Taxation without participation
By Michael R. Shannon
web posted September 24, 2012
Michael Kinsley described a "gaffe" as anytime a politician is caught telling the truth. This is particularly accurate for Republicans and conservatives as is demonstrated by the reaction to Mitt Romney's comment regarding Obama's base.
The setting was unfortunate — a $50,000–a–plate fundraiser — but the message was accurate. As he discussed campaign strategy — not governing philosophy — Romney explained: "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what…who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it... And the government should give it to them…
"Our message of low taxes doesn't connect...so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful..."
Romney neglected to mention another solid portion of the Obama base: the welfare–industrial complex composed of government workers and associated special interest groups. The simple fact is the more people receiving government handouts, the more government employees you need to distribute the geetus.
The size of the two populations increases in lockstep as does the size of the Obama base. There is no exit strategy for the War on Poverty.
And this is nothing new, as Ann Coulter pointed out, "Democrats' problem with welfare reform always was that if it worked, we would need fewer of these well-pensioned public employees, a fact repeatedly acknowledged by liberals themselves."
Democrat "compassion" for the poor and underprivileged always comes with a healthy dose of self–interest. Just like any attack on Republicans while defending welfare programs is done with elections in mind. They know a reduction in dependency threatens to result in a reduction in Democrats.
Why do you think the Obama administration imitates Tupperware and throws food stamp parties to urge people to apply for handouts? Why did the number of able–bodied participants in the food stamp program double after Obama suspended the work requirement? Why do a record 8.8 million Americans collect disability checks? Why do federal unemployment checks continue for almost two years? And why is the Obama administration spending a record 15.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product on direct cash payments to individuals?
The answer is simple: Obama's building his base. That's why Democrats at their national convention had no problem with an Orwellian video that proclaimed, "Government is the only thing that we all belong to."
Realizing this 47 percent voting block constitutes a problem isn't a targeting decision made inside the Romney campaign. It's an issue with the potential to rend the social fabric of the nation. It is a serious enough problem to offer Democrats a trade.
Conservatives agree to abandon photo ID requirements for voting if in return Democrats agree any citizen who is dependent on the federal government for his livelihood is not eligible to vote. This important reform would not mean a permanent loss of voting privileges and the creation of lifelong second–class citizens. On the contrary, as soon as the dependent citizen re–establishes financial independence the individual regains his vote. Regaining his vote acts as an incentive for personal responsibility.
When 47 percent of the populace is dependent on government benefits the nation is fast approaching a tipping point. Once the number passes 50 percent, American society will no longer have a crucial element of shared sacrifice. Instead the dependency block gets to vote for their share of increased benefits and taxpayers make the sacrifice. Even Democrats should be able to recognize that situation is unfair and inequitable.
For example, are McDonald's customers allowed to set the price of a Big Mac? Do employees of Government Motors vote to set their own salaries? Do football teams get to vote on how many points the opposing defense will surrender?
There already exists a precedent for temporarily relinquishing the vote. Judges, Congressmen and even members of the city council are not supposed to vote or rule on matters in which they have a financial interest.
Naturally government employees would retain voting privileges. As would Social Security recipients, simply because seniors have been told since the program's inception the money is not welfare. It's not true now and it was a lie in 1935, but I'm not prepared to penalize seniors because the government misled them.
This reform would leave us with an electorate that bears the responsibility of paying for the government it advocates. Without this reform the Obamatrons continue to benefit unfairly from Taxation Without Participation.
In November one might cynically term Obama's 47 percent "pocketbook voters," only the pocketbook they'll be voting is yours.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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