There is considerable argument today in the public concerning redistribution of wealth. These people claim that paying taxes is a form of redistribution of the wealth and this, they argue, is un-American and should not be a part of public policy. There is a long history of redistribution of wealth in the United States. In fact, most of the eastern seaboard states were built upon the idea of redistribution of the wealth. This is the history of our country, and although many may disagree with this problematic fact of our history, to ignore the facts are pure insanity.
When America was still being settled, the Kings of England, France, and Spain had already drawn up legal title to all the land in the United States. Depending on where you lived, the king was the authority in granting land rights. In North Carolina for instance, three subjects of the King of England were granted all the land in North Carolina west of the Smoky Mountains. That land is now known as Tennessee, but during the frontier days, Tennessee was a very dangerous place for immigrants.
During the Revolutionary War, soldiers were promised cash payment for their services. Many of the states refused to raise taxes on their citizens to pay for the Revolutionary War, so those veterans who were owed money were given land west of the mountains. Land titles were not always recognized in the change of governments from being a British Colony, and being the United States. Often, more than one veteran was given title to the same spot of land in Tennessee Territory. The veterans had to fight two wars to get their pay. The British, and then the Native Americans.
Due to the agricultural needs our courts developed a legal theory that placed a high premium on land development, especially agriculture. The courts recognized "squatters rights" and "cultivation rights." If you erected a cabin on a spot of land you didn't own, you could claim cabin rights. If you cultivated an acre of corn on land you didn't own, you were granted "cultivation rights" with the addition of 15 acres for every acre of crop planted. The prevailing idea in the country was that no one person could hold up progress. People had to be fed, and the wilderness had to be settled. Land was practically free for the taking.
The approach used by the leadership of our country to redistribute the wealth was no accident, it was well thought out, and it is a part of our legal heritage. For anyone to think that it is legal or moral for them to hold up the welfare of the entire country as a whole over their greed; they do not really know the history of this country. The only role of property ownership in this country is in assuring personal liberty. The Founding Fathers did not come up with an idea of personal liberty so they could have property ownership. They came up with the idea of personal liberty, and guaranteed personal liberty through property ownership. Lets face it, nobody likes to pay taxes. However, taxes are essential to the operation of government.
To those who would argue that Congress doesn't have a right to tax them and give their tax dollars to another person, I suggest you do a little research on this issue before going out on a limb and contending it isn't a part of U.S. history, or that its unconstitutional. The Louisiana Purchase and The Homestead Act are glaring examples of redistribution of the wealth. So, redistribution of wealth has been something that our country has utilized from its very inception. To think otherwise is to ignore history.
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Just thought I would throw this in. I like this better than redistribution, seems more fair, it has a little history, too.
2 Thessalonians 3:10, New International Version (NIV)
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
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I don't know where to begin with this total fabrication of history. For starters, taxes does not equal redistribution of wealth. Redistribution of wealth is the Marxist idea of income equality. A classless society by bringing the bottom up by taking the top down. An illustration would be to replace a students hard earned "A" with a "C" so you could give an "F" student a "C." Now everyone is average and equal. The problem now is that the A student doesn't want to try as hard, and the F student doesn't want to do anything. This all started in the U.S. in the late 1960's with the Great Society.
The idea that the early Colonies were built on Redistribution of Wealth demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of history and taxes. The Colonists paid taxes to the King of England until 1773 when they declared that "they would pay no more taxes to the English government." (The Normal History of the United States, 1881) Which of course brought about the Revolutionary War.
A U.S government tax system had not yet been devised. In "The Normal History of the United States" copyright 1881, it states:
"The close of the (Revolutionary) war found the Government of the young nation in a weak condition. The treasury was empty, and the country involved in debt. It was found that by the Articles of Confederation, under which the U.S. had existed since 1781, Congress had no power to raise money and pay debts incurred by the war. The individual states were called upon for funds, but their efforts to raise money by direct taxation produced great opposition...."
The Constitution itself specifically limited Congress' ability to impose direct taxes. In fact, in 1895, the Supreme Court ruled that an income tax was unconstitutional. (Pollock v. Farmers Loan and Trust Company)
It took a Constitutional Amendment in 1909, the 16th Amendment, to legalize a federal income tax....and we're still a half century away from even imagining a "Redistribution of Wealth" concept.
Mr. Durham's assertion that "redistribution of wealth has been something that our country has utilized from its very inception" boggles the mind. The government raised revenue through taxes on the sale of goods, excise taxes, and trade tariffs. And these were used explicitly to run the government and provide for the national defense. Not social engineering.
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The key word in that scripture is “unwilling.” What about those who are willing but unable to work due to a disability or old age or not being able to find a job? Or how about those who are working and still can’t afford to feed their families? Should we let them starve just so a minority of people who are “unwilling” won’t get anything?
Maybe it would make more sense to reform the current system, kick the lazy people out and continue to help those who are trying to get back on their feet. Isn’t that what Jesus would do? It baffles me that the people who proclaim this as a Christian nation so rarely want our government to do the Christian thing.
It is a dishonest mischaracterization for Mr. Durham to portray the settlement of America as a form of redistribution of wealth. Especially in the context of the current use of the phrase. An obvious attempt to promote his personal agenda at the expense of actual history.