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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Americans Are Paying for Socialism and Imperialism


Both liberals and conservatives have long lamented that Americans have not been bearing their fair share of the costs of the U.S. Empire’s longstanding imperialist escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That’s ridiculous.

Consider the ever-increasing debt that is being added to each person’s balance sheet. Each American currently owes $40,000, which is his individual share of the debt that the U.S. government owes its creditors. Like it or not, the federal government, through the IRS, wields the authority to collect that money from you and everyone else.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to allow the feds to go $1.7 trillion deeper in debt. According to an article in the Washington Post, that amounts to an increase of $6,000 per person. That will increase the amount you owe to $46,000. If you have a family of four, your share of the government’s debt will be $184,000.

Suppose the IRS decided to collect that money from you. How easily could you pay them?

Of course, that’s not likely, as public officials are fully aware of the anger and rage they would be confronting if they used the IRS to collect that money. Incurring debt is one thing but having the IRS forcibly collect the money from the taxpayers to pay it off is another.

Nonetheless, creditors who loaned the federal government the money to pay for its welfare-warfare state expenditures, such as the Chinese government, ultimately want to be paid back. And the only way they can be paid back is by the U.S. government’s forcibly taking money from the U.S. citizenry and using it to pay back the Chinese government and other creditors.

So, when the rubber hits the road and the feds need to start paying off their creditors, how are they going to get the money? Some will be in higher taxes, but my hunch is not a lot. Historically, one of the things that profligate officials fear most is a tax revolt. Instead, they’ll simply print up the necessary money and use it to pay off the creditors.

That will, of course, cause prices of most everything in the United States to soar. It’s a convenient way to tax people without letting them know they’re being taxed. If prices soar, say, 25 percent while real incomes remain the same, then people will have effectively been taxed 25 percent.

The beauty of the scheme, of course, is that Joe and Mary Sixpack will have no idea of what’s going on. They’ll think that the problem is with greed, avarice, business owners, bankers, and speculators. They won’t have any idea that it’s the government’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, that is taxing them through monetary debasement.

As an aside, that’s one of the beauties of public schooling and state-supported colleges and universities. People go through these institutions being taught that inflation is a mysterious and fearful disease that strikes nations at random, like the flu. The last thing Joe and Mary will suspect is that soaring prices constitute government’s way of forcing people to provide the money to pay off its debts and financing its ever-growing expenditures.

This is where socialism and imperialism have led our country — down a road to moral debauchery, dependency on the state, damage to individual self-reliance and personal independence, foreign anger and hatred for our nation, ever increasing attacks on our freedom and privacy, soaring expenditures and debts, and the threat of national bankruptcy.

That sure seems to me that Americans are bearing a fair share of the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other parts of America’s welfare-warfare state. My hunch is that as time goes on, an increasing number of Americans will wish that they had listened to us libertarians a long time ago.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.