What John Adams Foretold Has Come True

John Adams, in 1787, said:

Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. ... but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, ... in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would ... sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. ... anarchy and tyranny commence.

The entire Adams passage is well worth the time it takes to read and understand it.  I want to examine (in no particular order) some of Adams's thoughts and see how he foretold, over 200 years ago, the situation in which we live today.

1. "[T]axes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others[.]"  Let's begin with an easy one -- taxation.  According to Dr. Walter E. Williams, "[r]oughly 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax."  Of the approximately 53 percent who do pay income tax, the following table illustrates Adams' point, that "taxes are laid heavy on the rich."


Percent Taxes Paid

Top 1%


Top 5%


Top 10%


Top 25%


Top 50%


Bottom 50%


Source: National Taxpayers Union

Remember, the above chart applies only to income tax payers, omitting those who don't pay income tax at all but still vote.  To try to justify this gross tax inequity, Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama introduced the concept of "fairness" -- that the rich should pay their fair share of taxes.  But (and there's always a "but" when Obama is involved) the "rich" pay much more than their fair share when it comes to income tax.  Those "non-rich" (let's say the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers) paid, in 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available), 2.25 percent of all income taxes paid.

2. "[B]ut the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees[.]"  Obama, in July 2012, said, "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that.  Somebody else made that happen."  Obama implied that business owners' success came from the government due to government-funded infrastructure and projects.  Obama continually takes all credit away from business owners and gives it to the government.

To further support Adams, look at what Obama did in 2012.  An article in Human Events lists ten things Obama has said about enterprise in an attempt to exploit class warfare.  Among them were demonizing businesses, attacking capitalism, and promoting the Occupy Wall Street movement.

3. "[I]n sharing it equally ..." Candidate Obama, in October 2008, said to Joe Wurzelbacher, "... I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."  Obama's plan, then and now, was/is to redistribute wealth (private property) according to his definitions.  His plan is to "take from those it deems rich, and give to those it deems poor."  Or, as Karl Marx said in 1875, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."  We all know how well Marx's idea worked/continue to work out.

Obama's latest effort to "spread the wealth around"?  He wants the government to define what is "reasonable" for retirement, and to tax all above that amount.  Americans currently have about $17.5 trillion in savings, about $4.4 trillion of it in IRAs.  Obama believes that income tax deductions for retirement savings are lost government revenues.  His 2013 budget estimated that retirement tax deductions taken will be, in the next five years, $429 billion in "lost" tax revenue.  There is not another pool of wealth able to finance the annual deficit that Obama insists on running

What's next?  Confiscation!  "The Obama administration is reportedly moving on plans to nationalize private 401k and IRA retirement accounts, and replace them with government sponsored annuities (aka Treasury bonds that the Treasury currently can't sell to anyone but the Fed)."  Obama has begun a plan to nationalize (aka confiscate) private pensions and to eliminate private retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401k plans.

Think it can't happen here?  Think again!  In a recent hearing sponsored by the Treasury and Labor Departments, Rebecca Davis, a representative of the very liberal Pension Rights Center, said that "... the government needs to get involved because 401k plans and IRAs are unfair to poor people. She demanded the Obama administration set up a 'government-sponsored program administered by the PBGC [the government's Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation].' She proclaimed that even 'private annuities are problematic.'"  There's that "unfair" argument again.

And there's precedent for confiscation.  Poland, in an attempt to delay an impending government debt crisis, "confiscated half of their nation's private pension funds without compensation" and shifted them into ZUS, Poland's state pension vehicle.  As Louis Scatigna says, "[b]y shifting some assets from the private funds into ZUS, the government can book those assets on the state balance sheet to offset public debt, giving it more scope to borrow and spend."  Sound familiar?

In an interview broadcast Sunday, September 15, 2013, Obama, referring to his powers to fight income inequality, said, "I think the president can stop it."  He then went on to blame Republicans for blocking his efforts to spread the wealth around, saying, "There's no serious economist out there that would suggest that if you took the Republican agenda ... that that would reverse some of these trends of inequality."  Obama made his remarks in response to a report that says that more than 20 percent of income went to the top 1 percent of income earners.  But not one word could I find where he addressed work or capital risk inequality.

4. "Debts would be abolished first[.]"  Obama has proposed that billions of dollars in student loans be forgiven over the next ten years.  On August 23, 2013, in Scranton, PA, Obama said, "Just because someone borrowed a bunch of money doesn't mean they have to pay it back."  He actually said that!  All $900 billion in federal student loans will be "forgiven" on November 1, 2013, according to Obama's plan.  Student loan debt is provided by the federal government, and the revenue loss will add significantly to the deficit.

In an article entitled "Want Economic Growth? Forgive and Restructure Debt for American Working Families," Steve Clemmons says, "It's private debt that matters most" when it comes to predicting economic crises.  Clemmons concludes the article with "... finding a way to restructure and write down [aka forgive] debt held by financiers and banks is the fastest and most effective way to bolster healthy economic growth."  So, in the name of economic growth, debt should be forgiven, but nowhere in his article could I find Clemmons's discussion of the consequences of debt forgiveness.  Predicting an economic crisis is one thing; the results from avoidance is another.

5. "... equal division of every thing be demanded ..."  Does the term 'socialist' apply to Obama?  To answer that question, we turn to Kyle Smith's New York Post article, which says "... Obama finally let slip that he is a socialist."  Smith cites a New York Times article that says Obama wants to "Go Bulworth."  "Obama himself, the Times explained, has been 'longingly' telling his inner circle that what he'd really like to do is what Sen. Jay Bulworth, played [ironically] by Warren Beatty in his 1998 movie 'Bulworth,' did: to go public as an unabashed, angry and admitted socialist."  As Smith says, "[i]n confessing his dreams of 'going Bulworth,' Obama confirmed that what he thinks and what he says out loud are two different things."

It's true that John Adams, our second president, was a great thinker.  All we have to do is examine what he said and wrote.  It's too bad that today's public education is so dumbed down that most graduates can't even read, much less understand, what he left us.  And it's too bad that Adams's thoughts are not spread by the MSM so that those who cannot read can at least hear what he said.

History will again repeat itself.  We private property owners have become targets.

Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University.  He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making.  He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired.  Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.