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Richard Larsen: America, I Hardly Recognize You Now

July 6th, 2009 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Freedom! How sweet the word, and how profound the meaning. Men have died, and been willing to sacrifice all they had, for freedom. Our Fourth of July celebrations are based on that Declaration to the English throne, “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

To all freedom loving Americans, William Wallace’s cry of “Freedom!” stirs our souls as he was beheaded by Longshanks’ minions in “Braveheart.” We are moved by the images of bravery against seemingly insurmountable odds, as Benjamin Martin rallies the revolutionary forces with a war-torn flag in the “Patriot.” But the real-life heroes, political and military alike, who have fought for, and defended individual liberty and freedom touch our collective consciousness with profundity unmatched by depictions on the silver screen.

I approach this Independence Day celebration with sadness commensurate with my aforementioned respect and gratitude, for our freedom is being sacrificed, one bill at a time, by an out-of-control federal government. With each bill passed and signed, government grows. With such expansion of government, control over our individual lives increases exponentially, and the erosion of personal freedom and liberty is unmistakable. This erosion has accelerated at a dizzying pace in the first six months of the year. As 1776 marked the birth of American freedom, 2009 may well mark its demise.

A quadrupling of the budget deficit places not just this generation, but future generations in financial thralldom. Current tax receipts collected by the treasury will barely be enough to cover the yearly interest on the new federal debt.

So to expand receipts, more taxes need to be levied and collected. The declared intent to allow expiration of the Bush tax cuts will amount to the largest tax increase ever imposed on the country as the average American will see a tax increase between $2100 and $5600 annually, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But wait, there’s another bigger tax increase threatening us. The Waxman-Marky “cap and trade” bill will impose another $1600-$2400 annually in increased cost for all of our energy consumption. And that’s regardless of income bracket, thereby constituting the largest regressive tax ever imposed on us. Speaking of energy, remember what Obama has said, “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…” Looks like he meant it. The government means to tax us into behaving the way it thinks we should.

The more the government withholds from our paychecks or requires from our quarterly tax filings, the greater the infringement on our financial liberty. What are you willing to give up from your person standard of living in order to pay an energy tax fraudulently sold to us in the name of “saving the planet?” Since our incomes are largely fixed, what will you sacrifice? A car? Your house? A yearly family vacation? Who can deny that our freedoms are severely impinged upon by such ludicrous and unwarranted governmental expansion? Perhaps only the clueless or the ideologues.

For generations, America has attracted the most gifted and visionary minds of the world. Not just for the individual freedom available here, but for the financial freedom afforded men and women of great talent and vision in seeing their work yield fruits of pecuniary bounty. But by targeting the most successful amongst us for increased tax burden, and even seeking to limit compensation by the appointment of a “Pay Tsar” in the White House, our freedom to earn is under assault.

Federal usurpation of our health care constitutes an erasure of personal freedom of unparalleled proportions. When the government defines benefits under their plan, they can set the terms for participation in the benefits. They make the life and death decisions for us, and our ability to choose is negated. As President Obama said last week, “Maybe you’re better off, uhh, not having the surgery, but, uhh, taking the painkiller,” when referring to end-of-life health care decisions for the elderly or the terminally ill. Granted, our freedom may be limited by current insurance coverage in making such decisions, but to completely abrogate that right and have the government make such decisions for us is unconscionable, and dare I say it? Un-American. That brings them one step closer to telling us how to live our lives, what to eat and drink, and mandating “risk-free” behavior.

And in true Orwellian fashion, “Newspeak” is being codified into federal law. Just as George Orwell’s “1984” defined acceptable and unacceptable speech in order to “narrow the range of thought,” so likewise passage of hate crime legislation, and universal distribution of Department of Homeland Security encyclicals seek to coerce politically correct speech and thought, further infringing upon our First Amendment rights. According to DHS, all who disagree with the administrations’ official policies are regarded as enemies of the state.

Our majestic “Old Glory,” which has stood as a symbolic ensign of freedom and liberty to the world, is being trampled upon by the very stewards elected to “preserve us a nation.” As our banner is sullied and loses its luster, I sorrow at the apparent demise of a great nation once dedicated to the protection of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” America, I have loved you and what you have stood for, but I hardly recognize you now.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Evil Capitalism and the Profit Motive

July 6th, 2009 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

A seemingly accelerating trend with Americans is to look with skepticism and a jaundiced perspective at business, capitalism, and the profit motive. In spite of efforts by some to rewrite history, those of us who are students of history recognize the critical contribution of the profit motive in the emergence of America as an economic power. The fact is, capitalism and the profit motive created a global power out of a rag-tag collection of British colonies.

Business and the profit motive have turned us from an agrarian to a high-tech, producing and consuming nation. All of us are dependent upon business and the profit motive for everything we do every day. From the manufacturer of the bed we arise from and the alarm clock we wake up to, to the toothpaste, shampoo, and comb we use in the morning. The beverage we imbibe to give us a kick-start in the morning and the vehicle we drive to work are products of once small businesses that have grown sometimes to global proportions. If any of those products or services we depend on get too expensive, we start shopping for cheaper replacements.

Most of us even work for a small business driven by that evil profit motive; those firms across the fruited plain that market and sell products, provide advice and services, and fill the needs of people from all walks of life. They pay us to fill a specific function within the company to help them service their customers more efficiently and cost-effectively. And most of them pay another 30% of our salaries or wages in the form of benefits (which Congress also wants to tax) to help retain quality employees. And according to Arthur Brooks of Syracuse University an amazing 89 percent of us are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with our jobs with those evil profit-mongers.

As a matter of fact, according to the Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99% of all employer firms, employ half of all private sector employees, pay 45% of total U.S. private payroll, generate 80% of new jobs annually, create more than 50% of nonfarm private GDP, comprise 97% of all identified exporters, and produce 26% of the known export value to our GDP.

Yet every time new governmental regulation is written by which companies must abide, the costs increase. Whenever the government increases taxes on companies, the costs increase again. In order to stay in business, they must pass those costs on to their customers, or find other ways to reduce costs like eliminating jobs. That’s why it makes no sense to tax companies since we all end up individually paying their taxes for them via increased prices for their products and services.

And it’s not just small business that makes our quality of life what it is, but that evil big brother of small business; BIG business. What an evil concept, to sell things that people want and need at prices that most people can afford (after all, they want to sell as many of their “widgets” as possible). And they do so with a profit motive in order to share their success with those who ponied-up the capital (investors, silent partners, share-holders) facilitating their business ventures. Remember, if they over-price their widgets, they price themselves out of the market. If they under-price their widgets, they’re not going to remain viable, and will have to lay off all their employees and won’t be able to pay all those taxes the government is requiring of them. Then their employees will have to hope they can find another widget company to replace the job they lost.

The media, Hollywood, and even some of our fellow citizens bash “big pharma,” big oil, or big retailers like Wal-Mart. But in reality what do those “big” evil companies do? They provide needed products and services at reasonable prices, enabling our national economic engine, and our quality of life, to keep chugging along. They have limited control over much of their expenses, but to be able to continue doing what they do, they charge a modest profit to ensure their viability in future years, and allow us to have a job!

Right here in the Pocatello area, over 30,000 jobs are supported by these evil profit-motive-driven companies. That includes over 600 jobs at On Semiconductor, 350 at Simplot, 550 at Union Pacific Railroad, and over 400 at Wal-Mart. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates there are 2,346 employers in Pocatello. The Private Sector includes 2,233 firms, which make up 95.18% of companies hiring in Pocatello

Too many of us rely on fallacious typecasts and stereotypes of what business and the profit motive do. Rather than relying on our empirical observations of their contributions to our quality of life, we allow the media, Hollywood, or anti-business kvetching to taint our perceptions. The profit motive, capitalism, and the free-enterprise system (which frankly we haven’t truly had for nearly 70 years because of intense governmental regulation), are the backbone to our economic system, and as such, are the key to future growth and prosperity individually and collectively. Government encroachment and increased regulation stymie future potential growth, our quality of life, and our job security.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

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