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DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS: GUILTY! Government Subsidies ARE Wealth Distribution

In political talks around the kitchen table or in convention halls, there are topics more interesting than others. Some, like foreign policy and terrorism, don’t have to work too hard to keep our attention. Others turn otherwise interested participants into glaze-eyed narcoleptics. Unless you’re a Leftist, which of course means even debates on parking meter fines can be riveting…in a totalitarian sense.

But I think there’s a topic that deserves spirited debate and a definitive NO in Congress: Subsidies.

Before you go elsewhere, stop and consider what a subsidy is. Via investopedia, a subsidy is “A benefit given by the government to groups or individuals usually in the form of a cash payment or tax reduction. The subsidy is usually given to remove some type of burden and is often considered to be in the interest of the public.”

Clearly, this definition covers a lot of ground. Whether you call it a bailout, special tax break, guaranteed loan, grant, or subsidy, please tell me how any of this isn’t redistribution of wealth.

Republicans love to throw around this word in accusation against the Left, and for good reason. Barack Obama is our country’s greatest purveyor of tax dollars to his friends and industries that in turn donate to his favorites campaigns and coffers.

But Republicans are as guilty as Democrats. States and local governments are no different, and neither are the recipients of this rapidly depleting largesse. Most of us have taken advantage of tax credits or rebates whether we insulate our homes or buy a vehicle currently deemed worthy by the governing elite.

Where in the US Constitution is it written that the government can take money from one group or individuals, and give to another? Nowhere. I’m not talking about welfare, which has its role as a temporary safety net, but about giving money to industries that should be able to run on their own.

So we should take heart when someone like Ted Cruz stands up in a crowd full of farmers and essentially say, “We can’t do this anymore.”

(To the question of “Do you support the Renewable Fuel Standard which gives subsidies to corn farmers for ethanol production.”)

Look, I recognize that this is a gathering of a lot of folks who the answer you’d like me to give is “I’m for the RFS [Renewable Fuel Standard], darnit,’ that’d be the easy thing to do,” Cruz said. But I’ll tell you, people are pretty fed up, I think, with politicians that run around and tell one group one thing, tell another group another thing, and then they go to Washington and they don’t do anything that they said they would do. And I think that’s a big part of the reason we have the problems we have in Washington, is there have been career politicians in both parties that aren’t listening to the American people and aren’t doing what they said they would do.

Why should the taxpayers of a city give money to Major League Baseball or the National Football League because one of its teams wants a new stadium? Why should auto manufacturers get bailed out when the American people weren’t the ones mishandling business operations and finances? Why should Lehman Brothers and its shareholders get to keep their money because they played a bad hand in the market?

To those who would argue that you need subsidies to survive, what if we could redo the tax code so you wouldn’t need subsidies? What if, across the board, a Flat Tax of 10% were implemented on all income regardless of source? What if there were no death tax that punishes whom you leave your estates to? All of this is possible.

To my fellow members of the Republican party, when we complain about the Left’s penchant for income redistribution, are we that oblivious to deny that we do this very thing ourselves? Or don’t you care as long as you get yours? When we point out the crony capitalism of lawmakers like Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Harry Reid for allowing themselves and their family members to enrich themselves via government contracts and payouts, are we not hypocritical if we don’t call out our own economic fan dance? In a free society governed by small and less powerful governing bodies, no special favors are needed.

Let our mantra be: If a private organization can’t survive without taxpayer assistance, it shouldn’t survive.

Image: http://mises.ca/posts/articles/do-we-really-owe-it-to-ourselves/

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Michael Cummings

About the author, Michael Cummings:

Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.

View all articles by Michael Cummings

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