16 April 2009

Would Someone Explain This?

The "tea parties." Those Tax Day protests yesterday. What precisely were they protesting? I did a little reading, and noticed that there were Libertarians who want to abolish the IRS (no surprise there), but what dog do anti-abortion activists have in this hunt? And the woman shouting 'no taxation with representation' for the TV coverage was especially puzzling. How does she figure that?

Near as I can make out the complaint is about taxes, nothing new there, but that somehow they are worse with a new administration and Congress. Show where they are worse? I can't find out. Yes, there is the proposal to allow tax rates to rise on those who make more than $250k a year. That's less than one household in a hundred, which makes the idea of populist outrage hard to believe.

OK, there is the problem of paying for the stimulus stuff, and that IS a big deal. But what I read was not a demand to show how this will happen but accusations, name calling, demagoguery, calling the president a socialist and that we are all now "oppressed" by Washington, at least compared to, say, three months ago. Has so much changed that we have become a proto-communist state waiting for guidance from China and North Korea?

Or worse, Sweden!

Genuine popular unrest comes from the truly afflicted - the poor, the hungry, the 'huddled masses yearning to breathe free.' What I saw and read came from lots of conservatives who are, frankly, PO'd that they are not in charge any more. I giggle at the thought of all those marginalized and oppressed millionaires and billionaires who are at risk of being a less rich, whom I did not see in the streets. I understand they helped pay for the events though. I guess that makes those in the protests effectively 'servants' of the besieged wealthy. Too bad they were not actually paid, which would have made it a more honest economic transaction.

Sorry for the rant, but I just wrote some big checks to my national, state and city government yesterday while also taking a voluntary 5% reduction in pay for 2009 to help balance my church's books, and while yes, that costs me money, I have been profoundly blessed by this nation. Paying some of that forward, even though it means I will have a little less now, not only seems right it feels good too.

But hey, I am an oddball. I was never much of a tea drinker in the first place.


Revwilly said...

Fred,one of the things you need to take into consideration is that conservatives just don't know how to do the demonstration thing. That's been the domain of liberals who have it down to an art. And honestly, I don't really get what they are all about either.

Bill Baar said...

easy... people are really mad about bailouts.

It would have made more sense to Nationalize the banks along the lines of ConRail then this fiasco.

WFW said...

You are so right, but what stopped us from doing that? I say us, because thinking of government as 'them' allows us to assume the passive victim role, powerless etc.

My own view is that government is essentially an insurance service - insuring all those preamble things - and when the people or their institutions fail at that or threaten it, government has a role in redressing it.

For example, criminals violate domestic tranquility. Police and the courts redress that. Tainted foods or dangerous cars threaten the general welfare, so governmant has a role in insuring what we buy is not dangerous.

Note, I said 'a role' not the only role. But my libertarian fudnamentalist friends veer toward a theology of government as the source of sin. Sort of a Manichean political philosophy.

At any rate, failure to admit that government has a 'governing' role to play in times of crisis ruined the idea you and others had, resulting in this cobbled and hobbled solution we have adopted.

As ever, we have a camel instead of a horse because it was built by a committee.

Bill Baar said...

You are so right, but what stopped us from doing that?Obama didn't want too. Tim "Turbo-Tax" Geithner didn't want too.

The Chicago Machine Democratic model is to manage corporations with contracts and political influence e.g. Bill Daley at JPMorgan Chase... Chicago's about privatizing assets... that's what's become of the left these days. Obama's from the heart of the beast: the Chicago Regular Democratic Organization, and he was weaned by our City's only Sewer Inspector in Gucci's and Cashmere: ex-Illinois Senate Prez Emil Jones.

Gonna be a long four years... let's hope we survive it.