Those job-killing tax increases, they are a problem. Just listen to any member of the GOP talk about the economy, budget, or government, and you will hear the refrain; “Tax increases kill jobs!” As an advertising slogan, it is only slightly less ubiquitous than “This Bud’s For You” or “Always Low Prices”. To be clear, I understand that conservatives do not like taxation, that they believe taxes support functions that shouldn’t be handled by the democracy, that any taxes should be flat taxes. These are all respectable, perfectly understandable ideological concepts. I disagree with them, but accept them as viable arguments.
Constantly labeling taxes as “job-killers” is another matter entirely. Constantly labeling taxes as job-killers is at best an unsupported assertion, and at worst an outright lie. There is nothing wrong with arguing the concept of taxes, or about what they support, but you need to show proof to make the affirmative statement that they kill jobs, and the proof just isn’t there. We covered this topic here before, but it bears repeating; no matter how you slice it, no one has ever been able to point to a period where tax cuts, by themselves, generated GDP growth or accelerated job creation. In fact, the opposite is true. We the people have two shining, large scale examples in the recent past to look at; the Clinton tax increases that came with the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993, and the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.
America’s real Libertarians have the distinction of consistency over the last several years. Far different from their Republican cousins, who throw around terms like “small government”, “fiscal responsibility”, and “liberty”, Libertarians actually believe in those terms. That isn’t to say that I agree with the whole of their premise, but I do appreciate a political philosophy that accepts the consequences, good and bad, of its practice.
Libertarians believe in the most narrow interpretation of the Constitution, and in particular the commerce clause. They also believe in a minimum of intervention by state and local governments in the activities of citizens. This is an all-encompassing belief; social issues like sexual preference are off limits because civil liberties are absolute. Libertarians are close cousins of fiscal/business conservatives, and are as far removed from social conservatives as they are from liberal democrats. Their views on the size and scope of government, and the corresponding tax rates necessary to maintain needed activities have made libertarianism a natural political pairing for the Tea Parties.
The Real America, according to Hannity, Beck, Palin, and others, exists only in those states that are dominated by Republican politics. A cornerstone of the toxic labeling of today’s politics, the concept that liberals and their liberal states aren’t truly American has become the excuse du jour for dismissing political thought. Real Americans, apparently, reside in the rural areas of the Midwest and Southeast. They are all evangelical Christians who believe that the Founding Fathers established a Bible-based nation. They are also, it would seem, all libertarians who demand the complete withdrawal of the democracy from American life.
These rules that have been established, by the few and for the benefit of the many, are absolute and irrefutable. Catholics who don’t subscribe to the Catholic League diatribes of William A. Donohue are apparently excluded from American status. Liberals especially, need not apply; indeed the whole history of America where liberals have had involvement is being rewritten. FDR is no longer the rallying point for the greatest generation against the Nazis and Japanese, he was just in the right place at the right time. JFK no longer faced down Nikita Khrushchev, started the U.S. on the path to nuclear submarine dominance, or inspired the world changing space race. The America that once embraced, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore”, no longer has room for the full measure of its own native sons and daughters.
It was 234 years ago that the Jefferson-penned Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from the 13 crown colonies of North America. First and foremost, the signing was an act of treason against the Crown and, during the time of Manifest Destiny, and act of sacrilege. While Jefferson and the founders are often acknowledged for their bravery, it was the meticulous legal craftsmanship of the Declaration that proclaimed the credibility of a nation. This move was not a hectic power-grab, nor was it politics run amok. Thomas Jefferson took great care in explaining the case for separation from England.
It is perhaps necessary, in our current political climate, to explain the reasons for rebellion to a new generation of patriots. If our great nation is to see another 200 years, we must all have a clear understanding of our origins. Anyone presuming to talk or write of the simplicity of those origins is either ignorant of the truth, or else ignoring the truth. More than five years of war followed the signing of the Declaration; the construction of the Constitution took a further six. The men who framed the Declaration, rebellion, and Constitution that followed, were farmers and tradesman, lawyers and doctors, pastors and soldiers. The Founding Fathers were anything but a uniform group of idealists.
I have, over the past months, outlined areas of President Obama’s performance that I felt warranted severe criticism. His virtual censure of the single-payer option in the health care reform battle, his deal-making with the pharmaceutical industry during the same process, his choice to steer clear of financial reform last spring, his stance on Afghanistan (which seems to be a vanilla option between liberal and conservative rather than a real strategy), and his inability to clearly define U.S. policy as it relates to the nation of Israel; all of these warrant criticism.
But Mr. Obama’s critics on the right need no real issue to complain about; they are content to find fault with the President’s very act of breathing. For liberals, there is a very different dynamic at work; falling directly into the very stereotype that U.S. conservatives label them with. Liberals, it seems, just want it all now without having to do any dirty work. The Big Spill, its aftermath, and the President’s speech on the issue are but a microcosm of the way lazy, petulant liberals treat their champion. Without choosing to see the big picture, and eschewing the work that the President told our nation would be necessary on the campaign trail, liberals are proving that they actually believed what conservatives were telling them about Barack Obama.
At this moment in America, the United States Chamber of Commerce is fighting regulations on the handling of lead in older buildings. Once an umbrella group for millions of small businesses in our nation, the Chamber has become a magnet of irresponsibility and heavy industry excess. What is worse, for the Chamber, is that they are no longer on the leading edge of anything. They don’t fight for Mom and Pop businesses, nor do they represent anything resembling a coherent strategy for national business success. The Chamber of Commerce waits in the wings until their leadership hears what their masters in the conservative movement tell them to do.
Currently the message is simple; a vast majority of conservative outlets, from Fox to the Chamber, are all determined to saddle President Obama and liberals with responsibility for the Gulf Spill and its effects. Almost unbelievably, they are trying to saddle the federal government with the responsibility to fix this mess. The Rational Middle has no qualms with liberal anger against the Obama Administration concerning the Spill; liberals, after all, want government to take steps to prevent and/or mitigate market failures. But conservatives?