Our resident socialist calls the Tea Party out and reminds them governing is hard
By Rod Brooker
Tea Party people: I get it. I get you. Tell me if I’m wrong.
You wish things were simpler. You want things that work with much less government. You don’t want to give your hard-earned money to a wasteful government. You want a job for everyone who wants one, and you want everyone to want one. You want to buy and sell American. You want parents to parent, and teachers to teach. You want society to have a moral basis.
When I was 12, Dad drove us from Castle AFB in central California down to Anaheim – Disneyland! Just inside the entrance was Main Street U.S.A., an idealization of the early 20th Century. That resonated with my parents, who said it showed the way things used to be. The problem was, I realized many years later, they hadn’t a bit of personal knowledge about the turn of the 20th Century, because they wouldn’t be born until 20 years after. Regardless, I admit to still being seduced, today, by the quaint, down-home honesty that is still depicted on Main Street U.S.A. by the Disney artisans over in Orlando.
Tea Party people, I could be one of you. My people were and are honest, taxpaying folks without a single night in jail amongst the clan. None of us would expect a medal for that; it’s the way it should be. We’ve lived middle class lives by dint of hard work. Those now gone had a coach seat on the flight to meet our Maker. There are decades of military service among us. I learned values at the knees of people who are giants to me.
Having just bonded with you, Tea Party people, here it comes. You seem to me to be people looking for Main Street U.S.A. So how do you find it? Let me set up an assumption and ask more questions.
Assume by 2012 you win the White House and control both houses of Congress. Three-fourths of judges at all levels have resigned and been replaced by the new Tea administration. The body politick is all yours. Have at it: lower taxes, less government, a return to values.
Which taxes do you lower? Be fairly specific here, and think of what the taxes pay for. Lower property taxes? Great idea. But doesn’t part of them pay for schools? What happens to schools? Do we privatize education? There are people who can’t or won’t pay to send their kids to school. What happens to those kids? What are the odds they will fill the high-paying technology jobs that are always just around the corner? Is there maybe a chance we’d have to beef up law enforcement and the penal system to accommodate the ignorant unemployed? Who would pay for that?
That was too easy for me to ask. Too obvious. A cheap shot set up to produce a negative outcome. So let’s try again. Let’s talk about bloated bureaucracies in Tampa, Tallahassee, and D.C. Let’s whack a bunch of bureaucratic parasites! Are there entire departments you’d eliminate? Which ones? Maybe just fire a percentage of employees of all departments, across the board? Say 20-30 percent of all government workers? Who would the Angel of Death pass over? Would the bureaucrats line up and draw lots?
Okay, they’re gone and wasteful programs are eliminated. We cut taxes. To get all economic now, what happens to those disappeared people? Do the tax cuts dump enough money into the private sector to create enough high-paying technology jobs to get the former bureaucrats off the street? Do we miss at least some of the vanished government services? A tax cut worked in the 1980s. It failed miserably in the 2000s as the economy went into the flusher and government debt ballooned.
Whoaaaaa! Government debt? What are we going to do with that? For nearly a century it’s been swept under the carpet, which now looks like the Matterhorn. I say We the People have to start making regular payments, however small, on government debt.
So in 2013, Tea Party people, we have millions of former government employees looking for work, we have fewer government services, some which we might actually miss, and that cha-ching you hear is interest accumulating on the debt.
It doesn’t look like Main Street U.S.A. to me. It looks pretty grim, and I need you to explain things and reassure me. Give me the specifics that I can’t grasp on my own. We haven’t even looked at instilling monocultural values in a polycultural nation. Maybe the best we can hope for in that regard is honest, hard-working, tax-paying, no jail time.
Rod Brooker, a former Socialist hippie, is in fact a centrist who desperately wants things to work, and suggests that we stop screaming and start listening. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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