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Lincoln Institute


Civil Liberties Eroded

by Frank Ryan
 

The health care bill, the financial services industry restructuring, the Patriot Act and a host of other bills, rules, regulations, and controls are all serving to quickly erode the very liberties upon which our Nation was founded.

Our Nation was founded upon the principles that we were endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights to include the rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The current climate in Washington is trampling on those rights as our individual freedoms are quickly and systematically eroded.

A government that feels you are not capable of making sound, rational choices and decisions is supplanting your wisdom and self-determination with those of the collective good in their minds. The concept of taking personal responsibility has been lost.

For example, the health care bill requires the purchase of health insurance.

Young people struggling to make ends meet who decide to live a prudent life style and avoid excesses of alcohol, food, drugs and the like, will now be required to purchase something that they may not need or do not want.

Older Americans who are able to self insure, are no longer able to do that or risk a fine from the government.

While some may indicate that the freedoms sacrificed are for the common good, you can only wonder where it stops. I, for one, am extremely concerned that it has gone too far.

It is only a matter of time before government will begin to tell you that since "they" are insuring you, that they have a right to tell you what to eat, how to live, what tests you must take, and the list goes on. It sounds far-fetched but consider the most recent legislation that is being considered to reduce salt, trans-fats, soda consumption, and other "bad food" items.

The presumption that the science upon which these mandates are premised is sound is equally problematic. I recall being directed to take salt tablets when I was a young Marine. Now apparently, salt is frowned upon. Which one is correct? How about letting me decide!

Consider the proposed financial services industry regulations which allow the President and Secretary of the Treasury wide latitude to take over a bank that is too big to fail. Who makes that determination? Does government know better?

The mere fear of government takeover of banks will destroy capital formation. The "feel good" solutions proposed when the unintended consequences of government intervention are finally felt will not feel so good.

Investors will flee U. S. markets with takeover provisions enacted.

If you think your decisions are not being made for you already, consider the following mandates which affect each and every working American and how these mandates have eroded your freedoms.

• Social Security taxes at over 7% of your pay. You were told you could not be trusted to save for your own future so government created social security to protect you. Oh, by the way, the system is now bankrupt.
• Health insurance mandates.
• Property taxes which limit your ability to afford where you live merely at the stroke of a legislator's pen.
• Income taxes — the more you earn, you not only pay more but pay a larger percentage which helps keep you dependent upon government.
• Taxes on phone bills, electric bills, gas bills, sales taxes, gasoline taxes and the list goes on.

As each item of tax is added, your disposable income drops which limits your individual freedoms. Taxes, like death are unavoidable but it has gone too far! When government is over 1/3 of an economy the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are jeopardized.

To stop this insanity, we need to begin to take personal responsibility.

Taking personal responsibility brings freedom and starts the process of getting government out of your life. It is so liberating to realize that you can influence your own life without having your government intervene on your behalf.

Taking personal responsibility is about leadership and self-discipline. It is about choices. It is about consequences and accepting the consequences of your actions. If there is no personal responsibility the breakdown in the way we deal with one another will also break down.

Most importantly, you can begin the process of taking responsibility by looking inwardly for solutions to your problems and not seek governmental intervention as the get better fast solution.

Trust me, I do not need Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid to tell me how to live!

Frank Ryan, CPA specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the national and state CPA societies. He is on the boards of numerous profit and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at FRYAN1951@aol.com


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