Monday, November 14, 2011

Want smaller government? You got it!

One of the easiest ways to get elected is to promise smaller government and lower taxes. It sounds great as rhetoric because it's removed from context. In first world countries, there is an equation, a link between taxes paid and services to citizens provided. Different countries define that equation in different ways but it's there in every developed country. One of the most brilliant things strategically the American far right has done is to break that link, to focus only on the undesirable part (taxes) without discussing their relationship to the desirable part (services).

I'd have less problem with the smaller government/lower taxes rhetoric if its espousers were honest about the consequences. Yeah, they sometimes use rhetoric like "We all have to make sacrifices" (all usually meaning the 99%) or "tough choices have to be made. But it's all passive tense stuff, vague, nebulous and deliberately evasive. Just once, I'd like someone to have the guts to run for office on the platform of "crappier roads" or "higher crime."

Here are a few examples I've heard in the media recently about people who got their desire for smaller government...

-School districts across Indiana are getting rid of busing;

-Some municipalities are dealing with budget shortfalls by turning off streetlights;

-Warren County (NY) tried to seriously scale back its meals for seniors program until town supervisors (all conservatives) in the municipalities affected revolted.

It's funny how everyone loves smaller government and lower taxes when it's a theory but a bit less so when it actually affects them (THEM!). No wonder conservatives typically avoid being completely honest about the *full* consequences of their rhetoric.

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