Withholding Tax, The Verb

Image result for milton friedman

As I go about cattle chores I get a chance to listen to the radio and catch up on the establishment line. It was especially thought provoking listening to NPR’s Fresh Air interview show day before yesterday.

Terry Gross’s guest was Evan Osnos, who wrote an article in The New Yorker about how Donald Trump is enabling China as they intrude in our dominant role on the “global stage.” He claimed that Trump was “reducing commitments abroad and withdrawing from treaties,” while China was taking our place. His premise was that if the government doesn’t do it, it doesn’t exist at all. He inferred that no research was done by private companies and no foreign relations exist outside of government relations when comparing our countries.

Relationships with other countries are actually stronger when left out of the hands of our government. There are lots of individuals and private companies who do quite well dealing with foreigners. Their interests are represented directly rather than through bureaucratic processes that often lead to coercion and adversarial relationships.

What is it that drives people like Osnos to view the world as a contest between governments? While I think competition is the best driver for progress, when left in the hands of government it produces waste, not progress. Government produces nothing, so how can it compete unless through force?

In the news today, a Pakistan official accuses the U.S. of betrayal after suspension of military aid. Finally, the government is doing something to make us safer. You can’t give aid to one side without making enemies on the other. If this is the kind of reduced commitment Trump wants, then I say “hear, hear!” But I doubt it. Two hundred thousand troops and 177 countries to go.

Here is my idea to make America Great Again: An Amendment to the Constitution that mandates 5 years in federal prison for any government official who does not uphold and defend the Constitution as his oath requires of him. I would also require each prisoner to wear high heels and have “It’s a Small World After All” played in a loop the entire time.

The weaning process will be tough. But if we enjoy the luxurious lives we live today, we should look back at the days of no safety nets, no foreign entanglements and no crony capitalism. We are making withdrawals from that account at an unsustainable rate.

We have 100 million armed, law abiding citizens here who have a personal stake in defending our freedoms. We have a vast network of caring individuals who do step up to help those in need. What makes these things difficult is a government full of people who don’t seem to understand. They get in the way.

When I think of my hourly wage days I think of Milton Freedman’s (self proclaimed) biggest mistake, the withholding tax. But today I thank Terry Gross and Evan Osnos for helping me think of it as a verb instead of a noun.

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