Know what you believe, and WHY you believe it.
Growing Up Politically Neutral
I had an a-political upbringing. There were no politically active people in my family. No one espoused any political views of any kind whatsoever. Worldview was not a known concept among the members of my clan, though the lifestyles of most of them were quite liberal, fiscally and socially. The nuclear family was all but nonexistent. Welfare dependence, teen pregnancy, single motherhood, drug and alcohol abuse were all commonplace in my family. Only my great-grandfather was involved in politics. He was a Mason, a member of a United Methodist Church (theologically moderate back then), and once ran for Tax Assessor in Clark County, Indiana. He was defeated because Republicans didn’t get elected in his county back then. The closest thing to a political statement I ever heard him make was that Walter Cronkite was a communist. Grandpa Jackson was an anachronism. It was the 1970s.
My First Look at Capitalism
My first political views began to form when I became a businessman in the mid-1980s. I had worked various small jobs as a high school and college student (paint store clerk, car wash attendant, fast-food cook, waiter, printing press operator, oil rig roustabout), but once I started a business, I saw the differences in attitudes between the people who work for other people and the people who employ them. I learned that there was a natural distrust that developed between the two groups. Employers expected their employees’ best, and were willing to reward them, but their employees delivered their least, doing just enough to get by. Not to overgeneralize, there were certainly the stand outs who worked hard and sought their employer’s best because it was the make-up of their character, but then, those usually made their way into management because they shared the employer’s values. But, for most employees, the day ended at 5:00pm sharp. It seemed to me that employees (labor) were content to exist, resist, and subsist rather than lead, exceed, and succeed. Capitalism, I reckoned, was the best system for producing the best and broadest economic benefit, because it rewarded those who worked the hardest and showed the most industry. Capitalism frowned on those who saw themselves as victims and expected others to make up for their shortcomings.
A Christian Worldview
From these early beginnings, I developed fiscally conservative economic and political views. Then, in 1991, I became a born-again Christian. At this point in my life, I became alive politically. I suddenly saw moral decisions through a biblical lens. The social issues that were once blurry and transient became clear and concrete. The overriding principles which seemed to drive my economic and political views were personal responsibility, diligence, freedom to pursue economic gain, defense of the defenseless, biblical truth, and the rule of law. Homosexuality, abortion, single parenthood, abuse of women and children, prostitution, pornography, criminal leniency, gun control, substance abuse, earth worship, voluntary poverty, high taxes, and dependence on government were all things which, in one manner or other, liberalism condoned, defended, or promoted. Thus, I became a conservative.
I am a life member of both the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the National Rifle Association (NRA). I have served as precinct chairman, delegate to the district convention, and delegate to the state convention of the Republican Party. But, I am reconsidering my membership in the Republican Party. Since George Bush, Jr. took up residence in the White House, I have seen the Republicans move to the political center and abandon some of their conservative roots. The Tea Party may be a more comfortable and natural place for me now. In the meantime, this video is a winner: (click here) If you liked that one, here’s another: (click here)
If I Was King for a Day
The following would require acts of Congress, ratification by the states, a ground swell of support by the evangelical Christian community, and political leaders whose concern is for the people and the nation, rather than their own political fortunes. To build my utopia, I would take the following measures:
On The Economy
A Balanced Budget Amendment – The Congress should be required by an amendment to the Constitution to submit to the President a balanced budget each year. This means that the Congress, who alone has the authority to spend money, could not submit a budget to the President wherein spending exceeds the expected federal tax revenue for the year. Over time, this would eliminate the national debt, which is rapidly approaching $20 Trillion. The only exception to a balanced budget would be during wartime, when the Congress could spend funds in excess of the expected tax revenue for the year, but excess spending would be limited to the Department of Defense.
A Line Item Veto – The president should have the right to strike from any budget submitted by the Congress any spending item the President deems is not in our national interests. This would eliminate pork barrel spending on items that only serve a few, and it would would strip politicians of their power to win votes at the expense of the people through unnecessary spending.
A National Sales Tax – The federal tax burden should be shifted from income to spending. Great Britain and most of Europe have national sales taxes, known as Value Added Tax (VAT), or Ad Valorem tax. The problem is, these countries have national sales taxes in addition to income taxes. A U.S. national sales tax would eliminate the federal income tax. The states would be responsible for collection of the national sales tax, since they are already collecting state sales taxes. The federal government would reimburse the states for their expenses related to their tax collection efforts. The states already administer federal Health and Human Services programs like (). Tax evasion would become non-existent under a national sales tax because hiding income, filing fraudulent tax returns, and failing to file tax returns would become moot. Moreover, a national sales tax would bring into the treasury tax dollars it does not currently receive from the proceeds of crime. Groceries, medicines, utilities, and other items necessary to protect the poor could be excluded from taxation. Under a national sales tax system, the Internal Revenue Service would be abolished and replaced with a vastly smaller agency to interface between the states and the federal treasury.
Balance the Social Security Budget – Two measure should be implemented: means testing and an increase in the normal retirement age. Currently, millionaires receive Social Security benefits.