Rep. Allen West Op-Ed “The republic cannot survive so much dependency” WSJ Marketwatch

By Rep. Allen West

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Gov. Mitt Romney’s comments about the percentage of Americans who have grown economically dependent on the government for their sustenance, and as a result, see little benefit in changing course, is neither new nor outrageous.

More than 170 years ago, the French political thinker and writer, Alexis de Tocqueville saw this coming, and warned of its dangers in his most famous writing, Democracy in America. Here is an excerpt below:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

Our public treasury cannot sustain further “largesse.” Our national debt has ballooned to more than $16 trillion. The top 25 percent of wage earners contribute 87 percent of all tax revenue and it is numerically impossible to tax them sufficiently to pay for this expansion of federal government – let alone pay down our debt. For another viewpoint, read Rex Nutting’s column on the 47%.

Our entire fiscal and monetary policy is now based on one simple axiom: What we cannot tax, we borrow, and what we cannot borrow, we print.

The path we are on in 2012 is perilous and unsustainable. We must change course.

This November, Americans will not simply be choosing one man or another as president, they will be choosing the future direction of these United States of America.

The question is not whether one candidate is nicer or more likable or even easier to relate to. The fundamental question all Americans must ask themselves is what kind of a nation shall we be? And what does it mean to be an American?


3 responses to “Rep. Allen West Op-Ed “The republic cannot survive so much dependency” WSJ Marketwatch

  1. The only thing I can think of for voting for Nobama is if you cannot read or write and it just requires an X on the ballot, next to Obama

    Celebrate life 257 5052

  2. Congressman West:

    There is some serious fact-checking that needs to be done here, because quite frankly, you appealing to emotion, not to intellect. It works, but it is dishonest.

    Most egregiously, Alexis de Tocqueville did not foresee our budget crisis 170 years ago. I recognize the fact that people like to point to an “authority” who appears to support their opinion, and which gives their argument an imprimatur of sorts. In short, Tocqueville never delivered the quote you have attributed to him. You will not find it in “Democracy in America,” nor in anything else that he wrote.

    The pedigree of the quotation is said to have come from an 18th century Scottish historian, Alexander Tytler, in a book attributed to his authorship: “The Fall of the Athenian Republic.” The problem with this is that there is no existing record of his ever having written such a book. The book is bogus, as is the quote, which began surfacing on the internet shortly after the 2000 presidential election. It resurfaced during the 2004 election, and now it has passed from urban legend, one probably created by a right-wing ideologue, into being a Tocqueville quote, which, again, it is not.

    We have a deficit problem for certain, and I agree that it is unsustainable. But let’s look for a moment at the population that constitutes Mr. Romney’s 47% of “victims and takers.” The largest percentage (28.3%) are the working poor, who do not pay the federal income tax. They do, however, pay the social security payroll tax. The are not dependents of the government. Next up (10.3%) are retirees, who did work, and who paid into the system from which they are now collecting the benefits to which they are legally entitled. The government entered into a contract with these people. They paid in, and now the government pays out. We can certainly have a discussion about the sustainability of the program, but these people cannot be tarred with the epithet of being “victims and takers.” Why demonize them? Lastly (6.9%) is comprised of the non-elderly, who earn less than $20,000 per year, and are thus not subject to the payroll tax, in addition to not paying federal income tax. In an unguarded moment, Mr. Romney, when he was trying to walk back what he meant by his comment, let slip the fact that there are even some millionaires in this last group, to which I would add, there are also a few corporations.

    We have unfunded wars, we have a tax code that is riddled with outrageous deductions for individuals and corporations, we subsidize a corporate welfare state, which actually has taken over the government, and the list goes on and on. These are the areas where the real money disappears, and where government fails in its obligations to “We the people,” while doing the bidding of its corporate masters.

    But articles like the one you have written do not move the discussion forward in any meaningful way. They merely exacerbate the problem by pitting citizen against citizen with an incendiary rhetoric which is more or less fact-free. It is demagoguery, but it is not responsible governance.

    In the zeal for Tocqueville which you profess, I wonder if you caught his fear of the “corporate” state, which he describes as a creeping aristocracy that threatens a democratic society. This, I think, is where we have truly gone off the rails, all the nonsense about the beneficence of free markets notwithstanding. See Volume II of “Democracy in America”, in which he has a chapter, “How an Aristocracy may be Created by Manufactures,” wherein he writes (and this is a genuine Tocqueville quote):

    “I am of the opinion, on the whole, that the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes is one of the harshest that ever existed in the world; but at the same time it is one of the most confined and least dangerous. Nevertheless, the friends of democracy should keep their eyes anxiously fixed in this direction; for if ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy again penetrates into the world, it may be predicted that this is the gate by which it will enter.”

    Therein lies the root of our problem.

  3. Pingback: ALLEN WEST: Black Americans should vote for Mitt Romney | Letting Freedom Ring