Tom Purcell, 6/30/2008 [Archive]

Fourth of July -- A New Declaration of Independence

Fourth of July -- A New Declaration of Independence

By Tom Purcell

In the course of human events it is necessary, now and again, to dissolve our political bands with the ninnies who keep abandoning our founding principles.

It used to be self-evident that our government's role was primarily to protect certain unalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It used to be that our government did the bidding of the people -- that any power it derived was solely through the consent of the governed.

It used to be our country believed in limited government -- that government at its best was a necessary evil and should be aggressively restrained.

But too many of the birds running things these days don't see it that way.

In 2008, the federal budget is more than $3 trillion -- up from $1.7 trillion only a decade ago. Republicans, who once preached fiscal restraint -- they even tried it for a few years -- ended up growing government more than Democrats ever dreamed.

Things are getting worse in a hurry.

Take on a gimmicky mortgage bigger than you could afford? Not to worry. Our esteemed Congress is pushing through a $300 billion bill to bail you out with taxpayer dough.

Struggling at the pump now that energy prices are at record highs? Not to worry. Some of our politicians promise to tax energy companies lots more so they can pay your energy bills for you.

Think it's unfair that some Americans, through education, hard work and risk, are making good incomes? Not to worry. Though the "rich" already pay the lion's share of taxes in America, some politicians want to tax them plenty more so they can transfer more goodies to you.

Sound like the ideas of a government founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

They're not. They're the ideas of the "Takings Coalition," a term coined by Grover Norquist, author of "Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives."

The Takings Coalition is composed of trial lawyers, labor unions, big-city political machines, government workers and contractors, nanny-state radicals and lots of other folks who benefit as government size and power expand.

The Takers "view the proper role of government as taking things from one group and giving them to someone else."

Fortunately, explains Norquist, there is another coalition that stands in stark contrast to the Takings crowd: the "Leave Us Alone Coalition," the center-right, commonsense folks who simply want the government to leave us alone.

We don't want other people's dough and we don't want other people taking ours. We want to start our own businesses without being overregulated and overtaxed. We want to educate our kids where and how we see fit.

Whereas the Takers are trying to turn America into France -- where most everybody is dependent on government in one way or another -- we Leave-Us-Aloners believe what our Founders believed.

We believe that government should handle the basics, then butt out so that the creativity, ingenuity and productivity of the average Joe can be unleashed -- that by allowing individuals to freely pursue their own happiness, great economic miracles will occur.

Great miracles have occurred. Despite the introduction of some Taker ideas now and then, America has mostly been a leave-us-alone country. That is why, in a short period of human history, we exploded into the most prosperous, productive country in the history of mankind.

We're on the precipice though. The Takings Coalition is having a great run of late. The Takers are led by Barack Obama, a charismatic figure who favors old ideas that, in a nutshell, will impede individual liberty and restrict our pursuit of happiness.

As much of the world is emulating America's leave-us-alone success -- many countries have slashed taxes and reduced government meddling to unleash the ingenuity and productivity of their citizens -- we're fast headed the opposite way.

Hey, it's the Fourth of July. Let's re-declare our independence from cockamamie government-meddling concepts.

For goodness' sakes, just leave us alone.

© 2008 Tom Purcell. Tom is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For more info contact Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Visit Tom on the web at or e-mail him at

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications."

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