The Democratic ticket is now complete and the message is clear. If you are poor or middle class, you need Kerry (search) and Edwards (search) to make your life better. You can't do it on your own. Government will do it for you.

And what's more, because there is only so much money to go around and the rich are taking most of it, Kerry and Edwards will take it from the rich, and give it to the poor and middle class to make it fair.

How un-American!

When I was growing up, I never envied the rich. I wanted only the opportunity to be like them. I never demanded a rich person's money. I wanted to know what he or she did to get rich so I could follow that example. Now, Kerry and Edwards tell us that if I make $2 and you make $1, I owe you $0.50 just to make it fair.

The National Taxpayers Union (search) this week announced that we can finally start working for ourselves. We've been working for government until last Wednesday.

But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., (search) says government doesn't have enough of our money and we have too much of it. She told a group in San Francisco recently that if the democrats take back the White House, they'll also take back the tax cut so government can redistribute it.

Excuse me, but didn't we recently defeat a system with a similar philosophy? It's called socialism.

Whatever happened to doing for yourself first with government as a last resort, not a first resource?

The only one who can make your life better or worse is you. Government can't. But some politicians pretend it can because they want your vote and want you to believe you are too weak to succeed on your own.

To paraphrase John Kennedy: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for yourself.

But that's not what Kerry and Edwards will be asking in this campaign. They want you to believe you need them.

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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.