Tuesday, July 03, 2007

For This Fourth of July Remember the Roots of Our Revolution

Throughout human history, taxes have been one of the foremost ways that governments intrude on the rights of citizens. In fact, as we all learned in school, our democratic American Revolution began with a tax revolt. Our forefathers knew that if you bind up a man's economic life with taxes, tariffs, and regulations, you deprive him of some of his most basic civil rights. They have a wonderful phrase describing economic liberty in the Declaration of Independence. They call it "the pursuit of happiness." Well, with tax reform, we're going to make that pursuit a lot easier for all Americans." - President Ronald Reagan’s Radio Address to the Nation on Independence Day and the Centennial of the Statue of Liberty, July 5, 1986.

The American Revolution was predicated on some very radical ideas. The founders wanted a country in which the people ruled the government and not the government over the people. They wanted government to serve as a protector of individuals, but not as a provider of the public's desires. They saw government as an institution with limited scope and designed to protect private property and free enterprise. It would be nice if we had that type of government today.

The above quote by Ronald Reagan is one of my favorites and he is one of the last Presidents who ranked economic freedom as a civil liberty that needed to be protected. I'm sure others might have believed such, but he is one of the only ones who articulated such a view. In the above radio address given during the Independence Day holiday season of 1986, Reagan reminds us where the Revolutionary War found its roots -- it was a major tax revolt. Ronald Reagan made such revolts very popular again and he changed the way the nation debates tax policies.

Before Reagan, paying high taxes was considered patriotic and to propose such was fiscally responsible. Since Reagan, legally keeping every cent is patriotic because we now believe individuals can do better with their money than government and it is good for the treasury because tax cuts have a history of stimulating economic activity that results in higher revenues. This was the case for the Calvin Coolidge tax cuts of the 1920s, the John F. Kennedy cuts of the 1960s, the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s and the Bush cuts in recent years. Tax cuts increase employment, economic growth, and revenues.

It is time for us to remember the power of tax cuts in moving voters and the economy. I, for one, will require any candidate I consider to understand these important ideas before I hand him or her my vote. That is my way of keeping the spirit of the American Revolution alive on the fourth of July and the other 364 days of the year.

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