EYKIW: I SHRUNK THE GOVERNMENT AND DROWNED IT
Tue, 19 Jul 2011 18:45:20
I've never been much impressed with the faux revolutionary garb of the Tea Party, but they do represent a philosophical strain that is part of our history-resistance to taxation. In colonial times it was no taxation without representation. It wasn't about the size of government, it was control of their local government that mattered.
The Tea Party sees taxes as the food that feeds the governmental beast. To them, the deficit is the glutton government's unpaid restaurant bill. They want to starve the government to punish it for ruining their lives. It's much easier to rail against the Not Me in the White House and all those greedy entitled Americans living like kings off social security, and having all those unnecessary, Medicare supported, life saving operations. To the Tea Party faithful and their fellow travelers, these are the new welfare cheaters.
Let us not forget the religious factor in this debt ceiling debate. The United States is the most religious First World country around-always has been. The Great Awakening inspired the American Revolution, and religion was expected to keep our republic on the straight and narrow. We did away with established religion, but always saw the local church and the local school as our culture's moral glue.
What has happened now, is that the self serving, unscrupulous money interests controlling the new anti-tax movement have convinced it's adherents that the free market- free of taxes and regulations- is part of God's economic plan. Adam Smith's invisible hand has been replaced by the overreach of the Angry Old Man who rewards the rich, and turns his face from the poor.
Bill Clinton, who never ran away from a fight, says we should invoke the 14th Amendment and let the courts come after us. You go, Bill! Enough of this hair-brained brinkmanship. If the true believers are willing to bring us down to make a point, then call their bluff and let them try twist in the wind.