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EDITORIAL: Happy Dependence Day
Who needs Ben Franklin when we have John Roberts?
Forget about those fireworks (too dangerous) and their ostentatious display of anachronistic values. Forget also about mom (sexist gender-role stereotype) and apple pie (too fattening). Wednesday has become Dependence Day, a time to reflect on all the good that the federal government does for us.
Thursday's Supreme Court decision set us free from the tired notion that individuals should be forced to make difficult decisions about what's best for themselves. How much better we all are that we have unelected agency heads in Washington who can plan for the collective good.
Such plans now encompass everything that touches on a person's health and well-being, as President Obama explained while enumerating the blessings of his reinvigorated Obamacare law. "Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent's health care plans," he said. "Because of the Affordable Care Act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs - a discount that's already saved more than 5 million seniors on Medicare about $600 each."
That's just a sampling of the upcoming goodies that we have been promised on top of already generous entitlements. According to the Census Bureau, there are 17,777,797 Americans whose paychecks come from either a local, state or federal government entity. Another 13.9 million who don't work also receive government checks in the form of unemployment benefits. Some 61.5 million retirees receive an average of $1,126 per month from Social Security. Forty-six million are on food stamps and related programs at a collective cost of $105 billion.
Taken together, the Tax Foundation estimates 58 million Americans filed tax returns but paid no income tax, receiving a total of $105 billion in refundable credits. This shows the number of households dependent on the generosity of politicians is nearly equal to the number who rely on their own hard work.
This isn't the state of affairs the Founding Fathers imagined as they sketched out their blueprint for a national government. In an April 1768 letter to The Gentleman's Magazine, Ben Franklin explained his principles by writing, "I fear the giving mankind a dependence on any thing for support, in age or sickness, besides industry and frugality during youth and health, tends to flatter our natural indolence, to encourage idleness and prodigality, and thereby to promote and increase poverty, the very evil it was intended to cure; thus multiplying beggars instead of diminishing them."
Thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts, we can finally bury Franklin's quaint notions of self-reliance. We have a government that can take care of our every need and want, from cradle to grave, in sickness and in health. That is a transformation in our nation's character worthy of reflection as we celebrate America's 236th birthday.
The Washington Times
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