NOTICE: TONIGHT, Thursday, October 5, at 7 p.m. Eastern. Benjamin Power is our first presenter in our upcoming online Austrian conference: “How Austrian Economics Impacted My Life.” Register here to receive your Zoom link for an intellectually fun and enlightening session!
According to an article at CNBC.com, 60% of adults said they are living paycheck to paycheck. According to an article at Forbes.com, about a third of Americans were unable to save any money in the past year. According to an article at Yahoo! Finance, while financial advisors recommend savings of $1 million to $2 million for retirees, the average 70-year-old has only around $426,000 in savings. On top of that, consider how much the value of people’s money is debased each decade through the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve.
Welcome to the welfare-warfare state way of life, which plunders and loots people’s income to fund the ever-increasing expenditures of welfare-state programs and the warfare-state programs of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.
If we think back to America’s founding principles with respect to income, wealth, welfare, and warfare, we find that our American ancestors chose a totally different way of life than today’s Americans have chosen.
Consider, for example, 1890 Americans. They lived without an income tax and an IRS to enforce it. Just think about that: People were free to keep 100 percent of their income, and there was nothing the government could do about it. Imagine if you were free to keep everything you earned. Imagine if that had been case during your entire work life.
When Americans were free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth, they obviously were able to save a larger percentage of their income. Would’t you be saving more money if suddenly you no longer had to pay any income taxes whatsoever?
Interestingly, as our American ancestors found themselves saving lots of money, that actually led to a higher standard of living for everyone in society. That’s because those savings were put into banks, which then lent them out to businesses, which used the money to invest in tools and equipment that made their workers more productive. That increased productivity brought lower prices for consumer goods, increased profits for businesses, and higher wages for workers. Thus, there was a harmony of interests in the unlimited accumulation of wealth and higher standards of living for people.
Twentieth-century Americans chose to go in an opposite direction. They traded the right to keep everything they earned for a welfare state and then, later a national-security state. The idea of the welfare state was to have the government take a large share of people’s income and then use the money to take care of people. The idea behind the national-security state was to have the government take a large share of people’s income to protect them from the communists and, later, the terrorists, Muslims, drug dealers, illegal immigrants, Russians, Chinese, and many others.
Our American ancestors, of course, refused to make that trade. They didn’t want the government to take care of them. They wanted to take care of themselves, with their own money and on a purely voluntary, charitable basis. They also knew that a national-security state (or what they termed “standing armies”) would inevitably embroil them in endless wars and crises that would mean even higher taxes (and lower savings).
At the same time, our American ancestors rejected the plunder and looting that comes with a system of paper money and the Federal Reserve. That’s why the Constitution required that gold coins and silver coins be the official money of the United States. The result was the soundest monetary system in history, one in which people felt secure in saving large percentages of their income in longterm bonds.
The question is: Which system do we go with moving forward — America’s founding system, which led to a massive increase in income, profits, savings, and charity? Or today’s system, which has led to poverty, suffering, and a vast welfare-warfare racket that has led to impoverishment of finances and spirit?