The oldest and most flagrant example of this gutless socialism began in 1913 with enactment of the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving Congress the power to “lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” The income tax code that followed forced a 1 percent tax on personal incomes above $3,000. Today it is a nine-million-word progressive violation of our liberties.
The next landmark example of gutless redistribution of wealth from those with “abilities” to those with “needs” is the Social Security system. Social Security began in 1935 as an assistance program for people who reached retirement age. The 1935 pamphlet describing the program stated that workers would never have to pay more than three cents on the dollar, up to a maximum of $3,000 of ones’ earnings. Twelve and four-tenths percent on the first $90,000 later, the program is now called an entitlement and is headed for a 2015 financial train wreck. Though President Bush and his bi-partisan Social Security Commission proposed a sound solution to fix the crumbling Social Security structure, congressional liberals on both sides of the aisle balked at any attempt to alter the socialistic underpinnings of the system’s original design.
In 1943, Congress continued the deliberate march toward socialism by enacting automatic withholding of taxes from our paychecks. Congress explained to the public that, since the U.S. was busy fighting World War II, automatic withholding was necessary to fund the war effort in a timely fashion. Congress also promised the public that automatic withholding would end as soon as the war was over. That war ended over 60 years ago. And if for some reason the government does not confiscate enough of our money during the year, we are charged interest for underpayment. That does not sound like the system our Founding Fathers envisioned.
Even liberals in state legislatures are attacking capitalism through overt assaults on our free-market system. The Maryland legislature in January overrode their governor’s veto of a bill that will force corporations with 10,000 employees or more to pay 8 percent of their payroll to their employees’ health care costs. Unfortunately, nearly 30 other states are considering similar legislation. State policy makers who legally force corporations to carry out their income redistribution schemes are as gutless as their counterparts in Washington D.C.
State legislatures are not alone in their use of backdoor attempts to inflict the pain of socialism on businesses and the public. Since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf region, causing temporary spikes in gas prices, oil company executives have been called to Congress to justify their companies’ profits. Some misguided members of Congress have even demanded that oil companies return their “excess profits” to the public.
The third and most visible gutless method liberals employ to attack capitalism is the use of rhetoric that attempts to disguise their socialistic ideology. The rhetoric of gutless socialism preys upon the economic illiteracy of many Americans, which fans the fires of economic class warfare.
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) actually told supporters last year at a San Francisco fundraiser, “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” That sounds like Karl Marx’s communism to me.
In January, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a press release critical of the president and our growing economy that stated, “The President claims he has created a strong economy, but working Americans are telling a different story. They feel the American dream slipping further from their grasp and they know the reality is that this economy is not delivering for middle-class families.” When you look at the compelling positive metrics of the economy, this is not economic illiteracy. It is denial of economic reality.
Congressional liberals have carved out a position on every issue that defines success for their party as failure of our economy, failure of people to help themselves and even failure in our efforts to fight the war on terrorism.
National security is and must remain our top national priority. But replacing the income tax code, restructuring Social Security, restraining government spending and increasing economic literacy among the public must also be top priorities to end the march toward socialism. As the late Senator Everett Dirksen once said, “When they feel the heat, they will see the light.” Congress needs to feel the heat, generated by millions of their constituents demanding an end toward the march away from our free-market principles.
The debt we owe our founders and our grandchildren is to aggressively defend the success of capitalism and our free-market foundations. If we fail to pay this debt, the “shining beacon on the hill” that lights the path of hope and freedom across the globe will slowly flicker away, extinguished by our lack of will, not by our lack of skill.