Week of October 17, 1964
In response to New London Day-Sylvia Porter 10-15-1964
The New London Day
47-53 Main Street
New London, Conn
I have been compelled to my typewriter by the implication in Sylvia Porter’s column of Thursday, 15 October, that a welfare state might not be so bad after all. She concludes that ambition is still high, that there is even greater security, and that the moral condition of the country is probably not due to their political setup. I firmly believe that Miss Porter has completely missed the main argument involved in this problem.
Our forefathers did not found this country to give themselves security; they did not come here to escape from sickness, poverty, or low wages. When they revolted against English control, they did so because of taxation gripes. They revolted because of control, “compulsion”. What is security at the expense of freedom, and a pension at the expense of liberty?
There was once a nation, a world power, which had attained its greatness through free enterprise, private ownership, and individual initiative. After an economy wrecking war which brought on a tremendous depression, this nation was on the brink of despair. There arose a leader who had an enormous drive to set this nation on its feet, and he had the capability and integrity necessary for the job. At first he limited his intervention to the nation’s economy, to making loans to defunct business and to establishing an atmosphere in which business could flourish. But in order to do this his government was forced to raising the taxes, and eventually to deficit financing. In order to control the government activities this man had to increase the size of his government, and in so doing he extended the government control into more and more areas. Soon he began to make rules and regulations concerning the way in which business could and could not operate. He taxed the landlord to distribute his wealth, and to please the worker he controlled prices. He began to subsidize the farmer and buy up his surplus produce. When people complained about the rising national debt he fired them—they just didn’t understand deficit financing.
What was the result of all this? Emperor Tsu Tung Po and his great dynasty of China vanished into the twilight of history more than a thousand years ago. Momentum carried the nation for a while, China rolled forward on the government payroll for a short time, but the dynasty fell!
In 290 A.D. Diocletian was the emperor of Rome. At this time Rome was lazy and fat, rich and satisfied. The people were content to let the government do some of their jobs for them. Pensions for the aged, health benefits for one and all, price and wage control, these were placed into the hands of the government, into the hands of Diocletian. But in order to pay for these increased functions, Diocletian had to raise the taxes, and when he raised the taxes he had to increase his powers in order to collect them, which forced him to raise the taxes again, which required bigger government. Tax rioting broke out in the cities, and it took government subsidies and handouts to quiet them. Diocletian kept the consumer prices of farm goods so low that the farmers could no longer make a profit from their farms, and so he had to support the farmers. The taxes went up; the farmers were taxed out of their farms, the businessmen out of their business establishments. Workers began to receive less as they were taxed more. Initiative began to fade. Diocletian asked for and was granted emergency powers to cope with the situation, but the nation had lost its will to live, and Rome passed into what we have come to call the Dark Ages, one thousand years of oblivion.
Historically, any nation that has taxed itself more that 25% of its total income has fallen into oblivion. Our total taxation right now is about 33% of our total income, and in Sweden the rate is even higher.
With history to back me up I claim that Sweden is moving forward on momentum right now. With personal action controlled by government, with personal initiative stifled by government compulsion, and with personal profit appropriated by government taxation, no nation can last.
What good is the security of a welfare state without the freedom to do and say and act as one pleases, without the innate right to be or not to be, to improve or to not improve, without the eternal right of man to say “I” instead of “WE”?
Let us keep our precious heritage of freedom, and despite the clamor of the lazy, parasitical element in our society, let us soundly tromp on any action to let government do for us what we can better do for ourselves.
17 Ridgewood Avenue
Waterford, CT 06385