The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



A new era of slavery

Mark Easley | Thursday, October 28, 2010

The other day, a friend of mine brought up the fact he wouldn’t mind paying 50 percent of what he made in taxes. Take a minute to think about that. That would mean that half of your working life would be as a virtual slave to the government. For the average person that would be 15-20 years of bondage where you worked long hours at your job without receiving your rightful pay. Sure, you get to choose where you work, but that is like trying to differentiate the slave that works in the house and the one that works in the field. Even a third of your income today going to the government makes you a part time slave. When you think about it in those terms, the fact that you will have to work twice as hard to get where you want to be by the time you retire is unbelievable. Well surely we are getting something for that money, and yes, we are — the greatest military in the world, a well established highway network and a mostly fair system of law to name a few — but we are increasingly getting stuff that a lot of us don’t need from the government.

The government should not be bailing out failed companies and buying uncompetitive automakers with taxpayer dollars. Real health care reform needs to be implemented, not costly insurance reform in disguise. There is no strategy in the decade-long global war on terrorism, not due to lack of ability by our military, but lack of leadership from a president who inherited the war and refuses to end it like he promised. Taxation is too complicated. It should be obvious to everyone how much they owe and the fact that is complicated is costing everyone tons of money and time. Social Security is virtually bankrupt and Americans are not getting their money’s worth. Our out of control spending policies of the last decade (by Republican and Democrat controlled congresses) have made spending our way out of the recession through government stimulus a very risky move.

All these factors plus many others are creating an unsustainable debt that will lead to only three scenarios. One: We come to our senses, make the tough cuts and reforms as a people, and balance our national budget in the next few years. Two: We collapse in the greatest depression in world history when we can’t pay off our debt and world financial markets freeze, probably leading to war and chaos. Three: We “own up” to our mistakes and enslave the middle and upper class of our country by taxing them to death and beyond until we pay off our incredible government spending.

The first scenario is difficult, but obviously the best option for everyone involved. Unfortunately, most people don’t see the inevitable doom we are heading toward. The poor and ignorant want their benefits and shout “screw the rich.” The politicians can’t fight the flow of Washington so they try to get as much of their state’s share of the pork as possible from the money printing machines that spew out more and more worthless paper every month. The unemployed desperately search for relief. And everyone else is disillusioned by a government that isn’t listening to the people.

The second scenario is highly possible given the interconnectedness of global markets. It only takes a small catalyst to expose the big cracks that still remain in our financial base. A European power that falls apart, a collapsed dollar, a WMD terrorist attack, an unstable Iran or N. Korea or a greedy China or Russia can put the world over the edge on any given day.

The third scenario is most probable given the vast size of the US and the diversity of our economy. We can keep saving ourselves from complete disaster but someone has to pay for our irresponsibility and instead of the politicians, it will be hard working Americans who employ people and generate wealth. Guess who is going to be among that group? Yes, pretty much every single student that reads this article (college educated leaders on large and small scales). There is already talk about the biggest tax hike in US history coming soon, so don’t think it can’t happen to us. “The Overseer,” known to us as the IRS, is already in place to keep you honest.

Slavery never works, because no matter how hard the slave works the results are the same. The slave remains enslaved and there are no rewards for doing better. Imagine this breaking of our collective will across the country and you will see why this likely future will kill our way of life from top to bottom.

Are you ready to be a slave? The day is coming when you won’t have a choice.


Mark Easley is a junior majoring in computer science. He can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.