By David Bozeman - Periodically, when tired of rebutting claims that taxes are too high, liberals just hold their heads back, and, with a self-satisfied smirk, proclaim that taxes are good. Some will even admit to a fetish of liking to pay taxes and wanting to pay more.
Columnist Leonard Pitts recently penned a semi-gushing salute not only to taxes but to the safety net they supposedly provide.
Pitts detailed the circumstances of 56 year-old delivery truck driver James, who lost his job. James finally found employment in a convenience store, but he suffered from back pain and arthritis, among other maladies, and could not perform the simplest tasks. Discovering a lump on his chest, and with no health insurance, he applied for disability and early Social Security, but qualified for neither. Pitts failed to mention if James had applied for Medicaid.
Desperate and in pain, James walked into a bank and passed a note to the teller demanding $1 and medical attention. He never showed a weapon but was taken to jail where, according to Pitts, he now has “shelter, food and, yes, medical care.”
While Pitts admittedly did not condone his actions, he expressed empathy. “I pay my taxes. I consider it a patriotic obligation — a sacrifice for the greater we.” He then carries on with the generic rant against “anti-government forces that have dominated political debate…To hear them tell it, to be taxed is to be robbed. And every federal program our taxes support is wasteful and unnecessary.”
Pitts also discards the idea that government-run health care amounts to socialized medicine, and then claims that under socialism someone such as James would not have been driven to such an extreme (makes you wonder why the poor risk life and limb to flee socialist economies).
Sorry, Leonard, but your account of James doesn’t make your case. We “anti-government” forces would have no problem with an individual such as James receiving help, but, according to your very words, Social Security and disability were denied by those outposts of compassion known as government agencies. As an aside, I bet bureaucrats in suburban Washington, D.C. aren’t faring too badly these days.
Pitts rhetorically asks if insurance companies such as Aetna really have your best interests at heart. We “complainers” would like to see Aetna compete with many other companies for the consumer’s dollar, and we would like to see a national safety net comprise state and local programs, as well as private charities. We want to offer James more options from which to choose, as opposed to an all-encompassing, budget-bloating Obama-style system. Now tell me again whose plan is more compassionate.
Pitts continues with the same turgid civics lesson we’ve all endured: taxes maintain our military, educate our children and fill the potholes. Furthermore, if you support police protection and garbage pickup, then, hey, you’re a socialist, too!
Hey, Leonard, here’s a quick primer on the mindset of anti-government forces dominating (if only!) political debate. As Rush Limbaugh once noted, there is a profound difference between lower taxes and no taxes, between smaller government and anarchy.
The reach of the state into individual lives, far from being the lament of a disgruntled few, has been the defining argument of America since our founding. Tea Partiers believe that programs intended to help the needy should also not induce dependency.
Furthermore, the purpose of federal power is to preserve state and individual autonomy on most matters outside of national security. It is not aid to the sick that many taxpayers protest, it is the gaseous, centralized federal behemoth (of the sort that denied James help) that feeds on itself at the expense of working America that has finally raised some ire.
Even union leaders and other loyal Democrats are requesting waivers from ObamaCare, which signifies hope. A slight dose of cynicism of federal over-reach and taxation secures everyone’s liberty.
Those who brag about their affinity for the tax collector just want to advertise their own self-perceived nobility and their evolvement above those ingrate Tea Partiers. But the most loyal sponsors of government largesse are the most docile conformists, and the enduring institutions that aid our most vulnerable — church, charity, capitalism, state and local autonomy — were not founded on conformity to the federal government.
David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.