It on Freedom: Destroy People’s Income And Wealth
13 March 2010
By Jacob G. Hornberger
One of the distinguishing characteristics of statists
is their inability to take responsibility for their
failures. The fault always lies elsewhere. Two of the
best examples of this phenomenon are the welfare state
and the warfare state.
For more than a century after the founding of the
Republic, Americans had lived with little or no income
taxation, economic regulation, paper money,
legal-tender laws, Social Security, Medicare,
Medicaid, SBA loans, corporate grants, education
grants, drug laws, and other forms of paternalism.
Early Americans believed that freedom involved the
rights to engage in economic enterprise freely,
accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth, and decide
what to do with their own money — e.g., invest, save,
spend, or donate.
All that changed in the 20th century, thanks to the
statists. In 1913, the income tax and the Federal
Reserve were established, heralding a way of life in
which government would wield omnipotent power to take
or destroy people’s income and wealth.
Major change came again in the 1930s, when President
Franklin Roosevelt built the foundation for the
modern-day welfare state, a type of socialism that had
originated among the socialists of Germany.
Since then, the welfare state — the paternalistic
state — the nanny state — the socialist state —
whatever label you wish to put on it — has grown by
leaps and bounds.
To fund all this socialism, well, that’s where those
two mechanisms that were formed in 1913 come into play
— income taxation and the Federal Reserve.
Today, the welfare state is cracking apart. Everywhere
you look, things are in crisis. Social Security,
Medicare, Medicaid, FDIC, the dollar, the national
debt, and federal spending. It’s all broke or
breaking. Just like it has in Greece, whose the
welfare state has finally reached the breaking point.
But what do the statists say? Oh, it’s all because of
freedom and free enterprise. You know, such guilty
culprits as greed, speculation, banking, deregulation,
and profit. Not surprisingly, their solution to all
these welfare-state woes is … you guessed it — more
It’s no different with the warfare state. After the
fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the
Soviet Union, the statists went into panic mode over
fear of suffering massive reductions in welfare for
the military and the military industrial complex.
Desperately in search of a mission that would permit
them to maintain their hold on their Cold War largess,
they embarked on course of action designed to poke
hornets’ nests in the Middle East, with deadly and
There was the Persian Gulf intervention against their
old partner and ally Saddam Hussein; the intentional
destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage facilities
after the Pentagon confirmed that this would help
spread infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people;
the brutal sanctions that contributed to the deaths of
hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children; U.S.
Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous
declaration that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi
children were “worth it”; the illegal no-fly zones
over Iraq, which killed more Iraqis; the stationing of
U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands, knowing how
insulting this would be to Muslims; and, of course,
the years of unconditional financial and military
support given to the Israeli government.
Then came the inevitable “blowback” — the retaliation:
the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attack
on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in
Kenya and Tanzania, and 9/11.
What was the response of the statists? It’s all
because of freedom! You see, according to the statists,
the anger and hatred that had boiled over in the
Middle East after a decade of brutal U.S.
intervention, was all because Muslims hate America for
its freedom, not because people were angry over all
that death and destruction that came with
intentionally poking those hornets’ nests.
Today, both the welfare state and the warfare are in
deep crisis, and things are only getting worse by the
month. Count on the statists to become angrier, more
frustrated, and more fearful that people might
discover the truth as to the real causes of America’s
woes. Count on the statists to continue blaming
freedom for America’s woes, both foreign and domestic.
It’s the only hope statists have that Americans will
continue following them down the road to serfdom and
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The
Future of Freedom Foundation.