Good Reason #11
No longer can we...

trade our children's liberty for financial benefits

The gods visit the sins of the fathers on future generations.
—Euripides

Before you take any decision, consider its effect on the next seven generations.
—(Iroquois/Hopi) proverb

A few years ago, "We are spending our children's inheritance" made a catchy bumper-sticker slogan, the humor hanging on two points: Its selfish sentiment invited rejection, but its kernel of truth was undeniable.

Actually, most Americans have long been guilty of something far more serious than spending our children's inheritances. We are mortgaging their freedom, without their knowledge or consent, to ease our own retirement and bankroll big government's social engineering. This is cultural lunacy, composed, like most insanity, of self-absorption, ignorance, delusion and irresponsibility.

So long as we allow professional liars to dominate the ranks of politicians and bureaucrats to regulate our society unchecked, we will suffer and so will our posterity.

Some of the most glaring and furthest-reaching symptoms of this madness lie in the huge, wasteful and ill-conceived programs of Social Security. Despite the trust-fund myth long propagated by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the truth is that workers' FICA taxes are not set aside to provide for their old-age pensions and other benefits; they are paid out immediately to people who have already retired.1 Today's workers support today's retirees. (See Good Reason #7).

After me, the deluge.
—Louis XIV

The government's own estimate is that, by the year 2030, every Social Security "beneficiary" will be supported by only two workers (down from 3.3 in 1990 and 16 in 1950)—a crushing national burden of dependents. In a cover story, "The Case For Killing Social Security," (March 20, 1995), Time magazine labeled its chart of these statistics, "You think you've got money problems now . . ."

Furthermore, if we let Congress and other levels of government continue their "deficit spending" (read: borrowing), to fund this host of questionable or downright destructive programs, we will load our future generations with an even more overwhelming debt (estimated by the National Taxpayers Union to exceed $15 trillion already).

America's most important natural resource is her children; they are the guaranty for the national debt.
—(Madeline Albright(?)

True, only citizens with Social Security numbers are liable for the SSA's "unfunded liabilities" (promised, but unbudgeted benefits) or for any other portion of the national debt. Also true, Social Security is, by its director's admission, a voluntary system. Yet, how often is a couple presented with any alternative when told to sign up their newborn? Most are led to believe just the opposite—that they must obtain a number before they can leave the hospital. What do YOU think?

Benjamin Franklin noted that a debtor makes himself a slave to the future. Thus, every well-meaning, but ignorant parent who signs up a child for Social Security enslaves that child to work all its life paying on a debt it did nothing to create.

Besides, "in" or "out" of "the system," with or without a Social Security number, we all share in the rising costs of subsidizing non-producers, both in buying power and in the quality of life. The more we encourage unproductive dependency, the poorer we become as private citizens and as communities, states and a nation. Instead of slavishly perpetuating this "socialist insecurity" system which robs Peter to support Paul (and the government robbers), we should find profitable, realistic ways to help Paul produce and provide for his own future.

Money does not equal liberty, of course, but the two can profoundly affect each other. For most of us, spendable income dictates lifestyle, mobility and the ability to defend ourselves, our families and property in court and otherwise. The same will be true, presumably, of our children and theirs.

Of course, the key word is spendable. Already the best estimates set the total current tax bite out of each dollar at about 60 percent, including the taxes collected at the various stages of production and transportation before any product or service is sold to the end user and sales tax collected.2 What kinds of lives will future generations have when 40-to- 50 percent of each paycheck is also withheld to support government programs—programs with which the "contributors" may not even agree? What will they think of us for leaving them such a legacy?

If America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.
—Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America??

There is a larger dimension to this long-term slide in spendable income, and it is far more vicious. If we continue competing feverishly for an ever-dwindling supply of private-sector dollars, the general level of ethics and morals will slip even further than it has already, until "dog-eat-dog world" becomes more than a metaphor. At last, even the pretense of social cohesion could become impossible.

"When you coming home, son?"
"I don't know when, but we'll have a good time then, Dad. You know we'll have a good time then.". . . He'd turned out just like me; my boy was just like me.

—Harry Chapin

If our children follow the example we have set so far, they, too, will refuse to face the problem. Like all other parasites, however, an economic one can grow only so large before it kills its host.

None of this is inevitable. . . yet. The time is now to take responsibility for our great gift of freedom, for our republican form of government of, by and for the people. If not now, when? If not us, who will?

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