April 29, 2012
Civil Disobedience Is a Civic ResponsibilityBy Frank Ryan
With the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers effectively signed their own death warrant.
The Declaration said in part "[t]hat whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [re: unalienable rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government ... But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Many Americans complain about the idiotic regulations and rules passed by our government. I question, though, whether we, as Americans, are willing to put our creature comforts on hold for our principles.
There is a whole host of issues and departments to take issue with. Take the Affordable Care Act; the all-intrusive Dodd-Frank law, an out-of-control EPA; the government induced energy crisis; a Department of Education that does not educate; a Department of Agriculture that feeds no one; or one of any number of other ineffective, costly, and bureaucratic intrusions into our lives. When it comes to any and all of these, we talk a good game, but we seem to be reluctant to do anything meaningful.
From Benjamin Franklin's discourse on civil disobedience or the Henry David Thoreau classic "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," the great thinkers of America made it clear that the citizen's obligation to civil disobedience in the face of government injustice cannot be ignored.
"What can I do?" many asked me when I ran for Congress in 2010, their expressions showing their sense of utter powerlessness.
Yet with all the discord, I am amazed that we frequently overlook the most powerful tool in our arsenal to defeat this out-of-control political machine. It is a tool our Founding Fathers gave us.
The secretary of the Treasury used the tool. Even Warren Buffett uses the tool, despite his protestations that the wealthy should pay more.
The tool that I am referring to is our economic vote -- our economic power. Our very purchasing power and our earning power give us all we need to be heard and listened to.
The president's income redistribution philosophy strips you of your economic vote and gives it to someone else. He understands that if he strips you of your economic power, he wins, and freedom loses. We become economic slaves, as do the recipients of "government generosity."
Politicians use your earnings and confiscated tax dollars to buy the votes which keep them in office. If they can pander to more than 50% of the population, they win and you lose. But they need to have you continue cooperating by earning the income they can strip from you.
There are legitimate actions you can take using the very system that politicians have designed against us.
In short, we need to starve the beast!
The first step is to reduce your income. If you are able to reduce your work week or earnings by a mere 3% in an economy as large as the United States, the reduction in federal taxes that occurs will be so great that our deficit problems will become even more severe. One of the great advantages of a marginal tax rate is that money not earned saves you up to 34% of taxes and, for many, may reduce Social Security taxes as well.
An additional tool is to reduce spending on items for which sales tax is charged. Many states have tax rates of 4% to 6% or more. The states must balance their budgets, so every tax dollar is precious. If you really want to add insult to injury, spend less with companies owned by Buffett.
Drive less for a few weeks. The federal fuel tax per gallon of gasoline is 18.4 cents. To that you must also add the state fuel tax, which ranges from about 8 cents per gallon in Alaska to 49 cents per gallon in New York. The federal and state highway budgets are already struggling.
If you itemize your deductions on your federal tax return, consider increasing your charitable contributions. Again, you save your marginal tax rate, not your average tax rate, due to the type of tax structure we have -- and you will feel better.
If you are able to retire early and draw Social Security at age 62, do so. This not only draws on the fund, but it reduces your tax liability since your earned income is reduced. You really starve the beast with this step.
If there are toll roads in your area, do not use them unless the time savings are significant. Many state governments have substantially increased tolls because they think you are not sensitive to toll price increases (called elasticity of demand).
The next tool is to pay your taxes only when they are due. Paying taxes early feeds the very beast that's abusing you. This government needs your money in order to keep abusing you.
Martin Luther King has been heralded as a great leader. Change occurred because he, as a leader, was willing to take a stand for a principle he believed in.
Our government has so overstepped its responsibilities as enumerated in Article 1, Sections 7 and 8 of the U.S. Constitution that I can no longer recognize the government that I thought represented me.
This president and this Congress have done nothing more than enslave the very people whom they proclaim they are trying to protect with this massive public debt and overspending.
The greatest gift one can ever give to a people is the right of self-determination. Our out-of-control entitlement mentality has effectively enslaved future generations to pay for our decisions and for the government overreach of today.
These entitlements have also enslaved the people receiving them.
I can think of nothing more disingenuous than to make someone dependent. It is equally disingenuous for a president to do that to an entire nation.
It's simple. If you really believe in your principles, stop feeding this beast. Make your economic voice heard.
Reduce your income, cut back spending, and fund your taxes only when due. Do these three things in unison, and we will win. Vote with your wallet!
Col. Frank Ryan, CPA is a retired Marine reserve colonel who served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan. He specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at FRYAN1951@aol.com and Twitter @fryan1951.
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