The FairTax has been filed in Congress for about a decade and a half now. There are some who hold the belief that this passage of time is proof that this idea is ultimately unachievable. Those who believe this are poor students of history. Our current income tax was established in 1913, after a previous income tax, passed into law in 1894, was declared unconstitutional. Advocates of universal healthcare coverage had promise in 1945 under Harry S. Truman’s Fair Deal proposal. It was not until 2010 that they could claim success with the Affordable Care Act that some still criticize as not fully implementing a single-payer system. Large changes to the political order take time and effort. Like many other examples we need look no farther than our founding. Samuel Adams was a key player in the founding of this country and was one of the earliest advocates of independence. In fact, a man of no softly spoken desires he had this to say about the need for separation,
“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
In an era when we were attempting to reason and redress the Intolerable Acts, Samuel Adams was organizing protests and writing letters of dissent arguing against the expansion of the use of governmental power, all of which were helpful in planting the seeds of rebellion. He attended both the Continental Congresses and was a leader of the original Tea Party. The night of Paul Revere’s ride, many thought the British troops were marching to arrest the leaders of what would become the revolutionary force, one of which was Adams. Like his second cousin, and second President, John Adams, he was a visionary and an active force in the Second Continental Congress to push toward independence. His fingerprints surround the earliest stirrings of the desire for a full and irrevocable separation from the Crown. And his views should be echoed through today’s political discourse because those ideas are at the heart of the debates waging now. His words can add weight to the cause that we fight for, “Hence as a private man has a right to say what wages he will give in his private affairs, so has a Community to determine what they will give and grant of their Substance, for the Administration of publick affairs.” All spelling and grammar are attributed to a blissful time when the rules were not quite so established, but the ideas shall always remain undeniable truths. He also went on to say that it is the “greatest absurdity” that the people be required to surrender or renounce their essential and natural rights to a civil government that is supposed to support, protect, and defend those very rights. If his words are to be believed then we are living in a time of greatest absurdity. He continued to describe those essential rights as life, liberty, and property; one could argue over the first two, there is no doubt that we are no longer in possession of that last right. Long viewed as the bulwark of liberty, private property is no longer allowed under a system that confiscates the first fruits of labor based upon arbitrarily defined rates and levels.
Samuel Adams also knew where the strength lay in this new land. It was in a representative approach to government that followed the basic principles of life, liberty, and property. He understood that economic strength came from economic liberty. Our ability to live our lives free from regulation and restriction is the foundation of our country’s unique success. The individual, left free, is able to chase after his dreams and aspirations until they are as close to completion as possible. It is the reason that industries have flourished here. It is only when these restrictions, a crippling corporate tax rate, governmental involvement to unprecedented levels, and an encumbering tax code occur that our liberty is stifled for other, more political, priorities. These infractions against the ideals in place at our foundation serve to sever our ties to the past and bring us into unfamiliar territory, it has not functioned well. When our economic liberty is accosted then our success is also attacked. Our ability to act shrinks, which is followed by our desire to do so, which breeds failure, malaise, and weakness. We are an industrious people that desire the freedom to act on our own account, when we have it we outshine the world. It is high time that we return such power to the American people so that we can get back to work and reaffirm our position of strength in this still new century. When we are weak at home our strength frays at the edges and this past week has only proven to be a preview of what awaits a weakened America. Again, however, history provides us an example if we remember to look for it. This time we need not travel so far back into the past but only need to remember the last time that evil threatened to engulf the world. This example concerns the unquestionably evil empire that was the Soviet Union. It spent 50 years expanding its reach and subjugating more people under its oppressive and lethal rule. The United States offered détente and counter action. There was one man elected President who sought to end it. His name was Ronald Reagan. Although elected in 1980, as far back as 1968 he spoke about the necessary link between our economic viability and our ability to defend. “The peace and security of the world depends on the fiscal and economic stability and the defense potential of the United States.” In a radio address in 1975 he said, “Power is not only sufficient military strength but a sound economy.” Today we hear politicians promise less of both, not for some greater global cause, but only to get reelected. We are told that we need to tax rich people more, thus making it less desirable to become so, and are planning to make dramatic and substantial cuts to our military. We ended the threat of the Soviet Union by doing the complete opposite of what our leaders are proposing today. In response, people have died, buildings are burning and our flags in tough regions are falling. When will we learn? The success of America is not built upon a speech from our international figurehead, apologetic or otherwise. It is not hashed out in Joint Select Subcommittee meetings held secret from the public. It is not found in state capitals or even our highest courts. The strength that built America is found in the homes of every single citizen. Our actions or inactions affect our nation’s abilities. Our votes, our job performance, our political activism shape the society around us. Following those in Washington has led us to accept an income tax code that has done nothing but grow for the past 99 years. It stifles liberty, discourages investment, and bleeds our jobs and investment capital overseas.
It is time to stand resolute, in the mold of Samuel Adams and the many others that built us the opportunity to do so much more. We have found a cause to stand for, the FairTax, and recognize the principles it espouses. It restores to us the right to property lost so long ago and enables us to take the actions necessary to bring America out of this economic slump. Remember that he was one of the first and worked tirelessly to convince his state and nation that we must take up arms against the world’s largest empire in the name of an idea no one in history had undertaken. The patriots of yesteryear fought and died only in hopes that the idea would work. Why are we so hesitant to act when that very same idea is in danger of dying? Standing on this side of history we know that freedom works. We know that liberty functions, perhaps much better than our founders realize. Imagine traveling back to that summer in Philadelphia and telling those assembled that in less than 200 years their experiment would land a human foot on the moon. We now stare at a limitless future of endless possibilities because they were willing to die for a cause they knew was worthy. We can be dissuaded because some naysayers tell us that if it has not happened in 13 years that it will never happen. Recognize that those foolish enough to really believe such pessimism have forgotten history and are also those that are not involved. It is the armchair politician that is quickest to dismiss something new because all they hear is more of the same from all involved. But it is we active few who understand, that in America, if one is passionate, articulate, knowledgeable, and dedicated anything is possible. From the end of British colonial rule, to the decimation of the Evil Empire, to the overthrow of the tyrannical tax code. If America’s strength rests in you, then the hope for its future does too. As you keep that in mind reflect on this quote from Samuel Adams as he heard the actual shot ring out over Lexington, “What a glorious morning this is.”