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A “Government Shutdown” May Be a Good Thing

Harold Pease, Ph. D

Democrats won’t fund a border wall and threaten a “government shutdown” if included in the budget under consideration. Without President Donald Trump removing for now the wall from consideration, a shutdown would be likely. President Trump largely won on the popularity of the wall but promised to make Mexico pay for it with a better trade balance, so he cannot back down long term without the loss of credibility with core supporters. But a government shutdown is never as bad as portrayed and, in fact, may be a good thing.

The fear generated by media when Republicans threaten a “government shutdown” is many times worse than when Democrats do so; compare three years ago with today. The hysteria peddlers using this terminology, and the media that purposely play to it, must know these two words emit an extreme emotional response. Moreover, the phrase essentially becomes a weapon to be used on other potential government “shutdowners.” It appears designed to frighten the least informed against the other political party, thus the terminology. This enables the media to have undue influence in spending and undermines the sole power of the House on this issue.

A budget always involves the House of Representatives, as it alone constitutionally must initiate all government spending. “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives” (Article I, Sec. 7, Clause 1). This places the people in charge of taxation. The Senate cannot initiate a tax bill but can adjust any initiated by the House.

So what does a “government shutdown” look like? Do the president and vice president resign now that the government ends? No, they stay on the job and receive full pay as before. Does Congress fly out of Washington D. C. the following day and cease to draw their pay, and the Supreme Court cease to deliberate on constitutional questions? Does the army come home and cease to protect us? No! No, NO! Do states, counties, and cities no longer function? No again, they have their own tax base and policemen, prisons, and teachers remain in place. Will we still get mail? Yes. The U.S. Postal Service functions as an independent business unit. Will we still get Social Security benefits, food stamps, unemployment compensation and veterans’ benefits? Yes!

Why then the hysteria? Because these two words, “government shutdown,” and the possibility of missed food stamps send the largely uninformed into a frenzy—they finally awake from their stupor. They largely know nothing of the wrangling of government to protect them from themselves and oppose any proposed government diet that might reduce their daily feed. They worshipfully listen to the party and political leaders that are least likely to disturb this base.

There will never be a government shut down because none of these things will ever happen, short of an overthrow of the government from within, the collapse of our financial structure (which is becoming ever more likely due to our obsession to live beyond our means), or a successful invasion from without. So cease the media frenzy and subsequent over-reaction.

How do we know this? Because we have had 18 “government shutdowns” since 1977 according to the Congressional Research Service, the Reagan Administration having 8 of them alone. Because in 1979 the government was shut down for 10 days while Congress argued over a proposed salary increase for the legislative branch. Because we had a five-day shutdown between November 14 and November 19, 1995, and a second one of 21 days, between December 16, and January 6, 1996, and none of the bad things mentioned above happened. No! Not even one. In fact, the public as a whole didn’t even notice it.

Then what did happen? “The Federal government of the United States put non-essential government workers on furlough and suspended non-essential services…(Wikipedia).” Essentially all went on as before except some paychecks were a few days late. Apparently the federal government does (when forced to do so) know what non-essential services are after all, and is capable of closing them if it has the will.

Our spending addiction has given our children and grandchildren a 20 trillion dollar debt. Of course it is painful to curb our appetite, but the longer we wait the more painful, drastic, and life threatening it becomes. Most of the programs cut in both shutdowns, were not areas of clear constitutional authority as defined in Article I, Section 8, so in time such cuts should become permanent or be subjected to the amending process for appropriate authority.

Usually diets have some benefits in and of themselves. In the case of the federal government shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, both parties benefited: Democrats, under President Bill Clinton, because thereafter he was credited with “the first four consecutive balanced budgets since the 1920’s” and Republicans because they retained control of both houses of Congress largely because of the popularity of their hard line on the budget (Wikipedia).

So at worst a “government shutdown” is really only a partial shutdown of non-essential services and a delay of payment for some few federal workers. So the federal government goes on a long overdue diet and gets back to the basics. Let’s abandon this terminology in the future so that we don’t frighten the less informed and they overreact?

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

 

Until 1913 No One Paid Income Tax. Why Now?

Harold Pease. Ph. D

As a nation under the U.S. Constitution we are 228 years old. It may surprise readers to learn that for the first 124 of these years we had no federal income tax and handled our expenses quite well. Today those paying may be assessed a fifth to a fourth of their income. Prior to 1913 one kept what is now taken from them.

What would you spend it on were it not taken? Not on the basics such as food, housing, and utilities for they are covered in what you are allowed to retain. You would spend the extra fourth of your salary on thousands of items that are made by others as well as services you might like. This not only would enrich your life but it would provide jobs for others making those items or providing those services. Many middle class folks could purchase a new car every year with what they are forced to give to the federal government.

Would you spend it more wisely than the federal government? Certainly! Most of the money taken from you by the federal government is spent on perpetual war, foreign aid, grants to privileged portions of our society, and endless unconstitutional subsidized programs; the last two of which basically take the money of those who produce and redistribute it to those who do not. Even some non-tax payers get income tax refunds—so corrupt is the system.

Of course, those receiving and benefiting from these programs will defend them. But the fact remains that tax monies provide largely government jobs, which are almost entirely consumption jobs (jobs that consume the production of society but produce little consumable). Such jobs cannot produce for public consumption a potato, a carton of milk, or even a can of hair spray. They bring another guy to the table to eat, but not another to produce something to eat.

What largely brought about the give-away programs of the Twentieth Century was the now 104-year-old 16th Amendment—the federal income tax. All three 1912 presidential candidates Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson, and their respective parties, wanted this financial water faucet that they could turn on at will. They could purchase anything—even people.

Prior to 1913 the federal government remained mostly faithful to her grants of power in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which left them with only four powers: to tax, pay the debts, provide for the general welfare and provide for the common defense. Because the federal government has the inclination to maximize their authority the last two power grants, general welfare and common defense, each had eight qualifiers to harness them more fully. Outside these qualifiers the federal government had no power to tax or spend.

General welfare then meant everyone equally (general) as opposed to “specific welfare” or “privileged welfare” as it is today, targeting those to forfeit and those to receive monies. The Constitution did not deny states, counties, or cities from having such programs, only the federal government. But politicians soon learned that the more they promised to the people, from the money of others, the easier it was to get elected and stay elected.

The problem with the federal government going off the list and funding things clearly not on it was that each time they did so the stronger the inclination to do so again. One minor departure begets another until one notices that what the federal government does has little or no relationship to the list. I ask my students what would happen if they took one lollypop to kindergarten and gave it to one child? What would the others say? Where is mine? Try taking away long provided benefits from a privileged group, as for example food stamps, and see how popular you are with that voting group in the next election.

So why does the government now need a fourth of everything you make and it is still not enough? Answer, because we went off the listed powers of the Constitution and every departure required more taxpayer funding. The solution to less tax is less government. A side benefit is more freedom. The productive classes would not be hurt as might be supposed. Seldom do they qualify for the federally subsidized programs anyway. The fourth taken from the productive classes would be spent by them creating a haven of jobs for those who wished to work and give them no excuse not to. The cycle of dependency would be drastically reduced. The federal government would no longer be an enabler to those not working. States would decide for themselves what assistance programs they could afford with some states offering more and others less as the Tenth Amendment mandates.

So, how did we cover the expenses of the federal government—even wars—our first 124 years? Products coming into the country were assessed a fee to market in the U.S. called a tariff. We got product producers in other countries to cover our national expenses and thus we were able to spend on ourselves every cent of what the federal government now takes, which inadvertently stimulated the economy. No one should be able to argue that our approaching $20 trillion national debt is fair, has really worked for any of us, and is a better plan. I personally like the idea of being able to purchase a new car every year.

 

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Enslaving Debt Sours to Almost $20 Trillion

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Within 40 days our national debt is likely to be $20 trillion; four of which is from eight years of George W. Bush and ten from eight years of Barack Obama—the two biggest spending presidents in U.S. History. Obama alone accumulated more debt than all previous presidents put together.

So what is a trillion dollars? To begin with a trillion is the number one followed by twelve zeros. A trillion dollars is a thousand billion and a billion is a thousand million. This still means very little to my students who count their money in fives, tens and twenties.

One mathematician gave us a more practical way to evaluate our outstanding debt. One trillion, one-dollar bills stacked atop each other (not end to end but flat) would reach nearly 68,000 miles into space—a third of the way to the moon (See CNN News Cast, Feb. 4, 2009). If so, the debt incurred under President Obama alone, $10 trillion, would reach the moon and back and to the moon again. Moreover, if you like traveling atop this stack of ones, our total $20 trillion in debt would take you to the moon and back three times and almost to the moon again.

Senator Mitch McConnell gave another illustration just as awe striking. He calculated that if we spent a million dollars every day since Jesus was born we still would not have spent a trillion dollars—only three-fourths of a trillion dollars (ibid.).

Someone else equated our national debt to seconds and concluded that a million seconds is about 11½ days and a billion seconds is about 32 years. A trillion seconds is about 32,000 years thus 20 trillion seconds is 640,000 years (See CNN News Cast, Feb. 4, 2009). This only makes my head spin, as my Ph. D is not in math.

I ask my students, “Who gets to go without so that this debt can be paid?” “Go without!!!?” That is a concept foreign to this generation!! They do not know, and neither do their parents and grandparents who laid it on their backs. When they are told that their share of the debt is $61,457 (see USDebtClock.org), due immediately, they are angry. Someone should have told them that government handouts are not free.

The 13th Amendment ending slavery has been rescinded, they are America’s new slaves. Bondage was given them before their birth, or while they were in the womb, or before they were old enough to know what it meant to be sold into slavery. The past generation wanted nice costly programs for free and were willing to sell their children in order to have them. Communist China now owns an eighth of our debt and the bills are due. What is worse the older generation is still anxious to incur even more debt on our defenseless children and grandchildren. Are we not the most debt addicted, insensitive generation in U.S. History?

The latest new theory to avoid fiscal responsibility and continue unlimited spending used by Bush in late 2009 and Obama thereafter is referred to as Quantitative Easing. Crudely it means printing more money out of thin air to cover our debt, but it is far more sophisticated than that. For Bush the money supply was greatly expanded by having the Federal Reserve purchase $600 billion in Mortgage-backed securities (Harding, Robin. 3 November 2010, Quantitative Easing Explained. Financial Times). Obama purchased $600 billion of Treasury securities over a six month period of time beginning in November 2010 in what has been called Quantitative Easing or QE2 to distinguish it from QE1, the Bush expansion of the money supply (Cesky, Annalyn,3 Nov.2010, “QE2: Fed Pulls the Trigger” CNNmoney.com. Retrieved 10 Aug. 2011). Neither president really stimulated the economy long term or created jobs, but for a few months, like a drug high, things seemed to feel better. Other, less publicized, Quantitative Easements followed.

The biggest problem with expanding the money supply is that it reduces the value of the money that you have in your pocket. Prices go up. My 1968 new Camaro cost me $ 2,700. Had I instead put the money under a mattress and tried to purchase a Camaro today it would cost more than ten times that much. In this instance money has lost 90% of its value since then. Those on fixed incomes are robbed as surely as if a thief had lifted their wallet or purse. They cannot return to their employer for a raise to compensate for the loss caused by their own government.

Still, with all the sophisticated “doublespeak,” as for example quantitative easement, it means that we will print whatever money we need to purchase whatever we wish. Neither party is serious about stopping the debt and removing the bondage that we are imposing upon our children and grandchildren. In last Fall’s presidential election the Democrats proposed “free” college. Donald Trump’s proposed trillion-dollar infrastructure program, shared with us in his first address to Congress, does not appear to suggest a change. Who cares if our debt of dollar bills stacked upon one another can go to the moon and back three times and almost to the moon again, so long as the government fills our stomachs and, in the case of Obama, buys our cell phones?

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Letter to Trump, How to Cut the Federal Bureaucracy

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Dear President Donald Trump,

The bureaucracy is out of control enlarging itself at every turn. Every political science Intro to Government text has a chapter addressing this problem convincingly showing why the government is unable to stop or even significantly slow this expansion and Ronald Reagan was the only president before you that even tried. The fifties movie “The Blob” starring Steve McQueen comes to mind; an enemy absorbing and devouring people, with an ever enlarging appetite as it did.

The Constitution designates Congress as the only federal rule-making branch of government. “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives,” Article I, Section 1. The choice of the word “all,” was deliberate. There exists no constitutional authority for Congress to delegate this responsibility to any other body. Citizens should be secure in the knowledge that they have three elected officials (their House and Senate members) that have fully read and understand every law or rule placed over them. The Founders made no distinction between laws or rules, as each is a prohibition of some activity.

But decades ago Congress got lazy and started creating organizations to administer and create the details of a law, thus thousands of “little laws” (“regs,” short for regulations) emerged—often giving the law a twist never intended by the original bill.   The Founding Fathers were aware of this practice and listed it in the Declaration of Independence as one of the reasons supporting the revolution from Great Britain, “He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance.”

Congress has allowed these “multitudes of new offices,” to essentially decide what the law means. These creations benefit Congress in two ways. Bureaucracies do most of the work—making “little laws”—and this also conveniently leaves Congress with an enemy to combat of their own making. Members love, and get elected by, “bureaucracy bashing.” An example is the 2700 page National Healthcare Bill that created 159 separate organizations to manage, each capable of hundreds of additional rules and regulations. An older example is the Environmental Protection Agency. A prominent housing contractor once told me that one-third of the cost of a new home went to fulfill regulation requirements. “It did not lift a shovel of dirt or pound a single nail.” But it did “harass our People.”

Seemingly there is no way to stop bureaucratic growth, but the growth, like cancer, must be fed by taxes, which “eat out their substance.” But what is obvious to everyone else is seldom so to the enlarging bureaucracy whose new employees become ever more vocal, with a vested interest in its defense, sustainment, and enlargement. Obviously any plan to succeed must have bureaucratic support. “Goliath” must agree to undertake one serious diet or it will never happen.

Some thirty-five years ago such a diet came across my desk authored by F. F. McClatchie. My students since were asked to be the bureaucracy to determine if it would work. At least 90% chose to be laid off. It seems so easy. It has five steps.

One, freeze immediately all federal hiring of new employees. There will be resistance but not enough to stop this step because “their” job is secure. Mr. President, you are to be commended for having implemented this step, please consider the next four.

Two, lay off 10% of all existing employees each year, selecting those to be laid off by lottery. This ensures that the layoffs will be “fair,” that is, the bureaucrats can’t play with the deck. That way, those who are part of the fat are not in charge of cutting the fat. This step will meet serious resistance so must simultaneously be accompanied by step three.

Three, continue to pay the laid-off bureaucrats at their wages as of the layoff date. This would insure their full cooperation. In fact, their full-time vacations would no doubt thrill them. This would save billions of dollars since they would no longer occupy office space or waste paper, to say nothing of working mischief. They could no longer interfere with business, saving countless billions for productive uses. Few will reject this offer but it can’t go on forever, as it is immoral to pay someone for doing nothing.

Four, reduce each laid-off employee’s paycheck by 10% per year. This would ensure that sooner or later he would seek productive employment. He may choose to bank the new salary, or vacation a year or two, before returning to full employment in the private sector. In the meantime, he will spend the money on hobbies, travel, etc., and keep the economy roaring along with no additional tax burden

Fifth, continue this process until the government is operating efficiently at approximately 1/10th the current payroll or less. Those opting not to be laid off could be part of these.

At 20 trillion dollars in debt this nation is close to bankruptcy. We desperately need a solution that works before we bankrupt. President Trump, together with your reduction of bureaucratic regulation by 70%, this plan has the highest probability of any solution suggested of saving us from the bureaucracy blob.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Trump Saves U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

For readers who do not understand the international trade deals of the last 25 years, notably NAFTA, GATT and TPP, you will never fully grasp what President Donald J. Trump has just done for the Constitution and against the proponents of globalism. In his first day in office, pulling the United States out of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, he has done more to return us to constitutional integrity and to international free market economics than the last four presidents combined. Space permits our confining ourselves to the threat averted to the Constitution.

International trade deals have historically been a mix of oxymoron’s: Republicans for and Democrats against, with the actual trade deals finalized and implemented by Democrat presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Unions, considered left, and Tea Party folks, considered right, have been consistent opponents, as have constitutionalists. Thus, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul are on the same side, the former yelling in opposition to the TPP, “No more secret trade deals!” And, “No more special deals for multinational corporations!!”—Both accusing Obama of selling us out.

In 2013, the Washington Post was the largest newspaper to print some of the “secret” parts of the TPP observing that by then, after nearly a decade of negotiation and 19 secret meetings, had become a regional government document of a hefty 5,600 pages. “Which when finished, will govern 40 percent of U.S. imports and exports” and “26 percent of the world’s trade.” It will be the law of the land for the United States and 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region—without the input of a single member of Congress. This in violation of Article I, Section I of the U.S. Constitution that mandates that all legislative powers reside in the House and Senate and in no other body. In fact, until 2015 members of Congress had not been allowed to even see the treaty whereas privileged corporations had no problem with access.

The paper continued, “The treaty has 29 chapters, dealing with everything from financial services to telecommunications to sanitary standards for food,” demonstrating the wide variety of areas believed to be affected by it, but again, it is the secretive nature of it that is most offensive. Apparently TPP participants signed “a confidentiality agreement requiring them to share proposals only with ‘government officials and individuals who are part of the government’s domestic trade advisory process’.” That excluded you, the media, Congress, and me.

The Post acknowledged that the agreement “encompass a broad range of regulatory and legal issues, making them a much more central part of foreign policy and even domestic lawmaking.” Such is curious. The Constitution requires the approval of your two U. S. Senators and your House member for every regulation upon you. There exists no language in the Constitution that any other individual or body—especially an international body—can perform this function. And, international law should not affect “domestic lawmaking.” You have the right to know that these three have read every rule emanating from the federal government upon you. The admission that the TPP will influence foreign policy is interesting as only the U.S. Senate may influence foreign policy as per Article II, Section II.   Giving a “more central part of foreign policy” to an international agency would have virtually voided the Constitution in this area.

The Post identified “60 senators (who) have asked for the final agreement to address currency manipulation.” Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden, both Democrats, have been especially vocal about the Obama “Administration’s refusal to make draft text available.” Wikileaks published the chapter on intellectual property raising “many questions about copyright protections.” Obviously this treaty, while billed as just a trade agreement, included music, film, books, the Internet and appeared to restrict everything in the industry. And this was but one of 29 chapters.

The implementation procedure of the globalists was to gain consensus among the countries signing it, all had by February 4, 2016, then present it Fast Track and without debate to both branches of Congress for a simple up or down vote.   Again, this procedure flies in the face of the Constitution. Treaty making, an agreement between two or more countries, is a shared power between the president and the senate. The president “shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.” President Barack Obama did not seek Senate advice; indeed he has not even allowed the Senate to read his treaty prior to November 5, 2015, even then he accepted no changes in it. Then he presented it to both houses for a simple majority vote instead of only to the Senate for a two-thirds vote as constitutionally mandated.

Law by a single man excluding Congress is unconstitutional. International law imposed by an army of unelected bureaucrats is not freedom. The Trans Pacific Partnership would have siphoned decision-making power from the elected to the non-elected in a foreign land and would have affected every American. A signature by any member of Congress or by a president would have violated his oath of office “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Thank God Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not present it to the Senate when finished and President Trump took it off the table entirely.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Taxing Christmas: A Satirical Look Ahead

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

The country is now almost 20 trillion dollars in debt.  Many erroneously believe that the only way to solve this problem is to increase taxes rather than to cut spending. Judging by extreme laws passed and proposed in recent years, including the 15% Christmas Tree Tax unsuccessfully advocated by President Obama in 2011, a tax on Christmas could come true.  Let’s follow the Ghost of Christmas Future and see what such a bill might look like:

Congress recently discovered how unfair Christmas really is, as some get more presents than others.  To correct this injustice, a 1,500-page law called the Christmas Equalization Tax is working its way through judiciary committees in both the House and Senate and will be on the floor of both houses very soon.

Under the new law, to begin next year, shoppers buying gifts for loved ones are required to fill out Form 13,207, The Affidavit of Gift Recipients, indicating said recipients by name, social security number, and birth date, and completing a five-page information sheet for each named recipient.  Retailers then fill out Form 13,208, The Affidavit of Christmas Gifts, and forward the information to the IRS for national list tabulation.

The total allotment per Christmas per person is 20 gifts.  Totals exceeding this number in intervals of 10 will be assessed a gradual value added tax up to 70% of the value of the gifts in excess.  Overall value is also taxed up to 100% for any total exceeding $400.  This information is submitted on The Affidavit of Excess Christmas Value (Form 13,209).  If you have problems following the formulas, so do the lawyers who made them up.  However it does help create many jobs for those in that industry, and ensure employment for them for decades to come in their efforts to help us keep the rules straight or in resulting litigation.

The amount collected will be given to the New Organization to Fight Underprivileged Nations (NOFUN). This organization supports those suffering from Christmas Depravation Syndrome, a debilitating mental disorder recently discovered by psychologists to inhibit the development of ambition and drive, drastically reducing self-esteem, self-actualization, and quality of life.

Recipients must fill out a simple 10-page form entitled The Underprivileged Christmas Affidavit (Form 13,210), which allows participants to identify favorite gifts. Unlike the shoppers, benefit recipients would not be limited to 20 gifts.  No doubt they have been “gift deprived” long enough and compensation must be made.  This is the only way to guarantee fairness and equality for all people across the entire lifespan.

Currently, those applying for benefits from NOFUN do so by contacting their local Human Services Agency.  Lawmakers are uncertain whether the program will remain with HSA or be turned over to ACORN, or some other reputable organization already in existence.  The more likely option is to create a whole new department to oversee the program.  The necessary “monitoring,” which certainly would create much needed employment to help stimulate the economy, would require at least 15,000 new federal employees.

The excess tax is thought to be sufficient for funding the under-gifted, but critics are skeptical about its ability to fund the 15,000 federal agents as well.  Some say that unsympathetic shoppers will lower the number of gifts they buy to 20 per person, thus avoiding the excess tax altogether, and leaving the taxpayer to fund the $37 billion for both the “under-gifted” and the federal employees.

Proponents say this “disinformation” comes from incompassionate right-wing extremists, who are simply in the pockets of evil money-mongering capitalists who oppose the individual gift limits.  Proponents assure that the cost will be covered by the seventh stimulus package, the 3,500 paged bill now on the desk of your Congressmen and women.

Additional legislation on the table is to tax excessive tree height, Christmas decorations, and turkey or ham size.  Levels of happiness could also be taxed as soon as technology is able to measure it.  We might also tax travel distance as it is so unfair that some get to travel greater distances than others, or travel mode, some have money to fly others have to drive or ride a bus to get to see their loved ones.

Lawmakers hope to expand the legislation on Christmas to Hanukkah next year for the same reasons.  Atheists have suggested making both holidays illegal altogether, imposing stiff fines on violators instead as it could raise even more money for the disadvantaged, more especially as religion, in their view, is the opiate of the people and is a very expensive myth.

So many injustices to alleviate, so little time.

Merry Christmas my liberty loving friends.