Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea and taxes

I first point everyone to 1) one of the many "Tax Day Tea Party" websites, and 2) a short, well written article on NPR explaining why the idea is odd to begin with (Religion Dispatches also has an excellent piece here). Here's the gist of the situation: yesterday, a bunch of conservatives got together in a "grassroots" (if ultra-conservative, ultra-psychotic Glenn Beck is one of the first and most vocal proponents, I don't think one can truly argue the movement is grassroots) movement to protest the stimulus package and, ultimately, how they feel the Democratic government is wrong in their spending.
Has the entire country gone nuts? I'm glad I'm leaving soon.
As proof of how short the attention span of the country really is, here is a news story from a mere six months ago - when, believe it or not, Bush was still president, and was pushing for an (wait, wait, don't tell me...) economic stimulus package. To quote the news story:
Bush defended the recent deep government intrusions into private business, which would have been extraordinary for any U.S. administration but have been particularly so for a Republican president.
I'm sorry, so exactly how is Obama's $700 billion stimulus package different from Bush's $700 billion stimulus package? It was much more of a shock for a Republican (read: staunch capitalist) to inject government money into private business than someone like Obama, who is a Democrat bordering on socialism. A socialist wishing to back business with government support is not all that strange (look at the UK car industry), but a true capitalist should, if he is to be believed, allow capitalism to work itself out - and that means lots of lost jobs, companies going bankrupt, and no government bailout. Capitalism is cutthroat.
A more politically conservative friend of mine quipped recently that "the problem with socialism is that you keep running out of other people's money." To this, I could only laugh and respond, "these days, it appears as though that's the trouble with capitalism as well."
Basically, the message is this: all you Tax Day Tea Partiers out there, shut up. You're allowing yourselves to be whipped up into a frenzy by conservative reporters whose job it is to do precisely that. I argued against the bailout plans months ago (see my post), but that doesn't mean I'm going out to a public park to throw away tea and threaten to not pay my taxes. You need to open your eyes and realize precisely what's going on here. You shouldn't be surprised that a semi-socialist government wishes to pump money into a failing capitalist economy, but last year, you should certainly have been surprised at a capitalist government which pushed to do just that. Alas, you didn't pay attention, and it appears you're not paying attention now.

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