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Cutting government theft for only pennies a day

Pennies a day

Would you be more concerned about a thief who steals pennies from you or one who steals thousands of dollars from you?  If you're like a lot of Americans, you'd be more concerned about the one who steals pennies.

Many Americans are angry about Tom DeLay and other members of Congress using the power of their office to obtain free trips and other payoffs from corporations, the cost of which is passed to consumers in higher prices for goods and services, amounting to pennies for each American.  At the same time, the same Americans remain in a permanent apathetic state about Congress stealing thousands of dollars from them.

I have calculated that 62 percent of the $2.5 trillion federal budget is theft.  That's 31 times more theft than in 1900, when only two percent of the federal budget was theft.  Today's theft comes to a whopping $1.5 trillion, or $5,535 for every American and $15,000 for every household. 

By "theft," I mean money that is taken from some people and redistributed to other people and special interests in the form of subsidies, grants, tax breaks, welfare and entitlements.  Such theft is the opposite of spending on the common good - that is, on such government services as national defense and public safety that benefit all citizens equally.

The theft of $1.5 trillion amounts to $2.8 billion apiece for each of the 535 members of Congress, which should be renamed the Big House, a place where thieves go to learn new tricks of the trade from other thieves.  It would be cheaper to give each of the Big House inmates a $2,000 daily expense account for travel to exotic locales, including rooms at swank hotels, first-class airfare, and the rental of limousines.  After all, the more time that they spend on a beach in Tahiti on a "fact-finding mission," the less time they will spend in Washington engaging in grand larceny.

Daily travel expenditures of $2,000 would amount to an annual expense for all 535 inmates of $390 million, or $1.35 for each American.  That's $5,533.65 less per American than what the felons currently steal.  What a bargain!

Just think, there would be no need for campaign finance laws, because, as thievery shrinks, government would shrink; and as government shrinks, political power would shrink; and as political power shrinks, the number of lobbyists would shrink; and as the number of lobbyists shrinks, corporations would go back to producing goods and services instead of kowtowing to their political benefactors.

With the thieves in Tahiti, all of a sudden the country would no longer hear AARP bark about taking more money from our kids and grandkids for greedy geezers.  And Ethanol producers and thousands of other corporate special interests would no longer descend on Washington like a plague of locusts descending on an Iowa cornfield.  The country would be tranquil, prosperous and moral.  The deficit would disappear, and our children would not be facing a lifetime of indentured servitude.

Of course it's all a pipe dream.  Being in a permanent apathetic state, Americans are more concerned about pennies being stolen from them than about thousands of dollars being stolen from them.  And that's why the country is doomed.  

By Craig J. Cantoni
May 4, 2005
Mr. Cantoni is an author, columnist and founder of Honest Americans Against Legal Theft (  He can be reached at






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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM