There appears to be no end to the growth of government.
The founding principle of government by the consent of the governed seems lost to history, as unelected judges and unelected bureaucrats within all the endless agencies that make up the federal leviathan make most of the governing decisions.
This has led to a rise in populism, as more and more Americans rightly feel as if government seems to work for every interest but theirs.
However, one policy change could radically change all of this immediately. And it wouldn’t require an insurmountable task, as would a constitutional amendment getting enough support in such a balkanized America. It also wouldn’t require raising or cutting taxes, nor establishing or cutting a single program to do it.
If you want to change America immediately, and most likely for the better, just end federal paycheck withholding.
I’ve been asked several times in my career what one policy I would make happen if I were empowered to do so, and this is it. The reason being is simple yet profound – if the American people had to write that check to Washington themselves, they’d be a lot more aware of how much of their productivity is being confiscated.
Which means they’d also be a lot more mindful about monitoring the way their government is spending their money. We’d get back to seeing those in government as our employees because we’re paying them rather than them taking from us. Accountability, which is all but gone now, would return.
There is no downside to this.
Say you’re a pro-lifer like me, and you’re tired of giving Planned Parenthood a half-billion dollars. There’s plenty of people who think they’re pro-choice but would think twice about writing the check themselves to such an organization.
Say you’re a blue-collar voter who thinks Republicans are the party of the rich (even though millionaires prefer former Vice President Joe Biden to President Trump), and you’re beyond tired of K-street handouts to corporatists and lobbyists. Well, there are legions of Republican voters who actually agree with you, and would gladly join you in ending such gangster government if we all had to write that check ourselves.
But wouldn’t we have to create a whole new bureaucracy or system to implement something like this? Not at all. In fact, the system for installing this is already in place.
About 10 percent of the American workforce are independent contractors and thus do pay-as-you-go taxation directly to the IRS. So the collection process necessary to end federal paycheck withholding for everyone else is already there and accessed by millions of Americans. There is literally nothing standing in the way of changing the dynamic that also would change the way Americans view the way their government spends.
Federal paycheck withholding is the thermal exhaust port of our all-powerful government if you get the "Star Wars" reference. Take that away, and the entire Death Star implodes. For the only way a free people would ever consent to handing over so much of their hard-earned money is if they never even saw it in the first place.
Face it, how many of us – regardless of our incomes – even bother to look at the gross income line on our pay stubs? We are conditioned to just look at our take-home pay, which helps to foment the notion that’s the government’s money and not ours. Which is exactly what an increasingly bloated and unaccountable federal government wants.
Up to 6 million people who voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 switched and voted for Donald Trump in 2016, despite the fact the two men couldn’t have been much more different in the campaign themes they ran/governed on.
Those voters are likely the reason Trump is president today, especially when you consider how Trump over-performed in states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that Republicans have consistently struggled to win since the 1980s.
But what that also tells you is just how many Americans, regardless of their various policy positions on a diverse set of issues, still share a mutual disconnect from their government. So they’re swaying back and forth between parties, politicians, and election cycles looking for what will make this a government of the people, and by the people once more.
Ending federal paycheck withholding would go a long way towards changing the paradigm accordingly because it empowers the individual taxpayer instead of making the federal tax-taker all-powerful as it is now.
Let’s make self-government great again. End federal paycheck withholding.