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That all Men are born equally free and independant, and have certain inherent natural Rights,…; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.
Virginia Declaration of Rights – 1776
Indispensable for personal freedom is the liberty for each person to choose how to allocate and invest their time, labor and money, and to own the gains made by these investments.
A Tectonic Shift from the Welfare State
The Washington Examiner observes America’s discontent with the welfare state and notes it is widespread in Europe.
Americans aren't alone in realizing the welfare state is unsustainable even with confiscatory levels of taxation. The London Telegraph's Toby Young puts the debt ceiling deal in a European context: "To focus on the Tea Party is to ignore the tectonic political shift that's taken place, not just in America but across Europe. The majority of citizens in nearly all the world's most developed countries simply aren't prepared to tolerate the degree of borrowing required to sustain generous welfare programs any longer.
In the second half of the 20th Century, all democracies increasingly taxed workers and distributed money and benefits to other citizens. Worse, all democracies increased government debt, which must be paid by future workers. Consequently, all have unsustainable promised welfare benefits. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the major factors of America’s ongoing debt.
“The causes of this unrelenting spending growth are the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid entitlement programs. In 2011, the federal government will spend $2.1 trillion on these three programs alone. By 2021, that number will reach $3.3 trillion.”
The Washington Examiner ends with this query:
The key question in the days ahead is what should replace the liberal welfare state as America recovers her financial sanity.
Universally, elected politicians have created debt, which has caused financial debacles in all forms of democracies – local, state, federal and foreign. All democracies have confiscated earned wages, distributed the money to welfare programs, and loaded debt on future generations. It is imperative to renew America’s appreciation and focus on human freedom.
In the Virginia Declaration of Rights, George Mason emphasized that liberty requires ownership of the fruits of a person’s labor - to acquire and possess property:
Certain inherent rights, namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Every tax imposed upon a person diminishes his or her power to invest their time, labor and money as well as their ability to own the gains made by these investments. To enhance freedom, government policy must protect the ownership of a person’s labor.
To answer the Examiner’s query as what replaces the welfare-state, first embrace the philosophy of freedom. More specifically, America must replace the tax and debt burden of Social Security and Medicare with personal ownership.
Only personal ownership will stop the tax and distribution debacles of the welfare state. Only personal ownership will prevent gigantic tax burdens which will cripple our economy and diminish personal freedom.
How to achieve personal accounts? It won’t be easy. Trade offs must be made. However, private ownership of a person’s medical and retirement wants and needs is essential for democracy and freedom to survive and thrive.