The United States is an exceptional nation, or at least it was until politicians and the general public found it acceptable that government can intervene in our lives, dictate what we can or can’t do and spy on its citizens without a court order or due process. Indeed, the U.S. was a great nation, but has gone downhill over time.
On Thursday, millions of Americans celebrated Independence Day, a day that will live on as one of the greatest times in world history: the founding of a nation that promoted the ideas of freedom, liberty and non-intervention. No other nation came before it and certainly no other nation has since been established.
Whether it was being left alone by government, relishing in the fruits one’s own labor or speaking out on any issue without fear of reprisal, the U.S. was quite libertarian. Unfortunately, as time has gone on, Americans are not left alone by government, their incomes are taxed and many fear applying the First Amendment because of the vast overreach of government.
It was quite absurd to read an article on InfoWars.com that included a photo of a park sign during Independence Day that pretty much summarized the state of the nation. The park sign prohibited tents, alcohol and dogs, police were permitted to search bags and coolers for “public safety” and participants were informed they would be under video surveillance.
The founding fathers were correct when they said the following, “He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security,” “When the government fears the people, there is liberty” and “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
Heck, Groucho Marx, one of the nation’s funniest men in history, was also right when he was quoted as saying: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
Although it seems that the majority of Americans are pleased with the status quo, the presidential campaign of Ron Paul proved that apathy can be cured and that there is a percentage of Americans who want their freedoms back or at least question the invasiveness of a monolithic public body.
Here are nine economic freedoms Americans have lost since our Declaration of Independence.
1. Income tax: an American works a hard 40 hours during the week and cannot fully enjoy what he earned. Instead, it goes to a bureaucrat who thinks he or she knows what to do better with the sum of money than the taxpayer, who earned that money, can. Studies have shown that American households pay close to half of their income to the federal, state and local governments through various taxes, user fees and others.
2. Sound money: the U.S. dollar has lost 90 percent of its value since the inception of the Federal Reserve System. Don’t Americans, who are already subjected to fiat hegemony, have the right to a strong and valuable currency? Furthermore, can’t Americans have the option to use any type of currency they use as long as it’s voluntarily accepted by merchants? Since the Declaration of Independence, monetary policy has come a long way in this country.
3. National debt: even if an American is completely debt-free (no credit card debt, auto loans, student loans or even a mortgage) they are still indebted to the government because the Republicans and Democrats were reckless enough to force every taxpayer to be on the hook for $188,439 (at the time of this writing). This will undoubtedly soar within the next decade when President Obama’s budget is thoroughly applied and when interest payments increase.s
4. Property rights: for some reason, Americans don’t hold property rights to a high standard and an important freedom. This has been ubiquitous with each passing year, whether it’s someone’s income, their home or something they own, government and authorities use force to violate your right to your property.
5. Labor: over the past century, labor laws have become increasingly ridiculous. For instance, in some states, a person may have to belong to a union in order to work for a company. Meanwhile, a company may refrain from hiring a certain individual because they fear they might be sued for any number of reasons, including one of the biggest: discrimination.
6. Business: the freedom to establish and operate a business has changed quite drastically. A study by the Heritage Foundation placed the U.S. in 10th place in the world when it comes to business – Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia were in the top three. Since the administration of President George W. Bush, there have been tens of thousands of new regulations placed on businesses and in the marketplace, such as through new federal agencies or laws that a company must follow.
This segment on the Fox Business Network’s “Stossel” pretty much shows how Americans feel about a business; they think they can dictate how much they should be paid, how the company should be run and what they can do – essentially, a lot of people think they should own their jobs (the way government imposes laws, it looks that way).
7. Investments: not only are your investments heavily taxed, they are meticulously regulated by the lawmakers in Washington. They even have the power to confiscate your investments through executive action (see President Roosevelt confiscating gold held by the general public). Also, with the Federal Reserve manipulating markets, it could also seriously affect your moneymaking decisions.
8. Trade: quotas, tariffs, taxes and controls. For decades, the U.S. has embarked on a journey to hurt free trade more than help it. Many of its policies have hurt businesses and individuals who wish to trade, travel and talk with other private companies and individuals in other countries in order to benefit the consumer and, effectively, their pocketbooks.
“It is no exaggeration to blame the recent slowdown in economic liberalization around the world on the lack of U.S. leadership,” said Ambassador Terry Miller, director of Heritage’s Center for International Trade and Economics, in a statement.
“Trade flows—the engine of world growth—have declined as the U.S. economy has stagnated. Protectionism threatens consumers and businesses with higher costs and restrictions in supply. Ill-conceived banking regulations such as the Dodd-Frank law generate uncertainty and anxiety. And investment freedom declines in the face of higher costs and new legal and tax liabilities such as those introduced by ObamaCare. These misguided U.S. policies hurt Americans first, but others feel the harm as well.”
9. Personal choice: this issue has been prevalent ever since New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg imposed new rules that would prohibit New Yorkers from buying a 20-ounce soda, 16 ounces of sweet mixers, restaurant patrons ordering a sweet drink larger than 16 ounces and a two-liter soda with a pizza.
The matter of personal choice is an imperative issue. Personal choice can reflect what we choose to study at school, what book we want to read, what kind of clothing we wear, what food to eat (and yes, how much too) and what occupation we select to endeavor in. With the expansion of government, what else will the government ban us from doing?
I wonder what Winston Smith would think of all this…