If you destroy a free market, you create a black market.
– Winston Churchill
I'm in the process of putting together a book on making money - part of my whole, "Multiple streams of income" philosophy. In the introduction of the book, I discuss the concept of real money, how it gives you flexibility to buy what you want, how it's a compact store of wealth, etc. Money is a good thing. It only becomes that evil root when you earn money simply for the sake of earning money.
I segue into non-traditional economies - the main focus of the book - and rhetorically ask the question, "If money is so great, why would I want to take a step backwards to barter, trade and the like?" The answer is taxation and regulation.
Now, you need government permission (and are required to pay fees for the privilege of obtaining that permission) to start a business, to buy or sell goods and services, to add a room to your home, to talk on the phone, to heat your home, to watch cable TV, to use the Internet, to own a dog, to drive a car, to catch a fish, to have a lemonade stand, to get married, to smoke a cigarette, to cross a toll bridge, to hunt a deer, to make alcohol, to have a garage sale, to float your boat. It never ends.
All of these things reduce the value of your labors. Look at your pay check, and see how much, "comes off the top" - 10% to 30%. Look at your sales receipt when you buy something, and see how much more you are required to pay for the privileged of buying that product - 6% to 10%.
Some taxes are hidden. The next time you buy gasoline, look at the pump, and it will tell you how much tax is added to each and every gallon of gas you put in your car. Look at your cell phone bill, utility bill, water bill, garbage bill, mortgage payment - almost any bill. Taxes and government fees abound.
Economists estimate that in 2013, the average American will pay 59.7% of their income to some sort of government tax, fee or fine. That means you are working 7 months out of every year to pay for government.
If you earn $20 per hour, government gets $11.94 and you get $8.06. Nice, huh?
Once again, he did not disappoint.
It seems that in 1793, as a result of a slave revolt in Haiti, shiploads of French citizens looking for sanctuary - and money - were dumped on our shores by the French navy.
During the Third Congress in 1794, the US treasury was being asked to appropriate money for these folks, and Madison was having none of it -
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.Love it. But I wanted some context. The statist bastards nowadays will take a Madison quote out of context, and use it to support their point of view. I want none of that. I want to know what was going on at the time - what was the debate? I found something called, "The Annals of Congress". "The Annals were not published contemporaneously, but were compiled between 1834 and 1856, using the best records available, primarily newspaper accounts." of each of the first 18 sessions of Congress.
Mr. Madison wished to relieve the sufferers, but was afraid of establishing a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter be perverted to the countenance of purposes very different from those of charity. He acknowledged, for his own part, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right of Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. And if they broke the line laid down before them, for the direction of their conduct, it was impossible to say what lengths they might go, or to what extremities this practice might be carried.Wow. Checking in with the Constitution to determine if a proposal was, uhm, constitutional, regardless of how good it feels. What a concept. Then asking, in essence, "If we start down this road, will it ever end?"
I guess we all know the answer to that question. I wonder how the folks living under King George's rule would have reacted to nearly 60% of their labor being taken by government.
I don't need to wonder at all.
As with any taxing or economic-control scheme, there is a threshold of pain the taxpayers will endure. People will pay for roads, and local police, and the military, and the court system.
Many are FINALLY questioning their continued mandatory financial support for militarized police departments, secret security courts, "legal" checkpoints, "authorized" eavesdropping, "policy compliant" body cavity searches, "economic justice" cash transfers, and monarchy-like Executive Orders.
These all sound a lot like mid-1700's America - with a 21st century paint job.
People - slowly - have begun to withdraw their support and consent. They simply won't play the "Pay Up" game any more. They're actively looking for ways to bypass the standard economy. They'll hire a guy from the Home Depot parking lot to clean their yard instead of hiring a government-approved contractor that's got to charge double the amount to pay for his government approval. For skilled trades, they'll speak to their friends to get a referral for a plumber, auto repairman, electrician, small engine mechanic, house painter, roofer or sheet-rocker that does jobs, "on the side".
Instead of hiring, "a friend of a friend" sporadically, it's their first option.
They'll do for themselves. They'll build their own guns in garage workshops instead of going through the onerous and intrusive state and federal gauntlet required to own a gun. They'll brew their own hooch on the back porch instead of paying inflated prices due to unseen alcohol tax stamps and labeling requirements.
They'll grow their own vegetables and raise their own chickens instead of buying "fresh" food affixed with government stamps of approval. They'll reload their own ammo instead of becoming a victim of government ammunition dictates which can leave their ammo store shelves bare. They'll preserve their surplus food for later consumption instead of buying government approved food that contains "acceptable levels" of bug and rodent parts.
Every time they do this, they know that, in addition to saving themselves some money, they are simultaneously starving the beast of government. If the government has less food to stamp, fewer guns to approve and less liquor to regulate, they'll have to increase the tax on all of those things. Government won't shrink, it will simply increase its cost.
This action will incent more folks to join the non-traditional economy. It always goes this way. Taxation and regulation reduce consumption... but not demand.
They, too, may join the ranks of the Skilled Tradesmen offering their goods and services, "under the table". Perhaps when they build that gun, brew that hooch, or raise and preserve that food, they'll make a little bit extra - and realize the full rewards of their efforts from selling their goods and services.
Once they get this taste of economic freedom, they'll get very resentful. Resentful for how long they've accepted what was dished out.
My personal epiphany came in 2008. A group of us flew to Las Vegas for my oldest son's 21st birthday. On our way home from Vegas, I had a vantage point in the airport that looked down at the neat lines of the nice, compliant, oh-so-sheepish people obediently consenting to the waiver of their fourth amendment rights. It looked like a dairy with all of the compliant cows queuing up to have their teats pulled.
And I saw I was one of them. Well, No mas, baby. No mas. I haven't flown since.
I've revoked my consent. Unless it's literally a life-or-death situation, I will not fly. I will not take a bus or train for the same reason, as the TSA is now managing the security for those modes of transportation as well.
My consent revocation - in the big picture of things - isn't diddly squat. I'm just one guy. But I now first look for goods or services "under the table". My norm has become using barter and trade. I literally "shop" at garage sales, bazaars and Craigslist every single week.
Now, if we all did this - or at least more of us - things might change. Us "makers" would continue to prosper, but the "takers" would flounder. There would still be enough tax flow to pay for legitimate government, but much would need to be pared back. Obviously, voting for this change to happen won't do a damned thing. Only our direct, individual action can have any impact.
The choice is yours. You've still got time, but the clock's tickin'....
Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com