by Danny de Gracia, II

A weekly liberty briefing and news guide to keep you informed and prepared on what’s UP to more freedom or DOWN to bigger, more intrusive government.

Quote of the Week:
“the future belongs only to socialism ” –
Erich Honecker, October 6, 1989

U.S. Senate FY 2013 Department of the Interior Appropriations Draft has Native Hawaiian recognition as a bill rider

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations committee released a draft of the Fiscal Year 2013 Interior appropriations that included on page 129, line 19 a bill rider which provides for Native Hawaiian recognition:

“the Secretary shall consider for recognition the self-governing community that may include individuals enrolled under Act 195 (26th Haw. Leg. Sess. (2011)).”

Hawaii’s Act 195 (2011) specifically states, “The Native Hawaiian people are hereby recognized as the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli people of Hawaii.” Should the Interior budget bill pass, the United States Government would be in effect ratifying the language of the State of Hawaii. Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) responded  with alarm in a press release, saying “That is a race-based definition and it is contrary to our constitutional principles.”

ANALYSIS: The issue of Native Hawaiian sovereignty remains an incendiary matter for many individuals, both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian. However the fairest and most equitable solution to the Hawaiian people cannot come from creating a new system of Federally administered funding and recognition. As we have seen in America’s Declaration of Independence, real freedom and liberty comes not from recognition of a people by a state but rather the recognition of a state by the people.

A state is legitimate so long as the people recognize it as advancing their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but the minute it becomes destructive to those ends, the people have the right to alter or abolish that state. The belief that more government is needed to correct an injury inflicted by government upon the Hawaiian people is dangerous. More spending and more taxation to give benefits based on race is indeed contrary to liberty and sets up a dependency relationship between man and state.

We will continue to monitor the development of this bill rider closely, but it is definitely a DOWN to less freedom and more government.

Like A Passport, The IRS Goes Everywhere (Forbes, 9/21)

Imagine the day that you can’t travel outside of the United States – because you owe back taxes! Forbes reports that the Internal Revenue Service is increasingly monitoring and toughening up on individuals who have foreign income. But it doesn’t stop there – Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) last year embedded in the MAP-21 highway and transportation funding bill a rider which permits the IRS to revoke the travel privileges of individuals owing back taxes.

ANALYSIS: Historically, as inflation from debasing the currency and excessive government spending destroys an economy and hamstrings government budgets, interesting things begin to occur: parliaments and legislatures begin to enact laws which make more things illegal and restrict the movement of individuals and money alike – all for the purpose of state revenue generation and revenue protection. That is to say, the more government messes up, the more government tries to shake you down for whatever remaining pocket change you have.

While some would say that stopping an individual who owes taxes sounds fair, the problem is that as the economy gets worse, you’ll find strangely that more and more people will end up owing more taxes. Government will never run out of ways to tax you, and as a last resort, cash-strapped governments don’t want their populations to escape for fear of losing revenue. The slippery slope that this presents is it sets a precedent for America to put all of us in lockdown so we can’t go anywhere or do anything but just make money for their sake.  This is a serious DOWN for human liberty in America.

Means Testing Your Social Security Payments (Ludwig von Mises Institute, 9/24)

Economist Gary North writes that the increasing debts of the U.S. government are so structurally large and increasing each fiscal year that a default is coming. “Congress will start looking for politically acceptable sacrificial lambs,” North writes, “This means rich people.”

North goes on to note that “At some point, there will be means-testing. The politicians will decide that anyone with an income above a certain rate will have his payments reduced. The more his income, the greater the reductions. At first, this cap will apply to earned income. Then it will be applied to all income. We are already seeing this in other federal welfare programs.”

ANALYSIS: With all the talk of “percentiles” that is, the “99” versus the “one-percenters” and other demographic groups, one should already see the writing on the wall that Congress is preparing to delve into class divisions to pit groups against each other as the entire Ponzi scheme of big government collapses. As North says, “The US government has promised more than it can deliver … the magnitude of the unfunded liabilities is so vast that Congress will be trapped. It will default in stages, but it will default.”

The irony of government is that when it promises one thing, it is often always tempted to dip its hands into the cookie jar to use those funds to spend on other things. During the 1960s, it was argued by bureaucrats and economists alike that Social Security was the ultimate cookie jar because no matter how much was taken out to spend on other programs, taxes could simply be raised to compensate for the raid. The problem today is that the U.S. Government has nothing left to raid except you, the taxpayer to sustain its voracious appetite for spending.

Don’t expect government to be your safety net or even a safety trampoline –  politicians and bureaucrats will constantly give rosy scenarios that the social programs you have paid into are “fully funded” but “fully stolen” is probably a more appropriate description. The fact that many people who have paid into Social Security and other programs may, in the not too distant future, end up losing what they were promised is clearly a DOWN when it comes to freedom.

Danny de Gracia is the Economic Policy Adviser for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Views expressed in this column are intended to promote creative thought, educate, and, we hope, prompt comment. Accordingly, thoughts expressed do not necessarily reflect the official position of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii or the author.

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