Opinion

President Hoover’s list still makes sense today

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In a book of collected letters, written by former President Herbert Hoover to American children, I was impressed with one letter to a kid who had written to the President of the United States with a question about how government can best help U.S. citizens.

That book is tucked away in the basement in one of several sealed cardboard boxes of books. Mr. Hoover included in his response his priorities for how government can best help U.S. citizens. Writing now from memory, I may be off on some of Hoover’s exact words, but not by much. My recollection is certainly very close to the spirit of Hoover’s written list.

American citizens in need of help should look first to other individuals, said the President. When other individuals cannot provide sufficient help, American citizens should turn to their families. If citizens find no remedy within their families they should seek help, in this order, from within their neighborhoods, towns/cities, counties, and local government.

Hoover said seeking aid from state government was a next to last resort. And asking the federal government to resolve individual disputes should, in a well-ordered system of republican government, be rare.

President Hoover’s response to that kid, on my first reading, struck a chord. It made good sense. It describes a system of government, under the rule of law, in which people can pursue happiness in a civil society.

Hoover’s letter also surprised me. Today his government help hierarchy is exactly reversed. More and more people turn first for help to our federal and state governments. At least in my lifetime, state and federal governments always get bigger, never stay the same size, never get smaller. Heavy taxation required to prop up always expanding state and federal governments hurts the people who pay taxes.

The circular political debates over property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, excise taxes, gas taxes? All taxes are paid from our income. Therefore, all taxes are income taxes. I don’t oppose paying taxes. I do oppose excessive taxation from unimaginative politicians, activists, or bureaucrats whose every answer is to make government bigger.

Bigger government may be considered “job security” by politicians, bureaucrats, activists, who work in, with, and for, government. But above a certain size, the cost of government — paid by taxpayers — is a financial burden that harms even our most basic lifestyles.

Now we have one major political party with a governing philosophy that considers money you and I earn with our own sweat, brains, and gumption, as their money first. They fight for increased taxes to support bigger government, and to use for the political party’s own pet wealth redistribution schemes. Whatever is left of our money after taxes, we get to keep.

Working in the Maine State House, whenever a politician wanted to hike one tax or another, but especially the income tax, I wanted to ask them one question: Will you make your income taxes public? Clearly, you must be doing something so that your proposed tax increase won’t affect you. Why don’t you share your money management skills with the rest of Maine?

Now the same political party wants to scrap the rule of law with an even greater national open border policy, saddling taxpayers with the resulting debts: social, health, cultural, and financial.

It’s insanity. Dangerous insanity.

For me, that’s what this November 6 Election boils down to. Do I vote to give Dangerous Insanity the power to govern? Or do I vote to bring us back to Hoover’s hierarchy, where individuals are left with maximum liberty, under law, to pursue our own paths to happiness?

That’s a no-brainer.

Your vote counts. Your vote matters. Thank you for voting on November 6.

Scott K. Fish has served as a communications staffer for Maine Senate and House Republican caucuses, and was communications director for Senate President Kevin Raye. He founded and edited AsMaineGoes.com and served as director of communications/public relations for Maine’s Department of Corrections until 2015. He is now using his communications skills to serve clients in the private sector.

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