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Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly]

In Memoriam: Freedom
The more a state provides, the more a state can take away
by Ray Haynes 5/24/03

Each Memorial Day, we pause from our busy schedule to remember those who sacrificed their lives so we can be free. Two recent events had me thinking about liberty, and its slow destruction here in California. First, I watched as the US troops moved into downtown Baghdad and helped tear down the statue of Saddam Hussein. Second, my father-in-law received the honor guard burial he so richly deserved after his years of military service. When the commanding officer of the honor guard handed the flag to my wife and spoke the lines “On behalf of the President of the United States, and a grateful nation…” I was reminded of the reaction my father-in-law had to the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was serving as a tank battalion commander in Berlin when the Wall went up. When it came down, he cried. He told me that he had spent his whole life fighting the oppression that the Berlin Wall represented, and knew, when that Wall came down, his work had not been in vain. Those thoughts got me thinking about how little many in Sacramento value our freedom.

Most people in this state, and in this nation, want to worship as they please; work where they choose; speak their minds on the issues of the day; associate with whom they wish; live where they want and provide for their families. They want to do this without interference from the government. Under Hussein, to do these things would have gotten you shot. In most of the countries in this world today, freedom is a foreign concept, elusive and incomprehensible. Too many live under oppression that represses ideas and initiative, and leaves people without dignity, self-respect or property. It is incumbent upon us, as Americans, therefore to make sure that the concept of freedom does not die in this world.

Private property, free enterprise, and political freedom are each necessary for the other to exist. Every expandion of government comes at the expense of at least one of thse concepts. Every shift in the balance of power from the people to the government makes further expansion of state power easier. The more a state provides, the more a state can take away, and the state can use that threat to accumulate even more power.

According to the state budget, we have added some 43,000 new employees in the last four years. We are feverishly building new buildings all around the capitol to house these state employees. At a time of record budget deficits, government continues to grow unabated. To continue to fund this bureaucracy, the legislature has proposed at least 100 ways to tax you under the guise of various fees and assessments. These “user fees” are nothing more than ways to avoid the two-thirds vote requirement the Constitution requires to raise taxes.

Too often, we let them take our homes, our property and our freedom. The cost of every home sold in this state is assessed at a minimum between $30,000 and $50,000 to cover costs and fees imposed by government. They decide where homes can be built and how big they are.

They want you out of your car and in mass transit so they build car pool lanes, buy buses and lay more rail instead of widening or building new freeways where you languish in traffic every day.

They tell businesses who to hire and how much to pay them, while assessing them worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance costs, forcing many businesses to leave the state or close their doors.

They tell you where your child has to go to school, and they determine what they learn while there. Compared to other states we are nearly dead last in reading, writing, reading, math, science and history. Yet the system does not change, and we are forced to endure the status quo.

They openly advocate ‘Ending Poverty’ in this state. The only way to do that is to take from those that have and give to those that do not. This is Socialism. Socialism enacted is the end of freedom, the demise of liberty. Socialism is a cancer feeding upon our citizens.

Too often we stand idly by as a neighbor’s property is seized by government without just cause or compensation; too often the silent majority fails to be heard as freedoms are stripped away one by one; too often taxes are raised again and again to feed the machinery of bureaucracy without significant protest. California is not alone, but it is quickly becoming the worst by far.

Let us not forget why our young men and women have fought, and why many have died. Not just to preserve this country, but to preserve what we believe. Let’s not let Memorial Day become nothing more than the first day of summer here in California.

My father-in-law knew that oppression had ended in Eastern Europe when the Germans tore down the Wall. Iraqis knew oppression had ended in their country when they tore down Saddam’s statue. We in California will know that oppression in California has ended when we tear up the books of regulations, repeal tyrannical laws and eliminate oppressive taxes that now infringe on every part of our lives.



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