Election, taxes, spending - Opinion
A recent letter writer wrote, “We should love our country but fear our government.” He is unfortunately correct in that assessment. But why should we fear our government? After all, we the people are the ones who elect them. It’s because we elect the wrong people.
The fear in California is that the politicians are forever trying to make a grab for our wallets. The California Legislature has been in control of the Democrats for decades. I am 65 years of age and can remember nothing but Democrat Legislatures going back to the 1950s. Look where this has gotten us. We are billions of dollars in debt and are in a hole so deep there is almost no light. And of course the politicians’ knee-jerk reaction is to raise taxes. They have failed to get the message of Prop 13. The message was, “Stay out of our wallets.” I have heard for years that the Democrat party is the “party of the people,” and I took that to heart, voting strictly for Democrat candidates all my voting life. That is, until about 15 years ago when I had a sudden epiphany that these folks are doing everything exactly opposite to my core beliefs.
In the late 1950s the sales tax rate was 3 percent. In some counties today it is 9 percent. A hamburger that cost 15 cents in 1958 cost more than a dollar today, a 700 percent increase. If the tax rate was still 3 percent the government would now be collecting seven times the revenue it collected in 1958 on that same hamburger. Instead they are now collecting 20 times the 1958 revenue on that hamburger. In addition the population is roughy three times greater than it was in 1958. That’s three times the number of people paying taxes. The government is collecting taxes at a greater pace than the rate of inflation or population growth. And yet they are not satisfied. There is a measure on the ballot to raise taxes even more, not to mention the recent imposition of the fire tax — excuse me, “fee.” Taxation is out of control and spending is even more out of control. Businesses are fleeing California en masse, along with their jobs. Will there be no end to it?
There are billions of dollars spent every year in California on social programs and most of us think these programs are great. They make us “feel good” because we are helping people. Are we? Or are they just a way to soothe our consciences so we can wash our hands of direct responsibility for helping our fellow human beings? We can look at that homeless person and say, “I don’t need to help her because there are government programs for that. I pay taxes for that.” Jesus admonished us to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked. I believe He meant that as a personal responsibility, not a government responsibility. I don’t know of anyone who advocates abolishing all social programs. However, government should be doing far less and individuals should be doing far more. There are thousands of selfless volunteers who offer help because it’s the right thing to do, not because it makes them feel good but because that’s one of the reasons we are here on earth, to love our neighbor and to be responsible for one another. Rather than paying billions of dollars to support a government bureaucracy, volunteers can get the job done more efficiently and at less expense.
In 1961 President Kennedy, who I believe was the last true Democrat president, said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” That maxim has been thrown out the window. Today, voters ask, “What are you going to give me?” The vote goes to the one who promises the most freebies, and the politicians continue to hand out the golden eggs. What happens when the goose dies?