by Rep. Mike Nearman
How hard will the fall be, is the question
According to the Declaration of Independence, the purpose of government is to secure rights like “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Over time, as the nation became more mature and affluent the concept of what is a right broadened into what we now know as the welfare state. As a nation, we’ve been through two phases of rights and it appears we’re about to enter a third – and possibly final – phase.
In the early days of the Republic, times were lean for the newly minted government. Income taxes were illegal back then, and Revolutionary War veterans showed up on the doorstep of the feeble country, demanding to be paid. The United States of America, unable to pay its bills, should have been sent to a collection agency.
This was a golden age of rights. The bill of rights was our birth certificate and it simply spelled out the basics: speech, assembly, worship, privacy. Responsibilities not expressly delegated to the federal government were reserved to the states, or to the people. Several decades later, we settled the glaring leftover rights issue raised by human slavery.
At the dawn of the 20th century, as the country became more affluent, we expanded the concept of rights and created the welfare state. Out of the depression came rights to entitlements – something the founders wouldn’t have thought of. During the last century we created rights to education, social security, welfare, food stamps and even taxpayer funded abortions.
Just as the government of rights gave way to the government of entitlements, now the government of entitlements is drawing to a close. Crumbling under the weight of trillion dollar deficits, the entitlement state is about to turn the corner. The future is almost here and this is what it looks like:
The left-leaning Oregon Outpost site, in a defense of the $15 minimum wage boldly asks, “Do you think that taxpayers have an obligation to pay for the food, shelter and health care for the employees of certain businesses in Oregon?” They describe the current situation whereby businesses don’t pay $15 dollar minimum wages as “shifting costs to taxpayers.” How dare Wal-Mart send the bill for their employees’ food, shelter and health care to you and me.
Welcome to the future. This is phase three.
Government no longer exists to protect your rights as it did in the 19th century. Nor does it exist to expand the definition of rights and offer you entitlements as it did in the 20th century. No, now government, too tired, bloated and in debt to provide assistance – having long since given up the idea of protecting individual freedoms – has become the enforcer of wealth transfer.
Soon, we’ll no longer have welfare as we knew it, where the state provided entitlements. Instead, bureaucrats will just direct those with resources to give them to others. Whether requiring businesses to provide health care benefits, or pay $15 an hour, or provide Section 8 housing, entitlement delivery will be done at the point of a gun.
As a landlord, State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) has begun to provide Section 8 housing, as required by law.