By Josh Colver
Free Trade is good economic policy to follow, but it’s almost just as important to foreign policy. According to Webster the definition of free trade is “international trade left to its natural course without tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions.”
Free trade is a good thing. It’s beneficial to the United States, and it’s beneficial to the rest of the world. When American products are allowed to compete with the rest of the world, it lowers the prices and increases the quality of the goods. Trade is also a crucial tool in foreign policy. When we trade with other countries, it builds a foundation for friendship and good relations. I think Thomas Jefferson has the best advice for us: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none.” We need to start trading with countries that are not typically our friends; we need to start trading with Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. If we can start trading with these nations, we can ease the tensions that we have faced in the past. Take for example Vietnam. 40 years ago we invaded and fought against Vietnam when they were our enemy. Now we trade with Vietnam and have diplomatic relations with them. When countries trade with each other, this allows them to build trust between each other.
It also creates a disincentive to go to war, because if Iran or North Korea is getting an essential good or service from us, they are less likely to wage war. They wouldn’t want to risk losing an important part of their economy from us and many other countries around the world who are allied with us. So, if we wish to relieve tensions between our enemies and help foster goodwill towards each other, we need free trade.
By Josh Colver
A common argument the left uses to slam religious people is the “Jesus was a socialist” argument. But this is fundamentally flawed and wrong. People do indeed buy into this argument that Jesus was a socialist; after all, he fed the poor, he called for a collectivist tithing system and performed healthcare for free. But the one big thing these aspiring biblical historians missed is he did not request the use of force to accomplish these goals. Jesus did not tell his disciples to break into Caesar’s palace to steal money for food. He did not say go around with a gun during tithing to make sure everyone “pays their fair share.” He said help your neighbor and care for the poor, not give your money to the Romans so they could do it for you.
Jesus understood why charity and voluntary exchange were moral and valuable to society. Jesus abided by God’s law, and socialism violates two of the ten commandments: First, “Thou shalt not steal”. As an individual, I am outlawed by the government from taking items and money that is not mine. Doing this is also known as theft or stealing. It doesn’t matter if what I am doing is virtuous. It doesn’t matter if I am going to use the money I stole from my neighbor to give to charity and feed the homeless. The ends do not justify the means. Theft is illegal, theft is immoral, and it is destructive to society. But if we turn the tables on this analogy government is allowed to do all these things. The government can steal from individuals, up to any amount that it so desires. Any resistance will result in the imprisonment of the citizen who refuses to pay his money over to the state. This issue also has a lot to do with the monopoly of force that the state holds. The state can use force to coerce its citizens to do whatever it likes, the extremes of this are seen in numerous examples throughout history. But when an individual tries to use force to coerce another person into doing something he is imprisoned. In the words of former presidential candidate Austin Petersen, “You are not charitable because you put a gun to someone else’s head and force them to be charitable.” At the end of the day that's exactly what it is, every government measure and law must be enforced through the barrel of a gun or else there would not be compliance.
And, second, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife or anything that is your neighbors.” The core tenet of socialism is envy. Socialists are envious of those who have money and possessions. In the words of economist Thomas Sowell: “I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.” They use an immoral economic system to justify their envy and slam those who have money as greedy exploiters who are unfeeling. This argument illustrates probably the biggest difference between Socialists and Capitalists. A Socialist sees a wealthy family with a lot of money and a big house and thinks “No one should ever live like that” A Capitalists looks and sees it and thinks “Everyone should live like that.”
The thing that made Jesus different and attracted people to his message was that he did not call for force to accomplish his goals. He taught that peace and charity were how you spread love, not by force.
By Josh Colver
Since the GOP’s health care meltdown, President Trump and Congress have pledged that tax reform is the next item on the agenda for 2017. Unfortunately, since Republicans failed to come together to achieve their core promise for the last seven years, which was repealing Obamacare, any realistic attempt at tax reform seems unlikely. The plan President Trump put forward a few months ago is better than what we currently have but not nearly good enough. The main points of Trump's plan are reducing the number of tax brackets from 7 to 3, doubling the standard deduction, and lowers the corporate rate to 15%. These three things are improvements upon our current system, but if President Trump wants to see a booming economy, a simpler system, and a plan that does drain the swamp, then he should put forward a flat tax. President Trump spoke highly of Steve Forbes’ book Flat Tax Revolution calling it a “must read by anyone interested in the future of our country.” If Trump wants to “Make America Great Again” it’s time for the flat tax and here's why.
The best case for the flat tax is simplicity. According to Forbes, Americans spend more than 8.9 Billion hours each year doing their taxes. It takes each American hours to go through all the deductions they apply for and filling out all the forms, put simply it's a nightmare. Nobody enjoys doing their taxes, but what if you could do your taxes in 2 minutes on a piece of paper the size of a postcard? Well with a flat tax you can! You would simply take out 10% or whatever number out of your total earnings write a check to the government and be finished. This reform would increase the tax compliance rate. According to Forbes, 45.3% of Americans don’t pay any taxes. This is mainly due to the fact that people find it too complicated of a system and don’t have the time to figure it out. A lot of people also don’t pay because they can’t afford to lose any more money than they already have, they need it to put food on the table. But if we adopted a flat tax not only would more people comply, people would get to keep more of what they make.
Along with the flat rate of tax, you would have to get rid of all the deductions and loopholes that people like to use. The only deduction that the flat tax should have is that you get to keep the first 50,000 dollars that you make so that we can allow people to get a good foothold of income before taxing it. Once you eliminate 70,000 pages of IRS code and decrease it to 1 listing a single rate of tax 90% of lobbyists in Washington D.C. now are kicked out because they have nothing to lobby about in D.C. A majority of lobbyists are there to lobby for special tax benefits and privileges but instituting a flat tax would render their jobs useless. A flat tax would go along way and would definitely ‘Drain the Swamp”.
The third reason for the flat tax is for economic growth. If you do as I suggested and lowered everyone's taxes to 10% exempting the first 50,000 dollars this would be the biggest tax cut in history and the economic growth that would follow would be unprecedented. When you allow people to keep more of what they earn, they have more to spend, and they spend more. When people start spending more businesses take in more profit and expand. When they grow, they need to hire more people to help so more jobs are created putting money in their hands. This cycle repeats itself over and over again growing the economy more and more. This plan is not revenue neutral. However, that is the point. This reform would give less revenue to the government, and that's the point, with our National Debt at nearly 20 trillion dollars we have to cut spending not raise taxes. The flat tax would do exactly that; it would demand that Congress live within its means and balance the budget.
In conclusion, I think the flat tax is a good step on the road to eventually eliminating the income tax. By making Americans lives simpler, cutting off Washington corruption, and kick starting the economy President Trump could indeed keep his campaign promises to “Drain the Swamp” and “Make America Great Again.” If Congress can pass this bill and the President signs it into law, he would guarantee himself a second term and help the GOP keep the majority in Congress. Mr. President, it’s up to you to set the agenda, use the Bully Pulpit to champion the Flat Tax. Explain to Americans on live TV how this will help make their lives better, don’t just Tweet about it…
Some specifics for the Flat Tax