Sunday, July 01, 2012

The sky's the limit...

   I suppose just about everything has a limit, but we don't always have a clear understanding as to what that limit might be. I spent a lot of time in my formative years pushing my mother toward hers, but I usually managed to stop my offending behavior whenever she warned me that she had "just about reached her limit". While I didn't know exactly where that limit was, I credit my existence today to heeding that early warning.

  Back at Millville Grade School, my old buddy Stinky Wilmont used to tell stories about his Uncle Pug. Apparently Pug knew his limit when it came to drinking whiskey, but he always passed out before he reached it.

    The posted speed limit in front of my house is 55 miles per hour, but I think most people tend to set their own limits when they go by. Most people's limit is a little faster than that. Once in awhile I venture away from Hagerstown and end up on some interstate highway around or through some big city. They have speed limits posted there, too, but I've about decided those are just suggested minimums.

  There was a time, not too many years ago, when most people believed our government had some limits on it. We were told that the Constitution put those limits in place, and controlled what the government could and couldn't do. While that may have been the intention, it certainly hasn't been the outcome.

   Recently the Supreme Court ruled that the government had the power to fine you for not buying a product it has directed you to buy.  (Of course, the government has always had the power to arrest you and put you in jail if you decide not to pay a fine.) In this particular case, the product is health insurance, but there is no stipulation in the ruling to prevent the government from applying it to any product it chooses. Without limit.

 Our government also has the power and authority to tax anything we already own. While the amount of that tax may currently be at 1%, or 3%, or 7%, or 15%, depending on just what is being taxed, there is nothing to keep the government from increasing those percentages to 2,6,14, or 30%. Or 4, 12, 28, or 60%. The fact that the percentages aren't that high yet doesn't mean they have reached the limit. It simply means the government hasn't raised them that high. Yet.

  As a nation, we now exist under the policies of the National Defense Authorization Act,  which gives the government the authority to arrest any United States citizen without a warrant, to imprison them without a trial, or to have them killed if the government deems it necessary. We also have the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order hanging over our heads, which allows the president and the Department of Homeland Security to confiscate any public or private property they feel would contribute to the so-called "national good".

  If you or I haven't been subjected to some government intrusion that we feel steps over the line, either in the amount we are taxed, or the property that is taken, or the personal liberties that are lost, we need to remember it's not because the government can't go that far. It's simply because the government hasn't gone that far. Yet.

  I'm glad Mom never really reached her limit.

  But I sure would like to see the government reach its limit.

Or at least have one.

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