Dave Brown / December 3, 2010

Open Letter to Wisconsin Governor-Elect Scott Walker & Senator-Elect Ron Johnson

Congratulations on your election victories on 2 November 2010! We are blessed to have two men of good character to lead and represent Wisconsin. There are three critical issues that require your immediate attention. If these issues are not addressed first, all others are meaningless. It will take courage on your part equal to the courage demonstrated by the Founding Fathers and more recently by New Jersey Governor Chris Christy. Government spending must be drastically reduced. The survival of our country depends on it. The short term goal should be a 50% reduction. There can be only one of two results in this defining battle … saving America, or the destruction of America. Opposition to your efforts will be intense.

The national debt is at 13.5 trillion. Even if government spending is cut 50% it will take several generations to repay this debt. With minor spending reductions, like those being recommended by the debt and deficit commission, the debt will not be re-paid, ever. The federal government spent 1.4 trillion in 2009 and 1.35 trillion in 2010 more than it took in tax revenue. This un-checked spending is destroying the United States of America.

“Men of energy of character must have enemies; because there are two sides to every question, and taking one with decision, and acting on it with effect, those who take the other will of course be hostile in proportion as they feel that effect.”

–Thomas Jefferson, December 21, 1817

I believe in the country of our Founding Fathers. The principles of honoring the Almighty, personal responsibility, character, integrity, and honesty make the foundation that supports the American ideal. Without a true respect for these principles no person will ever enjoy their unalienable rights granted by the Creator among those being life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Fortunately for Wisconsinites both of you have demonstrated a healthy respect for these principles. I believe you are both up to the challenge.

Here are the major issues:

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.”

Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, September 6, 1824

The number of federal, state, and local employees must be reduced by 50%. At the federal level this means postal workers, agency bureaucrats, FBI, CIA, and the list goes on and on. At the state level this means starting with divesting the University of Wisconsin system. Let the new private university compete in the free market. If their customers (students) don’t mind paying six figure salaries to professors that work one day/week, and don’t mind supplying University administrators with lavish compensation including luxury housing with servants, luxury cars, and unlimited expense accounts then great! On the other hand if struggling students don’t see why they have to pay for these luxuries academia may have to adjust how they do business, or lose all of their customers. It also means cutting teachers, firefighters, non-frontline police, DNR, etc… Those public employees that remain must have compensation equivalent to similar jobs in the private sector.

Reason must be applied when making cuts, example: In most cases reductions would not be appropriate in frontline law enforcement, national security, FBI, and border patrol. This means the men and women on the street. However desk jockeys and bureaucrats in these agencies can and must be eliminated. No cuts in military personnel would be appropriate in a time of war either. However, elimination of entire agencies like the postal service, departments of education, energy, housing and urban development, agriculture, NASA, to name a few would help meet the 50% target.

Can we survive a 50% cut in government employees? Here are the current government full time employee numbers:

Federal 14.6 million
State 3.8 million
Local 11.0 million
——————————-
Total 29.4 million

Certainly America will survive with half of 29.4 million. 14.7 million government employees still looks extraordinarily high and inappropriate for a free country. Note these numbers do not include 1.5 million state and 3.2 million local government part time employees.

Not only will America survive it will thrive after these reductions are made. It may take some adjustment for the newly unemployed public workers to find meaningful, productive work in the private sector. Adjusting to the required work standard in the private sector may be traumatic for some but when they do the economy will expand and improve.

For remaining government employees pensions must be abolished. No public employee including elected officials should receive a pension or any other benefit (health insurance) of any type under any circumstance upon termination of employment. The only exception would be for retired military honorably discharged after 20 years of service or for any military service person injured while serving. Retired military and/or injured military should receive a pension and healthcare for the remainder of their lives.

Forcing a productive citizen to pay for the public employee’s life of ease and enjoyment in retirement (that usually begins around age 50 for this very privileged class) against his will is unconstitutional.

XIII Amendment Section I, ratified December 6, 1865

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

The language is clear and needs no lawyer to translate the meaning to citizens. It means if a politician enters into a contract with a pubic employee union, or passes a law that obligates me to pay pension and benefits to the idle public employee for the remainder of their natural lives so they may live in ease, leisure, and comfort in retirement is clearly unconstitutional. It is not only unconstitutional; it is illegal, immoral, and obscene. It is the definition of involuntary servitude. Why should those working in the private sector, who receive no pension, be expected to save for our own retirement and be required to pay the public employee’s pension? We are all familiar with standard justifications for this…but these are noble professions, who could possibly be against police, firemen, teachers, etc…, or compensation and benefits must be high or we will lose these very special people to the private market place, or they work in difficult conditions so they deserve lavish benefits… There is no limit to the straw man arguments from public union leaders and politicians to justify this mess.

Public employee unions must be abolished and outlawed.

Public employees organized into a union feeding at the same public trough elbow to elbow with lawmakers is an obvious disaster for the tax payer. Peer pressure on lawmakers from their unionized fellow trough eaters to keep the trough full at all costs is intense and is the reason politicians give up their soul, some quicker than others, once elected to office. The politician quickly realizes his highest priority is to keep squeezing the tax payer so the trough remains full. Life at the trough looks very attractive to many working and/or idling in the private sector. It is like a giant magnet attracting more and more people. It is obvious to those working in the private sector the public employee’s compensation and benefits are much better than his.

The politician/lawmaker realizes his fellow trough eaters are always a solid vote so why wouldn’t he want to add more and more trough eaters? What a wonderful system he thinks to himself, a real no-brainer! He realizes he has the power to extract more money from the tax payer because he makes the laws that direct the guys with the uniforms and guns, that run the IRS, and run the prisons. The stunning part for those in the private sector is that no politician is willing to acknowledge the obvious – the public employee orgy of compensation and benefits has sunk America into a black hole of debt.

Public employees are keenly aware they have no chance whatsoever to match their lavish government compensation and benefits in the private sector. They will fight as King George III did to force the productive class to keep the trough full, at gun point if required.

ENTITLEMENTS

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766

Entitlements are destroying our country morally and financially. Welfare, unemployment, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, social security, and housing subsidies must be abolished. No where in the constitution is the government authorized to take the treasure and earnings from one and give to another. As Ben Franklin observed 244 years ago …that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer… This was true in 1766, true in 2010, and will still be true in 2254 (if we survive). As for the cost of medical care, consumers must pay for medical care. The current system of having others pay for one’s medical care removes any incentive to shop for the best provider, the best price for meds, or for many to take care to eat a proper diet and exercise. The free market will do as it always does when not interfered with by government – it will reward care providers that provide the best service at the best price and punish those that don’t. The winner is the consumer. It is no more complicated than that.

Will this be a painful adjustment? Yes. Will people suffer? Yes. Remember Freedom is not free. Freedom means you reap what you sow. Freedom gives the individual a choice of planning, working, learning, and living responsibly. Which means more often than not you will enjoy the blessings and rewards of living this way. Freedom also means the individual can choose to not plan, not work, not learn, and live irresponsibly. These choices usually lead to a miserable life, probably behind bars or dead at an early age.

“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

James Madison

The current system of forcing the responsible to pay for irresponsible is unconstitutional and immoral. One lucky break for the irresponsible and for good people that happen to fall on hard times, is that America is the most charitable, giving nation on the planet. There are hundreds of charitable organizations in America. There is no finer charity than The Salvation Army. The CEO makes $13,000 a year. $0.93 of every dollar donated goes directly to the needy. Compare this incredibly high ratio to that of the federal government. What percentage of a dollar given to the government goes to the needy after paying the 14.6 million federal government employees, 82,000 of which make more than $150,000/year? I do not imagine it is close to $0.93.

TAXATION

“[A] wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Income tax, state and federal, must be abolished. The practice of confiscating a large percentage of a productive worker’s wages from his pay before he ever takes possession of his justly earned compensation dulls the pain of surrendering his earnings to the government. If productive citizens had to write a check out to the state and federal government every month for their share of taxes based on their income there would be revolution tomorrow. All capital gains taxes must be abolished. The death tax must be abolished.

Taxation should be levied on purchased goods and services only. The percentage tax rate must be the same for all consumers and for all goods and services. The government cannot make punitive tax rates on businesses or products it does not favor for any reason. This includes oil, gas, tobacco, alcohol, etc… Everything is taxed at the same rate. Corporate taxes must be abolished. This is a devious way for government to tax citizens without accountability. Only people pay taxes, not corporations.

SUMMARY

These are the main issues and unless addressed first makes addressing all other issues equivalent to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Mr. Walker, when you gave back over $300,000 of your county salary it spoke volumes of the type of man you are. It reminds me of a quote I read on the church bulletin board years ago that stuck with me, that goes: What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.

You both are good men and I believe you are up for the challenge. God bless both of you. I will support you in any way needed.

Dave Brown

Franklin, WI

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