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What is Redistribution?

September 23rd, 2012

In a much talked-about video from 1998 that has just surfaced, President Obama says “I actually believe in redistribution.”

But what does that mean?

Redistribution is a fancy word for creating level incomes in a particular society.  Specifically, you take money from the rich and give it to the poor.  Redistribution is the main focus of Socialism, because Socialists believe that everyone should be equal — regardless of how much they work or how much money they make on their own.

To a point, America already redistributes some of its wealth.  After all, money for welfare and other government assistance programs comes from tax dollars.  So, some of the rich’s money is already given to the poor.

However, what would happen if America were to place more emphasis on redistribution?

History gives us two big examples of where redistribution has been tried — and failed:

–        Henry VIII seized money from the Catholic churches in England and gave it to his supporters.  However, it still wasn’t enough to keep the country afloat.  Henry VIII wound up having to lower the value of the country’s coins — which led to massive inflation.

–        During the French Revolution, police took money from the wealthy citizens.  What they left behind, looters stole for themselves.  In the end, Louis XIV was beheaded, and France was left with a dictator in charge named Napoleon.

It made a nice catch phrase for Robin Hood, but is taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor what our forefathers intended for America?

While we can’t speak for all of them, we know that Thomas Jefferson was against it.  In a letter to Joseph Milligan in 1816, Jefferson wrote:

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

Is Mitt Romney Right?

September 23rd, 2012

If you’re a loyal visitor to Our Voice Counts, you know that we’ve already debated whether or not America is becoming a society of moochers.

Turns out, GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney shares some of our thoughts.

Although it’s probably not the way he would have preferred the information come out, a video of a Romney fundraiser has been the talk of much discussion over the past few days.  On it, Romney talks about the people whom he can never convince to vote for him over President Obama.  According to Romney:

“There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.”

As of 2011, 46% of Americans paid no income taxes.  So, there are plenty of people who want to be PAID by the system — but aren’t willing to PAY INTO the system.  Romney mentions these people by saying:

“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives…”

Even though the video was leaked without his knowledge, Romney has stood by his comments.

So, is he right?

Has America turned into a “me-first” society?  Are Americans simply looking for a handout?  Has it really been that long since John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,”?

Regardless of what you think about Mitt Romney’s political beliefs, is he right?  Is a huge portion of Americans dependent on the government?  What would our forefathers think about that?  More importantly, what do YOU think about that?

What Does “We the People” Mean Anyways?

September 17th, 2012

They’re the first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution, but have you given any serious thought to what “We the People” really means?

Back when it was first written in September 1787, “We the People” referred to everyone who was living in the brand new America as a means to escape from an unfair government back in England.  By starting off the Preamble to the Constitution by talking about the people — instead of talking about the government — it was a clear sign that the government’s power came FROM the people it served.

But has the meaning of “We the People” changed since our forefathers wrote it down all those years ago?

Think about today’s political climate and how it affects “We the People”…

Does it refer to all Americans, regardless of race, marital status, religious views, political views, etc?

Does it refer to anyone who calls this country home — either legally or illegally?

Does it only refer to the “people” in power — like the members of a certain political party?

Does it only refer to people who have the means to get their message heard — like in TV commercials, in giant Facebook marketing campaigns, or in loud protests?

Does it only refer to the people who vote?

Does it only refer to the majority?

Does it only refer to the people who work on Capitol Hill?

 

One important thing to remember — when our forefathers came up with the term “We the People”, they weren’t just giving the American people rights.  The term was also used to describe the “people” responsible for upholding the foundations of the Constitution.

So, what do you think?  Are the “people” doing a good job of that today?

Are We Headed for a Revolution of Our Own?

September 8th, 2012

With all of the fighting that’s going on amongst Americans today, it’s hard to believe that we ever agreed on anything — but we did just that when we declared our independence from Britain.

Back then, Colonists were sick and tired of getting hit with taxes — and having no say over any of the decisions that were made.  With the flick of a pen King George III created high taxes on things that Colonists had to use every day, like paper and sugar.  Adding insult to injury, the Colonists couldn’t even vote for members of Parliament!  Instead, they were stuck footing the bill for the motherland.

Eventually, though, Britain took things too far.  When a new law said that British soldiers could stay in Colonists’ houses (without the owners’ permission), it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Colonists called the legislation the “Intolerable Acts” and started boycotting British goods.

A few months later, the Colonists and the British were duking it out in the Revolutionary War — and changing the course of history in the process.

Today, Americans are just as angry as they were back then.  Ironically, the Colonists were fighting in order to get a government that gave them some peace and quiet — while today, it seems like the government is the biggest source of stress for our citizens!  Whether it’s healthcare, taxes, gay marriage, the economy, or something else entirely, Americans on both sides of the political aisle are unhappy.

How long will it be before tempers boil over and we change the course of history with another revolution?

It worked to America’s advantage the first time, but what’s to say it’s going to turn out so well the next time?

A President with No Political Party

September 8th, 2012

In today’s day and age, it’s unfathomable that someone could be elected President of the United States without any kind of political party affiliation — but that’s exactly what happened when George Washington took over!

Oh, sure, back in Washington’s days, there was plenty of political debate.  However, it was restricted to beer halls and assembly houses — and it was on a much smaller scale.  People had their own independent opinions about how the country should be run, but they weren’t part of any kind of political party.  Even when Washington was re-elected in 1793, he still didn’t have a political party attached to his name.

And that’s just how he wanted it!

In fact, Washington HATED the idea of political parties.  He was afraid that they would grow too powerful and, as a result, damage the country as a whole.  Washington thought that a young America couldn’t withstand political opponents trying to exact revenge on one another (and, to him, that’s all political parties were about — getting revenge on your enemies).  He thought political parties would be a distraction to the government — or, worse, that they would lead to people losing their freedoms.

Right before Washington left office, he made sure to let Americans know exactly what he thought of political parties — in hopes that they wouldn’t take over after he was gone.  In his farewell speech, Washington said, “…the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of the party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Wonder what Washington would think of today’s political climate?!

Happy Labor Day! Or Is It?

August 27th, 2012

As America gets ready to spend a three-day weekend bidding bon voyage to summer — and celebrating what has traditionally been a holiday devoted to working men and women — is it really a happy Labor Day?

After all, how many of America’s men and women are actually working?  How many of them want to be, but aren’t?

The mainstream media keeps telling us that the job market is on the rise because the unemployment rate is going down.

But there’s a big difference between a lower unemployment rate and fewer people out of work!

As of July 2012, the nation’s unemployment rate was 8.1%.  However, that 8.1% only accounts for people who are filing for unemployment benefits.  All of the people who have reached the end of their benefits are not factored into that calculation.

How many people are we talking about?

By the end of 2011, more than 5.5 million Americans had exhausted their unemployment benefits.  And, remember, that’s after Congress extended the federal benefit period to 99 weeks (almost 2 years).  Some states are in such poor shape that they qualify for additional benefits, so some Americans are getting 125 weeks of unemployment (almost 2.5 years) — and they’re STILL maxing out!

Plus, our employment rate also ignores one other very important thing — the “nonemployed”.

People who have stopped looking for work are considered “nonemployed” instead of “unemployed”.  As a result, they’re not a part of the 8.1%, either.

How many people fall into that category?

It’s hard to say exactly, but many experts are trying to calculate a number.  In fact, Antony Davies, an Associate Professor of Economics at Duquesne University and an Affiliated Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, evaluated the numbers back in May.  Back then, America’s unemployment rate sat at 8.1%.  According to Davies calculations, though, if the “nonemployed” were factored in, the unemployment rate could be as high as 11.5%!

So, is it really a happy Labor Day after all?

 

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