Commentary

On taxes, lawmakers should exercise restraint

on

It is a fallacy that individual clauses in the Constitution can be considered outside of the Constitution’s underlying thesis; our constitutionally-authorized government’s sole purpose is to protect the people from external and internal interference with the unalienable rights of the individual citizen.

As Thomas Jefferson said: “…a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.  This is the sum of good government…”

The purpose of government was clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence, “…to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving just powers from the consent of the governed.

If one listened to the tax-and-spend political class or the administrative behemoth that enforces their will, you’d be led to believe that there are no limits on how much government can tax us and no restrictions on what or how it spends our money. All government needs is a majority vote and it can raise taxes under the progressive imprimatur of equality, social justice or a “living” constitution.

Many progressive tax-and-spend activities violate government’s constitutionally-authorized purpose and authority. They also fail to take into account the impact these actions have on our economic freedom. Consider some of the following bills proposed in the Maine Legislature this session for context:

  • LD 65 – An Act To Allow Municipalities To Impose a Seasonal or Year-round Local Option Sales Tax: A regressive tax that hits the poor the hardest.  
  • LD 407 – An Act To Promote Universal Health Care, including Dental, Vision and Hearing Care: The VA on steroids. Besides constitutional concerns, government healthcare, as with all monopolies, sacrifices efficiency to political concerns. Costs go up and quality of service declines.
  • LD 1445 – An Act To Provide Debt-free Educational Opportunities for Maine Residents: Besides being an economic oxymoron, this is a gross violation of the property rights of non-college bound citizens, not to mention equal application of the law.
  • LD 1508 – An Act To Respect the Will of Maine Voters by Implementation of a 3 Percent Income Tax Surcharge: The sole purpose of this act is expropriate property from some Mainers and give it to others. It is prima facie evidence of why our written Constitution protects you from the tyranny of the majority.  
  • LD 1157 – An Act To Fix Maine’s Roads and Bridges by Establishing a Seasonal Gasoline Tax Adjustment: This is designed to take property from visitors. Apparently, tax-happy politicians haven’t learned from other states’ loss of revenue due to taxing people who have choices about where they spend their money. Cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face comes to mind. They also seem to have forgot that gasoline taxes hit working Mainers who still have to drive to work.

Question:  What is the purpose of all these taxes?  Answer: To transfer property from one individual to another in the name of equality to buy votes and win elections.

We who work and pay the taxes, constitutional and unconstitutional, need to rein in those who build their political empires on the backs of our hard work. We must return Maine to its free-market, written constitutional roots, not slip and slide down the road to socialist oblivion.

About John MacGregor

John "Jock" MacGregor is a student of history and politics, a pursuit he has enjoyed for most of his 79 years. Jock attended Villanova University’s School of Education; served in the U.S. Marine Corps; and is an entrepreneur with enterprises in restaurants, construction and boatbuilding. Mr. MacGregor was managing editor of an online news site in Hot Springs Arkansas. Currently, Jock comments on the role of government in society. Jock believes in a constitutionally limited government, instituted by the people, to protect their rights to life, liberty and property.

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