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Why Does Uncle Sam Always Have to Pay?

Why Does Uncle Sam Always Have to Pay?

Did you ever get the impression that if our politicians in Washington were not taking care of us, no one would?  That is what they like to have us believe, but it is not true.  Many of the services and functions of the federal government were once the responsibilities of our states and municipalities.

When the Founders so carefully and ingeniously crafted our new nation, they created a federated system in which the federal government would have the LEAST influence over our daily lives.  In our Constitution they delineated the LIMITED powers of our federal government – you know, national defense, foreign trade, etc.

In fact, the Constitution does not grant us any rights.  It only describes our inalienable rights, which we the people are then commissioned to protect and defend. What the Constitution does protect us from is … government.  Especially a large powerful central government. 

And in case we did not catch on to the concept – get the hint, as it were — they gave us the 10th Amendment — which simply and clearly states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  

The flip side of the 10th Amendment is what we call “states’ rights.”

This is a profoundly important concept that was unfortunately given a bad name by those racist Democrats who brutally and unconstitutionally ruled over the southern states for more than 100 years after the Civil War.  We need to restore the understanding of states’ rights to its proper and beneficial meaning.

Some argue that the 10th Amendment is not that important because it came last in the Bill of Rights.  Au contraire.  It was placed last to emphasize that it covered everything written before it. That includes the nine previous amendments AND the Constitution, itself.  It was a summation, not an afterthought.

The Founders intended that most of the laws, regulations and rules that governed our lives would be enacted by governments closest to the influence of we the people.  That means our local municipalities and our state governments.  The federal government was the last resort, not the first.

Instead of the Jeffersonian limited government envisioned by the Founders, the increasingly powerful establishment in Washington, D.C. has shifted more and more powers … more and more programs … away from the states.  Of course, that meant consuming more and more of the taxpayers’ earned wealth.

Not only does our federal government now take an extraordinary portion of the tax money to pay for governmental services and functions usurped from the counties, cities and states, but it over-taxes us to be the provider of money for programs and projects traditionally overseen by the counties, cities and states.

How did it happen that if a county built a road, Uncle Sam should pay to repair it?  If Chicago constructs a bridge, why should Uncle Sam pay to replace it?  If a small town needs a tertiary treatment plant, why does Congress have to appropriate the funds?  They say that only the federal government can afford such expenditures.  That is the lie that empowers the scam.

It has come about because of a malignant power game that is bipartisan.  It is a game by which Democrats and Republicans attempt to fool the people – and so far, they have succeeded.  The only people who benefit from this scam are the entrenched elitist establishmentarians in Washington – the politicians and bureaucrats who have been increasing their power and wealth at the expense of we the people.  We are losing our ability to effectively influence our government, and, in a sad irony, we are paying more and more tribute (read that money) to Caesar in the process.

Not only does the system of sending money to Uncle Sam — so that he can dole out to us like a bunch of begging hatchlings – take away our power, but it is an ENORMOUS waste of money.  Allow me to explain by way of an example.

Let us assume that it would cost one dollar to hire a fireman for your town. And you wanted three additional firemen.  If your town adds three dollars to the budget, you get three firemen. That is because locally taxed money is 90 percent efficient.

If you send money to your state government, you get only two firemen. That is because the state money is only two-thirds efficient.  Thirty percent of your money disappears somewhere in the bureaucracy.

If Uncle Sam takes your three dollars – and uses it to hire firemen for your town, you only get one.  That is because money going to and from Washington is only one-third efficient. 

To look at it another way, if good old Uncle Sam wanted to give your town a grant to hire three firemen, he will have to collect $9 from the taxpayers.  Alas, there is the difference.  Tax locally and get three firemen for your three dollars.  Send the money to Washington and you either get one fireman or you pay three times more to get the firemen you need.

Now take this example and consider the trillions upon trillions of dollars that are being sent to Washington only to be returned to the cities and states – with Uncle Sam taking a commission for merely transferring the money.  The sole reason for all this is not economics.  It is to amass centralized power – the very thing our Founders feared most.  And it is not just money flowing from government to government.  All those subsidies and grants to businesses, NGOs, universities and special interest groups are also major part of the problem.

So, why are there no politicians and officeholders revolting against this rip-off of the taxpayers and the suppression of our influence?  Better to ask, who would complain?  Certainly not those folks in Washington who are using the game to gain wealth and authoritarian power.

And not the local officials, either.  How many times have you heard your local mayors brag that they are getting money from Uncle Sam so they do not have to raise your local taxes?  Virtually every member of Congress campaigns on how much “pork” he or she is “bringing home” – pork for which you paid over market prices.

It is a sucker’s game … and we the people have been the suckers.  We ignore the fact that every dollar that Uncle Sam provides to our local communities, he gets it from you and me … the taxpayers.  When you pay your federal taxes, YOU are paying for all those inefficient dollars that the folks in Washington give us as if it is a gift in trade for votes. 

Most of the issues of the people can best be handles close to home.  And it is not only our local governments.  Civic groups, religious organizations and just plain neighbors can address personal welfare far more effectively and inexpensively than can Uncle Sam.  But Washington suffocates those efforts with piles of money.

There is only one way to stop the trend toward more and more destructive federal “assistance.” 

We need politicians willing to cut – yes cut – the size and cost of the federal government.  We need to send back programs that can be more efficiently managed and funded locally. And we need to limit our federal government to those things articulated in the Constitution.  It is time we empower the 10th Amendment and end the con game that is literally destroying the country.

So, there ‘tis. 

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Americafirst

    A big problem with this article is that the founders of our Nation introduced the Constitution FOR The United states. We are now under the Constitution OF the United States which was never fully ratified and the Democrats know it. That is why the Democrats are violating amendments and the Bill of rights – because they CAN according to the invalidation of the Constitution OF The United States. However, they are all in acts of treason along with Rino’s and some uneducated Republican’s that don’t know this information regardless of which Constitution they follow or not follow, as it were. The Citizens of the United States and the Americans (there is a big difference between the two titles) are not taught correct government therefore do not know about all four Constitutions and how the fit in our America or did fit in; because of this uneducated fact, our North American public is allowing the Democrats to violate every rule, law and amendment due to them thinking the government knows what is best for all of us. W R O N G ! We are about to lose what was America due to ignorance and injustice of a handful of oligarchy billionairs that want to take over the entire world called Communism.

  2. Joe S Bruder

    The US government is a big insurance company that was created solely for the protection of its inhabitants. It’s a big country, disasters can be really big, and the government takes in a lot of tax money to pay for it. Social Security is nothing but retirement insurance that workers and companies pay for. Whenever a state has a big disaster, they lean on Uncle Sam. Big infrastructure programs – the federal government.

    I would say it’s actually a big savings and of great benefit to the people of the US. People who can’t work because of illness or accidents are taken care of. Seven out of eight seniors were living below the poverty line before retirement benefits in the form of SS (and later 401K’s) came along. To trust business to support workers after they’ve left the company is just asking the proverbial scorpion not to bite the frog – their business is to make money, not to pay it out. And the insurance companies that insure us for health care make a huge profit and have a built-in incentive not to pay out. Goverments don’t have a profit mandate (except maybe what was forced on the Post Office by Republicans wanting to cripple it for some reason).

    The US is still the most powerful country on Earth because of its ability to take care of its people, and still have enough resources to share with and help (and influence) other countries in need. We are not a third-world backwater (despite Trump’s best attempts) who has to run to the UN or World Bank to get bailed out of one crisis or another, or complains about not having enough money to protect our allies. Taxes take a relatively small percentage of income from those who can afford it and spread it around to where it best protects people and/or stimulates the economy. Is there waste and fraud? Yes, where there are people, there will be waste and fraud. Big companies manage to game the system to get favorable treatment, and some politicians get rich enabling those policies. During Trump’s reign (he really did think he was a king above the law), the uber-wealthy accumulated an ever-bigger share of the country’s wealth, enabled by Trump and Republicans (who also got their kick-backs). Only when taxes are collected fairly and money distributed fairly will that situation right itself. But all in all, the United States is the richest country in the world because of the government and how it operates. In fact, there’s nothing really special about (or even common among) the people of the US – they’re all different and usually pulling in different directions. Our country IS our government.

    Governments can follow the Socialist model (think Sweden) or the Authoritarian/Communist model (how about Belarus), or something in between. Sweden has the highest standard of living in Europe, Belarus, practically next door, has one of the lowest in Europe. You tell me which one you’d rather live in – the one who taxes the wealthiest at a fairly high rate and spends it wisely, or the one who demands loyalty, is not accountable to the people, and there’s no money and nothing to tax because there’s no investment in infrastructure or people.

    • Dan Tyree

      Joe I see that you finally came out of the closet and admitted that you support communism.

  3. Ben

    Larry, I was wondering how you would work in “racist Democrats.” There is much debate about how republicans recruited disenfranchised democratic voters via the Southern Strategy when pushed for civil rights.

    So I will offer a this, regardless of political affiliation, the real racists that enslaved blacks, counted them as 3/5 of a human being, enacted Jim Crow, private prisons, kept them from voting, red lined housing…. Were all white guys. Let’s agree that this isn’t a democratic vrs Republican issue, but a white vrs black, the ideals the founding fathers envisioned, vrs what America was and has become.

    There are amendments for a reason. The constitution is a living document. The constitution is what we the people say it is. I don’t see no issue in growing and adapting to the will of the people.

    • Dan Tyree

      All propaganda bull shit Ben. And you know it. Private prisons? Great idea. Build more and fill them up with repeat offenders and looters and burners

      • Ben

        “In order to form a MORE perfect Union”
        “Provide for the common good”
        Seems pretty easy to see why Uncle Sam should pay.

        • larry Horist

          Did you read the commentary? Uncle Sam is by far not the only source of beneficence — and not even the best source. Yes “to form a more perfect Union.” But not by forming a more powerful and authoritarian central government. We can provided for the “common good” through state and municipal government — and the private sector. You just do not believe in the American concept of limited government and the unique FEDERATED system the Founders designed.

    • larry Horist

      They were white DEMOCRATS. Their political affiliation and power is what oppressed blacks. White folks were on both sides of slavery … but the division between emancipation and slavery were Republicans (white and black, men and women) and Democrats (white men). Even after the war, the worst of segregation and black oppression was in what was called “the solid Democrat south” led by … white male Democrats.

      You need to read history. Check out why there was a 3/5 compromise. It was crafted to curtail the power in Congress of the slave states. Read Frederick Douglass’ explanation and the writings of the Founders. You are victimized by not knowing your history.

      The later thing you mentioned … red-lining — was the creation of Democrat political machines in the major cities to keep blacks segregated and impoverished. That is still happening in those cities that have had long-time Democrat political machines. Do you think urban segregation and oppression … lack of jobs, poor education, crappy housing, crumbling infrastructure … are the fault of the black residents? Or the Republicans who are nowhere to be seen in the power structure. You cannot possible be that blind or that stupid. But you can be that partisan.

      • Ben

        They were all white.
        Fixed it for you. You old white guys are all the same.

        • larry Horist

          Ben ..And they were all Democrats. You cannot escape that fact. I am curious. You say are us white guys are all the same. Does that mean you are not white? I gather you are younger since you railed in the past about us older people ruing your life. Of course, whenever anyone stereotypes people with “all” I know that are bigoted. Unlike you I do not stereotype. I like most people of every type … and never hated a person in my life. Even most Democrats are great people. But I will single out those who did bad things .. and are doing bad things … like segregating and oppressing minorities in our major cities.

        • Dan Tyree

          Ben is you a colored boy?

  4. frank stetson

    Larry, you didn’t source your assumptions; how do we know any of the factors on federal overspending are correct or are those ratios just theoretical, your best guess? Don’t want to research an estimate.

    There has always been push and pull between Federalists and Anti-Federalists predating our nation. The Articles of Confederation, that created our first very weak federal government, written in 1771, let states remain sovereign and independent with Congress as the last resort for disputes. Congress owned international, military maintenance, and could coin cash. They couldn’t tax or regulate national commerce. It took to 1781 to ratify because Anti-Federalists still thought too much power. It is the reason we are The United States of America.

    The founders deemed it a failed experiment, too weak a Federal Government renders it useless to add value. States would not play nice or even in the same sandbox. States refused to pay their portion of the national bill. The Federal Government was powerless to enforce. There was no national judiciary, just individual State legal systems which failed. There was no Executive Branch, that may have been a benefit :>)

    Larry, history and the founders have taught us there’s a moveable line for what the Federal Government is responsible for. And that’s a good thing. By 1788 they ratified the Constitution that redraws the line from the AoC. The Constitution is a living document with living ideas. The founders tried Distributed Control, ultimate Sovereign States, for over a decade, it failed. The founders had the courage to migrate to a Decentralized model with a Federal Government targeted for the least amount of control possible. That’s the idea. The demarcation line can move as the Founders showed us; they were brave enough to recognize it, move the line and change.

    I could add some insights to your other points, but wanted to note that our Founders already moved the line adding powers to the Federal Government. It is not a new thing. The debate still rages, it’s a good debate, there are pro’s and con’s to both sides, depends on the issue trying to be solved. Perhaps that the better discussion, the issues, versus always concluding the Federal government is too strong, too big, too many powers. Because Federalism and Ant-federalism will be debated long after our pens dry up.

    FYI – I am a staunch advocate of State’s Rights, think my line is just to the left of yours.