February 26, 2009

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if the United States of America went to war with itself? Yup, historians are shouting that already happened once, when brothers fought against brothers during the War Between the States. A number of social, economic and moral issues led to the bloodshed that saw more than 600,000 Americans lose their lives fighting for or against slavery, state rights or federal authority.

Now before the federal agents come busting down my doors, I'm not encouraging the start of the Civil War II. Still it seems to me that the current political theater definitely is setting the stage with plenty of similarities.

I don't see too many states prepared to follow the route of the old Confederates into secession. As a matter of fact most are lining up at the feed trough with the rest of the public, waiting to get their piece of the pie when the Democrats flip the switch on at the 24-hour money printing shop. Reminds me of talking to my five year old, telling her if she eats all her candy now, she won't have any left for tomorrow.

While there may not be any states set to leave the union, I'm wondering what is keeping the nation's top moneymakers from pulling up roots and setting up shop somewhere else?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently raised this question in his weekly radio appearance.

"One percent of the people that live in the city, the households that file in the city pay something like 50% of the taxes," the Mayor said. He noted that if just a handful of those folks moved out of the city, any proposed tax increase would have no revenue benefit.

So if you raise taxes high enough on that 1% and they decide to seceed from the city, then who will be left to pay for what Bloomberg noted is "a little over half the people, half the households who file tax returns don't pay any taxes. And about 30% of the households that file get a credit from the government. The government sends them a check. That's the Earned Income Tax Credit."

While it might not be the Civil War you were envisioning when I started this editorial, what if, a group of like-minded individuals broke away and formed their own state, which was funded by a fair use tax? I suspect after all the rich folks moved there, the rest of the union would be clamoring for war to bring them back into the fold, so they could go back to paying for everyone else.

That might be a tough fight, since I suspect this new state would be the only one left with gun rights for its residents, but that's a topic for a future opinion piece.

Elimination of gun rights does lend itself as a good segue to the next Civil War comparison, slavery. It was abolished by President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1861 and came to an end with the north's ultimate victory in the war a few years later.

Instead of plantations and bullwhips, today's new master leads an army of sheep fed by handouts and socialistic services that insure big brother will remain in power to enslave the minority under incremental income taxes and leftist media vilification for having the gall to earn more money than the majority.

Sure, the opposite side of the isle to my political sentiments will argue that the folks with the money are the ones enslaving those without. Ironic, but I'll use a quote from a guy who may have once reinforced that very idea when he reportedly joked with one author that slavery if reinvented today, while much maligned, would definitely cure the nation's welfare system woes.

I can't speak to the validity of that comment, but can definitely attribute these words to the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, a past leader of the Southern Baptist Convention:

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

As lawmakers continue to legislate the wealthy out of freedom, I hope President Obama can live up to all those comparisons to Abraham Lincoln, who led the nation through its first civil war.

Of course Lincoln said "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it."

Surely "not long" means defeat at the hands of the electorate in coming years, and not as the results of a second civil war.

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