It has often been said that “If you’re young and a Republican you have no heart. If you’re old and a Democrat you have no brain.” I have always maintained that the concept of having a heart should have nothing to do with government. My friend Rick and I would piss off numerous people who tried to justify increased government spending by tugging at our heartstrings.
For the record, I feel horrible about the families who lost loved ones in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. I bleed for the loved ones of our military heroes who were injured or died in Iraq and Afghanistan. I ache for the friends and relatives of police officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty. But do I think it’s the job of the government to hand over taxpayer dollars to the survivors? Hell no!
And no, I’m not being heartless. I would and do gladly give to charities that help and support the families and loved ones of our heroes. And so do millions of other Americans. It is not the job of Congress to dole out taxpayer money to the survivors.
Superman reads a lot. He’s probably one of very few people in my life who reads more than I do and is incredibly knowledgeable about history, politics, law, and current events. He also believes as I do on the subject of sympathy and government spending. And he sent me this today. It’s a speech Davy Crockett made on the very same topic I’m discussing right now.
“Mr. Speaker — I have as much respect for the memory of the
deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as
any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for
a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I
will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money
as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it.
We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in
charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the
public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt
due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was
in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in
arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a
stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due
ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have
its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe
the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount.
Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please.
I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one
week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount
to more than the bill asks.”
Sympathy should never be the basis of the government passing any type of legislation, especially legislation that redistributes taxpayer money to those for whom we’re supposed to feel sympathy. It’s not the government’s job to perform acts of charity. Need should never be the basis of wealth redistribution. And yet, that is exactly what we’re seeing day after day as Congress passes more laws to give away money that belongs to taxpayers to those ostensibly in need.
Americans are some of the most generous people in the world. We come together to help our own. We give away billions of our own dollars to help those in need – VOLUNTARILY. And yet, we’re condemned as “selfish” when we protest the use of our tax dollars to “help” those for whom legislators feel sympathy. As Shakespeare once wrote, “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.” So it is today. We, as Americans, are naturally merciful and sympathetic. We help because it’s the right thing to do, and when Congress appropriates our earnings for those who have earned the legislators’ sympathies, they’re telling the rest of us that we’re not generous enough and not merciful enough to give as an act of charity. They’re telling us that they know better than we do who deserves our sympathies.
Government coercion and increased taxation have always been the killer of charity. What right do elected leeches, whose only goal is to amass power over others, have to tell the most generous, altruistic people in the world that they know better than we do who deserves our sympathy and generosity?