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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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No More Statism

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Not surprisingly, liberals are calling for tax hikes on the rich as their way to pay for the ever-burgeoning costs of the welfare-warfare state.

Conservatives pretend to oppose tax hikes. Their preferred method of funding the welfare-warfare state is through the Federal Reserve, whose job is to provide the money and credit needed to fund excess federal spending without the need to raise income taxes.

That’s what passes for philosophical debate between liberals and conservatives. The fight isn’t over the legitimacy of the welfare-warfare state way of life. They both agree on that. The fight is over how to fund it (and, of course, which side gets to run it).

The controversy perfectly reflects how different we libertarians are from statists. We libertarians don’t argue over whether the welfare-warfare state should be funded by income taxation or inflation. Our position is: Immediately repeal all welfare-state programs (beginning with the crown jewels of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid), repeal all interventionist and regulatory programs (beginning with the drug war), and dismantle the U.S. government’s military empire, close the bases, and discharge the troops into the private sector.

Oh, and abolish the IRS and the income tax, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid taxes, and the Federal Reserve.

In other words, leave people free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth, leave people free to do whatever they want with their own money, leave people free to make whatever choices they want in life so long as their conduct is peaceful, and depend on a well-armed, self-trained citizen soldiery that would be ready to voluntarily come to the defense of our country in the extremely unlikely event of an invasion.

With major exceptions like slavery and tariffs and many minor exceptions, the libertarian position was the position of America’s Founding Fathers. They abhorred the statist philosophy that has now held our nation in its grip for many decades.

With the exception of President Lincoln’s unconstitutional imposition of an income tax to fund his war against the seceding states, the United States had no income taxation or IRS from the nation’s founding in 1787 to the early part of the 20th century. Americans were free to keep everything they earned.

When the federal government didn’t tax income, lots of poor people became wealthy. Even more entered the ranks of the middle class.

For most of that entire time, there was no central bank, paper money, or legal-tender laws. (Again, Lincoln’s tenure was a big exception.) Americans used gold and silver coins as their official money, which is what the Constitution required. When government was unable to debase the currency, the result was the greatest buildup of productive capital that people had ever seen.

The massive buildup of capital, in turn, made workers more productive. More productivity meant higher revenues. Higher revenues brought higher wages for the workers.

For the first time in history, masses of poor people were breaking free of the chains of poverty, which is precisely why thousands of penniless immigrants were fleeing the European and Asian lands of statism to come to a land of no welfare-warfare state. (Did I mention that America had no immigration controls during most of that period as well?)

Our American ancestors also detested militarism, standing armies, conscription, and empires. After all, they had rebelled against an empire, together with the ever-burgeoning taxes, debt, and inflation needed to fund it. Many of them had immigrated to America to escape conscription and perpetual war.

Charity was entirely voluntary for more than 100 years. By and large, Americans were a religious people. The thought of using the power of Caesar to interfere with the exercise of God’s great gift of free will was anathema to our ancestors. People had the moral right to decide what to do with their own money, they firmly believed. That’s what freedom of choice is all about. They would never have tolerated mandatory government-enforced “charity” in the form of such things as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, grants, and subsidies.

Today, the federal government is mired in ever-increasing spending, debt, taxes, and inflation. How can that surprise anyone? Americans have abandoned the founding principles of their nation in favor of the statism from which our American ancestors rebelled or fled.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, subsidies, grants, income taxation, IRS, the drug war, the DEA, the Federal Reserve, a thousand foreign military bases, the CIA, the NSA, the TSA, occupations of foreign countries, undeclared wars of aggression, standby conscription, kidnapping, torture, Gitmo, secret prison camps, invasions of privacy, unreasonable searches and seizures, torture, and assassination.

It’s all part and parcel of the statism that now afflicts our land. That’s the root of America’s economic and social woes. There is only one way to restore freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony to our land, and it lies not in figuring out how to fund the welfare-warfare state way of life. It lies in rejecting the welfare-warfare state way of life in favor of the libertarian principles that guided the founding of our nation — no income tax, no IRS, no Federal Reserve, no Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or other welfare, no drug war, no militarism, no empire.

In other words, the key to our nation’s future well-being lies with no more statism.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.