Pursuit of happiness

“The American Dream!” When was the last time you heard someone echo that sentiment? I don’t really want to be a “Debbie Downer” but I am going to walk through some real challenges in accomplishing that 240-year-old goal.

Clearly, the American Dream starts with home ownership for most. I would like to talk about land ownership but honestly the percentage of Americans who own over 40 acres is insignificant. Uncle Sam says that 65.8% of Americans own their own home, and that means a third pay rent.

I started down this path because of my desire to maintain property rights. You show me, throughout the course of human history, when a man lost his property rights but did not lose liberty at the same time. In the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act is a provision to funnel another $369 million into “conservation” programs. Yes, and on July 27, another “conservation” movement was introduced in the Senate called the North America Grassland Conservation Act, which would inject another $300 million into “conservation.”

The concept of “conservation” has been hijacked and the powers that be are removing your property rights in the name of saving the environment. You read the details about any conservation payment agreements and they are dedicated to improving wildlife habitat but never once do they mention expanding food production. When I hear someone talking about his ESG (Environmental Social Governance) score, I remind him this actually stands for “Earth Starvation Gimmick.”

I have had a moment to pause and think about this property ownership dream that we have falsely been led to believe. We bought our place. We did not inherit it, which, in all honesty, is a cheaper way to go. Who would ever believe that if you inherit something that has been in your family for 100 years you would need to get a loan to keep it or even worse have to sell part of it off just to pay the inheritance tax? Sadly, this is happening as we speak.

As I said earlier we are buying our place and we pay interest on the loan so that we can produce food and fiber to improve human lives. Then we pay 3% of the purchase price to governmental entities in property taxes each year just so we can say we own it. That means that since we purchased it, we are fast approaching paying the government half of the purchase price in taxes alone.

We know the economy in this regard is not good. I am also pointing to a bit of reality. How many times have you heard someone say, “Well they offered me some money in an easement. It’s not much but it will at least pay my taxes.” Yep, it will pay your taxes and now you pay interest and you pay taxes on your land and someone else ultimately controls how you use it.

A quick search indicates that the phrase “Taxation without representation” was first used in the United States in the 1760s, clearly before there was a U.S. We are given the opportunity for representation but far too many simply do not exercise the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution, namely the freedom of speech. The answer to truly fulfilling the American Dream is using all of the rights granted by God that were assured by the Founding Fathers.

I will just close with the wisdom of Ben Franklin:

“We have given you a Republic. It remains to be seen if you will be able to retain it.”

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the views of High Plains Journal. Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.LoosTales.com, or email Trent at [email protected].