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Apr 04

Government Gun Control

Government Gun Control

Mark Mattingly

Most people do not intentionally try to harm themselves; however, there are times when our actions do not take us down the road to our intended destination. This can occur, for example, when a person purchases a gun. There are many reasons for owning a gun; one of the best is personal safety. If a person lives out in the country or in a high crime neighborhood, waiting for the police to arrive when someone is breaking in and hoping for the best is probably not a good strategy if one prefers to stay alive. Therefore, in such situations, owning a gun is a good idea.

Despite their positive uses, there are times when owning a gun can actually backfire. If a person does not know how to use a gun, they should not have one, because they are dangerous. When people do not know how to use a gun, they turn a useful tool into an accident waiting to happen. This occasionally happens on gun ranges when a novice comes to shoot his pistol for the first time. At first glance, the casual observer can see that the novice has no idea what he is doing, but the novice thinks that he is a combination of Dirty Harry, Rambo, and the Terminator. The novice lets a few shots fire, and bullets go everywhere but the target. After the smoke clears, it is apparent that the only thing that the novice was able to hit was himself. The novice had good intentions, but ended up shooting himself in the foot.

The United States government is much like the novice on the gun range; their goal is to use the military to defend the country, but in the end, they end up shooting the country in the foot. The military is a really big gun and should only be used as a weapon of last resort. Unfortunately, many presidents come into power and they want to go to the proverbial shooting range and take a few shots with their new toy. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue; both parties have fired off more than a few rounds. The problem is that both parties do not have a healthy respect or understanding of the consequences of using the military. Both parties at least have a slight understanding that military action leads to a loss in lives, but they seem oblivious to the economic impact.

This year on April 15th American citizens are going to have to pay their income taxes or be in some serious trouble with Uncle Sam, but this was not always the case. The first income taxes in the United States did not occur until 1862. The government did not need any income taxes until the outbreak of the civil war. If there was no war, there would have been no need for taxes. After the war ended, the need for taxation ceased and so did the taxes in 1872.

Eventually in 1916, progressives were able through the 16th amendment to bring about a new income tax. At first, it was very small; the top tier was only taxed 7% of their income, and very few people paid any taxes at all. This all changed after the outbreak of World War I.  In order to fund the war, the top rate for income tax was raised a little bit to 77% of their income. Seventy seven percent might seem a bit steep, but it is a steal compared to the 94% rate for the top margin of tax payers during World War II. It should be noted that this 94% rate was not simply a onetime lapse in judgment. During the Korean War, the top marginal rate was set to 92% in 1953 and remained in the 90s until 1964. Now one must ask, if you are only able to keep less than 10% of what you earn, what is the point of working?

There are of course times when a country must go war, but politicians should realize the economic impact of wars. If they do not, then they are likely to do more economic harm than good. Until they learn this lesson, it might be wiser to take the gun out of the hands of a novice and prevent them from doing any additional harm.

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