Friday, March 20, 2009

I Understand You're Tired, but a Tax Revolt's not the Right Answer

Don Cooper has a good post on expressing general disgust with government and recommending a tax revolt. I wholeheartedly agree with his sentiments, but a tax revolt is the wrong answer. Not because it wouldn't work, but because it addresses the problem at the wrong level. While it's true that government couldn't exist without our financial support, our ideological support is much more important. What's worse, we can see our money going to taxes (or at least some of it), but most of us have no idea that our beliefs and values are the foundation of government.

The primary question of politics is this: should decisions be made by individuals for themselves, or by a smaller group of individuals for everyone? Most people claim to believe the former, but when push comes to shove, invariably favor the latter. This is the core of the problem. Government exists and is powerful because we want it to exist and be powerful. Until we change our minds on this, tax revolt, "throw the bums out", etc., won't work.

There's also quite a bit of denial surrounding this issue. For example, some of us believe that everything would be O.K. if only we put everything back the way it was in the 50's. Others believe that everything would be all right if only we got the right people into office. Both groups of people really believe in government; they just disagree with the current implementation.

Really fixing things requires as a prerequisite withdrawing our beliefs and not just our tax dollars. If this is done, a tax revolt is irrelevant except that it may speed up things. If it is not done, a tax revolt is irrelevant at best.

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