In the 1990s I owned a used book store. My store was located in what I would describe as a marginal neighborhood. 10 years prior, the area had been a popular place to live, with beautiful homes, a large park, and many shiny new apartment and condominium buildings. Shortly thereafter, many of the apartments came under the umbrella of government subsidy. The public mass transit system provided cheap transportation into and out of the neighborhood. Subsequently, this area in North East Dallas began its descent into darkness, and became the highest crime area in the city. Today, ten years later, a drive through parts of this same area seems like a visit to a third world country.
I suppose if this phenomenon were limited to these marginal neighborhoods, I could simply move away, and act as if it didn't exist. Unfortunately, the truth is, I believe this mentality now runs through the entire fabric of our country. It seems that daily our government takes on an ever greater role as confiscator of property in the form of taxation to redistribute to its many programs, and we all become more dependent. Political economist Frederick Bastiat described our situation in his famous pamphlet The Law. He detailed how government, initially instituted to protect property rights, and to protect us from being plundered by outsiders and one another, has become an instrument of legal plunder. Through taxation and redistribution of wealth in government programs, it has legalized and legitimized plunder.
So acceptable has it become to plunder, that now everyone does it. We have a system of universal plunder in which all of us, individuals, special interest groups and corporations scramble every day to get a share of the loot the government has taken from the productive. Corporations and farmers snatch up subsidies, The unproductive and lazy exploit the welfare systems, double dipping whenever possible, fudging numbers and manipulating facts; Youths view the military as a free trade school or path to education, rather than as an armed force for the defense of the country; The unemployed unabashedly extend the term of their unemployment benefits; Illegal aliens choke our hospital emergency rooms; The elderly happily accept their prescription drug benefits, and so on. In the last couple days, I have learned 300 Billion dollars of the plunder may go to bail out lenders and borrowers who are parties to foreclosed mortgages. The working American taxpayer will now foot the bill for all these ill-advised loans. All over the country, people feel entitled, either because they have paid into the system, the system owes it to them, or they simply see it is there for the taking.
The election rhetoric this season further proves the premise, as Barack Obama has promised that if elected, he will increase taxes on the wealthy. I will leave aside discussion of the very questionable definition of wealthy, to focus on the greater moral issue. Regardless of who the victims are, Mr Obama's tax increase will provide more plunder for everyone else, and it is sad that so many find this acceptable. It shows how deeply the culture of universal plunder is ingrained in us. When a candidate can openly advocate taking the property of one segment, and get the applause, support and votes of another segment in doing so, it shows just how far off track we are from where the founding fathers left us.
In my estimation, plunder is immoral whether at the hands of a gun-wielding gangsta, or a badge-wielding bureaucrat. We have a government and candidates who openly plunder the property of citizens and reinforce others in doing the same. A government of legalized plunder has outlived its purpose and usefulness. Unfortunately we cannot send those who plunder legally or those who facilitate it to prison, but we can elect representatives who will lower taxes, protect property rights and return us to the fundamentals of our Constitution. Many have given up the fight to end universal plunder; I have not. I hope you will join me in supporting candidates who believe in our Constitution and the immorality of legalized universal plunder. Please choose accordingly when you vote in November.