From a Country with Rights
to all we really have now is
the Right to Pay.

As Americans we all know taxes.
There is the Income Tax, the Sales Tax;
there are Property Taxes, State and Local Taxes,
Utility Taxes,
Special Taxes, Dedicated Taxes,
Estate Taxes,
and the list goes on.

Yet it does not stop with taxes.
There are fees. Americans know fees.
And tolls.
And charges.
There are Bridge Tolls,
Parking Meters...
a toll to do this,
a toll to do that.

Whatever we do as Americans--
from the time we wake up,
turn on a light;
to when we turn on the TV, internet, phone;
to when we start our cars,
buy groceries,
turn on the heat --
there are taxes, and fees and charges.
The list is long.

Americans have become a revenue source. We are less citizens now as much as we function as assets.
There are financial analysts, actuaries, and "experts"
on Wall Street,
in China,
in Europe,
in the Middle East;
in Washington D.C.,
every State Capitol,
County Seat,
and City Hall
who are calculating how much money can be gotten from the American citizen as consumer,
as rate payer,
as payer of fees and charge,
etc, etc, etc.

This is current.
It isn't "going to happen" ... it is now and it has been happening and slowly and even quickly getting worse for years.

You might think in your idealism that America is all about rights and freedoms and all that great stuff.
But that is the easy part.
The hard part of being American is the part where we have to pay for everything.
And it is overwhelming us.

Your question and your essay --
is to explain and discuss the how and the why of the American citizen turned into asset...
the how and the why America has descended from a Country of Rights
to in function and practice and reality
all we have is The Right to Pay.

Begin with a clarification and discussion of U.S. Federal Budgets --
which because there is no requirement of balance --
are essentially spending plans --
dating back to Reagan's first Budget.
Attention should be given to Bush W's first and last Budgets,
as well as Obama's first and last Budgets
with further clarification of both Bush W's and Obama's defense/military sub-budgets.

End with the answer of what can we do about this do we fix it.

Note: This question is authored and presented by management/staff
who is solely responsibility for judging the essay entries. There is no timeline. When the winning essay is submitted the prize will be awarded.
Good luck to all those who step forward.