Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cigarette Taxes, Education Policy, and Government Creep.

Over the past few years we've seen a strong push by liberals, and those who believe they can live your our lives better than we can, to turn us all into wards of the state. Whereas the attempts to do so decades ago were much more transparent today their attempts are more subtle and thus much more insidious.

Fatty food bans, salt bans, government entities working with Hollywood to get cigarette smoking mentioned in movie ratings, and a whole host of other government prohibitions all designed to make the "correct" choice for us. I don't know about you but I don't the government living my life for me. If I want to make the wrong choices, guess what, that is my decision and no one in government has the right, constitutionally nor morally, to make them for me. Yet, time and again, we let those who think they are better than us get away with their actions because we express outrage for a week tops and then we forget about it. By the time elections roll around the issue is completely forgotten so we send the do-gooders we were once outraged at to continue their slow creep into our lives.

So why do governments want to make the "correct" choices for me? The answer always comes back to money. They push cigarette taxes ever higher under the guise of public health but if that was true they would just make the cigarette excise tax prohibitively expensive. Of course they would never do that because the do-gooders in government come to rely on that, and other sin tax, revenue to exert control over every single one of our lives. And when the tax increases do come they know the majority of voters won't care because, hey, that small tax increase doesn't affect me - I don't smoke (or drink or view porn, etc...) - but in reality every single action by the government affects every single one of us. Anytime we let government power grow we give them the implicit permission to creep further and further into our lives.

That's why I hate it when pro-life advocates talk about taxing abortions as a way to cut down on them. It's an absurd position that would make it nearly impossible for us to achieve our dream of eliminating abortions once and for all because the moment government has a financial stake in keeping abortions legal is the moment the pro-life movement dies.

But we don't just see attempts to run our lives when it comes to taxes. Perhaps the biggest example is the political push for every single person to go to college. They do so without regard to a persons actual intelligence, want to attend college, or financial ability to afford college. To those who think of themselves as our betters if you don't attend college you are a failure and your life will be one of hardship. Of course they do this not only because it is politically popular to push college for all but because to do so makes our government a ton of money.

The vast majority of students who attend college do so without any means to pay for it yet they are unable to receive any aid other than education loans - loans which net state and federal governments tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments. And what do those students, who have no interest in college and no way to pay for it, do once they get to college? They either drop out after wasting both their time and money or they get degrees in unemployable fields that will do nothing for their careers once they actually do graduate. Of course there is an easy fix for all of this - stop denigrating trade and vocational schools. But learning a trade is beneath the political aristocracy and allowing young adults to learn an employable trade that leads to a well paying career instead of being a ward of the state because you can't find a job is bad for those politicians who want to live our lives. Joe Biden recently summed this feeling up with a recent speech about "economic fairness." He said that we need to stop allowing our students to settle for trade schools. It's a joke and this policy of college or bust has screwed up an entire generation of Americans, just look at the Occupy Wall Street crowd. They were pushed into college by being promised jobs and a good life, where they didn't learn any actual skills, and now are angry not at the liberals who promised them a life of ease but at those who, if asked, probably would've told them that college isn't for everybody so make your own decisions.

We don't have to live with as wards of the state. We fought a revolutionary war and created a government with limited powers so that we would be free to live as choose. Since our foundation the cause of liberty has been dampened and tread on by those who think themselves our betters but that doesn't mean the cause of liberty is dead. In my next post I will detail some ways we can fight back against this government creep and restore the freedoms that have been incrementally stripped from us.

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