There are many reasons why I will not vote for Bernie Sanders. The most important being his talk of income inequality and wealth inequality. Now, his talk of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would be disastrous to the economy. Prices would skyrocket everywhere to meet those wages and not to mention that there are some jobs that do not warrant that kind of pay. The amount of pay should be equal to the kind of work being performed-flipping burgers? Probably not worth $15 an hour. Fixing a piece of machinery in a factory? That would be worth $15 an hour because it requires a certain kind of skill and knowledge. But I want to focus more on the wealth inequality talk from Bernie Sanders. This may sound good-try and make everyone wealthy. But it is not what this country is founded upon. How would Bernie Sanders try to close the gap between the wealthy and the poor? Most likely using the Robin Hood method-simply put: take from the rich and give to the poor. I’m not rich by any means, I have enough to make ends meet and then some. However, I am not jealous of the rich at all! In fact, seeing them where they are and how they got there drives me to find ways where I can get that kind of money myself-without taking it from others who have rightfully earned it. This is one of many principles that the Founding Fathers used to form our nation. The principle is this:
Life and Liberty are Secure Only so Long as the Right to Property is Secure.
What the earth produces and the land were considered a gift of God which were to be cultivated, beautified, and brought under dominion. Like it’s written in the book of Psalms:
“even the heavens are the Lord’s: but the earth he has given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16)
Even John Locke has written on this:
“God, who hath given the world the world to men in common, hath also given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience.” (Second Essay Concerning Civil Government)
Locke goes on to say that God has given man a command to subdue and have dominion over the earth. Dominion implies control and control always means exclusiveness. Therefore, Locke came to the conclusion that that private rights in property became an inescapable need or a required part of bringing the earth into submission and dominion.
According to the book The 5000 Year Leap, 4 things would happen if property rights didn’t exist. They are:
1. Without property rights, a man by his own labor could build a home and farm on a piece of land and a jealous neighbor could move right in and take it from him. This experience would certainly destroy any further ideas of a normally industrious person to have property and improve it.
2. The laborer would be without the fruits of his labor
3. Bands of people, let’s call them gangs, and would go through the country and taking people’s property by force and violence.
4. Mankind would be forced to live on a subsistence level (aka hand to mouth) way of living because anything they do accumulate would be an invitation to attack.
Abraham Lincoln said:
“Property is the fruit of labor. Property is desirable, is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently to build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence… I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good.”
So, this invites the question of whether the government should take from the “haves” and give it to the “have-nots?”
According to all the Founders of our nation, this is the worst kind of sign and action a government can take-which is the exercise of the taxing powers of the government to take a person’s property and give it to another. James Madison writes:
“Government is instituted to protect property of every sort… This being the end of government, that alone is not a JUST government… nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.”
And in fact, before 1936, it was even unconstitutional to perform an act of expropriation of property to transfer to other citizens. Why? Because it was considered to be outside the constitutional power that was delegated to the government. After 1936, during the FDR Administration, did SCOTUS distort the “general welfare” clause of the Constitution (don’t get me started on how FDR fixed the U.S. Supreme Court so his New Deal could go through). Before 1936, the Supreme Court had ruled:
“No man would become a member of a community in which he could not enjoy the fruits of his honest labor and industry. The preservation of property, then, is a primary object of the social compact… The legislature, therefore, had no authority to make an act divesting one citizen of his freehold, and vesting it in another, without a just compensation. It is inconsistent with the principles of reason, justice, and moral rectitude; it is incompatible with the comfort, peace, and happiness of mankind; it is contrary to the principles of social alliance in every free government; and lastly, IT IS CONTRARY TO THE LETTER AND SPIRIT OF THE CONSTITUTION.” (Emphasis added)
Most of you will ask, then, how does the government take care of the poor? The answer is this: The government shouldn’t. That is not the place of government. In the past, help was given exclusively by the private sector, the community, or in some cases-the state level. Our 22nd and 24th president, Grover Cleveland, vetoed any kind of legislation that was designed to use federal taxes for private welfare problems. His reasoning follows:
I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.”
While I agree with President Cleveland’s sentiments here, I also recognize the fact that in today’s world-those who are better off are not giving as much as they can to those who are not better off. My theory is this-if the federal government should not and cannot perform an act of wealth redistribution (which Bernie Sanders is ultimately wanting to do) then perhaps it can encourage its wealthy citizens to be charitable. In our current tax code, everyone is taxed and some of the taxes go to federal and state welfare programs-this is a mistake. People accuse the rich of not giving enough to help the poor, but I believe the current mindset of the rich is, even if they won’t come right out and say it, that they are already taxed for welfare programs by the government. So, my proposal is this-do away with some welfare programs and then change the tax code to encourage the rich to give to private charitable organizations. Imagine how much more helpful and efficient Habitat for Humanity could be if all of sudden they got a larger influx of money and supplies than what the government could offer. In terms of this, the government can only spend so much on one thing when they are making a budget. This was the premise that the Founding Fathers had discovered in the Bible-that while there was private ownership of land, provisions were made in the Jewish community to make sure that those who were poor and in times of hardship had food to eat and a place to live. The poor was supposed to be taken care of by the rich and better off. This was intended to create a more harmonious society that strengthened the bonds between men. I know this sounds idealistic, but in the course of our nation growing, we lost track of this-and it actually was working when it was first implemented.
Now I will address Bernie Sanders’ socialist tendencies. Socialism is defined by Merriam-Webster in the following
1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2. a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property.
b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.
These 3 definitions have one thing in common-no private property and everything is controlled by the government. Socialism-regardless of how you try to spin it (Democratic socialism, Marxism, communism) they all point back to socialism-which was already around at the time of the Founding Fathers. And this is why the Founding Fathers rejected it as a valid form of government. When you give everything to the government to control, you are, in essence, giving them the control over your life and what you do. You can’t say you have a right to anything because the government can say that they determine what your rights are based upon if it is good for the whole. This is what the Founding Fathers had fought against in the American Revolution-government socialism is simply a fancy way of saying tyranny. Socialism, while the idea promotes a good attitude of taking care of the whole community, is actually a bad one in practice. The Founding Fathers believed in equal rights, not equal things.
The Founding Fathers had only one kind of government in mind when they formed our country. Was it a democracy? No. A democracy requires the full participation of people in every matter in running the country. This is good when it is in a localized area, such as a small town. That’s why there are town hall meetings that are open to the public so the public can make their voices heard. That is a form of democracy. The attitudes that the Founding Fathers had towards a pure democracy were as follows:
– A government of the masses
– Authority derived through mas meetings or any other form of “direct” expression
– Results in mobocracy
– Attitude toward property is communistic-negating property rights
– Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or government by passion, prejudice, and impulse without restraint or regard to consequences.
– Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, and anarchy.
Furthermore, James Madison had this to say about pure democracies:
“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” (Federalist Papers, No 10)
The Founding Fathers found that a republic form of government was a much better way to govern. What follows is the framework of a republic:
– Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.
– Attitude toward property is respect for laws and individual rights, and a sensible economic procedure.
– Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard for consequences.
– A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass
– Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy
– Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.
To put an end to any kind thought of turning the United States into a socialist state (democratic or otherwise), I bring to you this excerpt from the book “The 5000 Year Leap” which says:
“socialism, whether spelled with a capital or small “s,” ht its luster. All over the world, socialist nations—both democratic and communistic—were drifting into deep trouble. All of them were verging on economic collapse in spite of tens of billions of dollars provided by the United States to prop them up. Some had acquired a notorious and abhorrent reputation because of the violence, torture, starvation, and concentration-camp tactics they had used against their own civilian population. All over the world, socialism had begun to emerge as an abject failure formula. To the extent it was tried in America (without ever being called “socialism”), it had created colossal problems which the Founding Fathers’ formula would have avoided.”
–Skousen, W. Cleon. The 5000 Year Leap: The 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2007. Print.