The Fruits of Labor

Some time ago I went to a local mall to buy a phone. After making a purchase at one of the large electronics retailers, I went to the mall restroom and inadvertently left it behind. Ten minutes later I realized I no longer had the phone, so I rushed back, only to find it gone. I checked in with the customer service counter at the mall to see if a good Samaritan had turned it in. Unfortunately, no one had done so, and I left my number in case anyone should turn it in.  Needless to say, no call was forthcoming, and I never saw the phone again.

When some person discovered the phone, did he think it was newfound treasure? Did he not think that it belonged to someone who forgot it, rather than something that could be considered self-enrichment, that could be treated as a gift? That phone cost me about five hours of productive labor. Of course, this notion never entered the mind of the individual making off with it. Notice I use the term "my phone" since it certainly wasn't the appropriator's, and this whole incident must be put in the proper context as nothing better than theft.

Why do I bring this up today? What relevance does this small incident have to do with anything? Just this: we now have a government that considers it public policy to take from those who are productive and give to those who they believe are less productive (or unproductive). Although this is nothing new with respect to politics, it is more blatant now than at any other time in our history. The House of Representatives has recently passed two very controversial pieces of legislation that will dramatically affect wealth redistribution in our nation. We have a president who believes that income redistribution should be the norm in our culture and that this redistribution will make for a more equitable society. A person's productive efforts mean little or nothing to those in high office. They don't question the work that performed that enables them to make this transfer. Apparently, economic justice reigns supreme over the productive efforts of a citizen to provide for himself and his family. When asked under what authority the Congress could pass such legislation, the Speaker of the House could respond with only "Are you serious?" Yes, Madame Speaker, I am serious -- very serious. What kind of government will confiscate someone's property and give it to another under the guise of economic justice?

Those on the left will say that I'm without "compassion" for those less fortunate, that it is my duty to help provide for those who have less. This makes sense only until we recognize that there is no end to the confiscation that can be perpetrated on one's private property with this argument. The Constitution grants very specific, enumerated powers to the federal government. To increase those powers, it would be necessary to get the consent of the governed through an amendment process. The Legislature today circumvents these powers with impunity. Evidently, the idea that private property is no longer sacrosanct appeals to many on the far left. Understand that when government is through looting corporations and large and small businesses, then the common citizen will be next. The people who wrote our Constitution understood this. That's why they placed limits on government power; in effect, these were limits on the government's appetite to confiscate property. They knew that without limitations, government would consume beyond its means, effectively destroying the people's natural right to liberty.

This brings us to recent health care and cap-and-trade initiatives. Make no mistake: these legislative acts are nothing but redistributive programs designed to hamper the sovereignty of the electorate in a free market system and enhance the power of the state. Eventually, not just we, but also our posterity will pay dearly for this runaway government. Let's not dwell too long on our future prospects, but instead enjoy while we can the fruits of other people's labor. 

Pete Morin writes the satirical blog at the Pete Morin News Service.