate massive hatred toward you and I, the folks who had allowed and paid for all of this.
The CIA has reverted from being a secret parallel war department and returned to intelligence-gathering and evaluation. Valueless, expensive and obnoxious gestures like the TSA (which demonstrably protects no one from anything except convenience, comfort and courtesy when traveling) have fallen by the wayside. Police departments are no longer being militarized by donations from the federal war machine of tanks, assault rifles, grenades, drones, and other equipment.
THE REST OF WHAT WASHINGTON TAKES IN goes to maintaining the courts and the government infrastructure, delivering the mail, and other Constitutionally-mandated responsibilities. Nothing is left over for gratuitous or politically-motivated messing-about with the average Americans’ pursuit of happiness.
Organic food and “alternate medicine” producers and consumers are no longer prosecuted. People using their own property in ways that produce no demonstrable harm to anyone are no longer victimized for merely offending some bureaucratic purpose and edict.
The financial affairs of most Americans are no longer subject to constant intrusive scrutiny and reporting; you can throw a stone in Washington DC without hitting twenty lobbyists; ministers no longer feel obliged to censor themselves politically in order to preserve a tax-related status about which no one cares anymore. Journalists no longer wish to be courtiers to what is no longer an imperial immensity and which no longer has something to say or do about everything under the sun.
As in the case of the “income” tax generally, only a small fraction of the American people are subjected to “Obamacare”-style taxes and burdens, where key application definitions invoke strictly limited terms direct from the Internal Revenue Code. Indeed, the health-care industry, no longer wildly distorted from market disciplines due to misunderstood “pre-tax” compensation structures in the workplace and a massive federal involvement as a third-party-payer, has seen prices plummet and service and innovation skyrocket. It is no longer possible to manage even a pretense that any but the country’s tiny handful of outright “safety-net” dependents are unable to afford health care on their own…
I COULD GO ON AND ON. But really, you can do so yourself. All you have to do to get a good sense of how this plays out is consider a federal government with strict limits on its resources, allowing for a total of about one-fifth as much as it has now. Keep in mind that people are going to continue to push for expenditures on what is important to them, so the things that get done are going to very much be the fairly small number of truly important things on which majorities of the American people actually agree– functional courts; adequate and rational defense; a compassionate but disciplined “safety net”; and a few others.
DO think about it, please. The picture you bring to mind will NOT be a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ vision. Instead it will actually be a photograph of how this country was just a few decades ago, and how it easily can be again. All that is necessary is for understanding of the truth about the tax to spread, and all that is necessary for that to happen at this point is for everyone who already knows that truth to stand up loud and proud in word and deed.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” — Mohandas Gandhi
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