When it comes to the memes that are disseminated on Facebook, I think I’ve reached the final straw. Therefore, what follows is a series of brief – and cranky – replies to the oh-so-deep political thoughts my acquaintances have shared with me in the past week.
Sayeth the first friend (with the help of Stephen King):
“Rich people should acknowledge that they wouldn’t have made it without America — that they should give back in proportion to what they’ve received.”
Wealth creation depends upon the rule of law, so yes — a rich man should thank America for his good fortune. The thing is, I don’t think there’s anyone on my side of the political aisle who doesn’t acknowledge the importance of infrastructure, police, fire, education, etc. — nor has any conservative ever proposed that being an American means being “on your own.” You – and Stephen King – are setting up a straw man instead of debating the real thing. Real conservatives agree that the government does and should have the power to tax the populace to arrange for the establishment of the aforementioned public goods. We merely insist that our money be fully accounted for.
Let me put it to you this way: Imagine your son fell into some financial difficulty and came to you for help paying his rent. Wouldn’t you resent it if he came back a few weeks later and asked for more because he was stupid and bought an X-Box instead of settling things with his landlord? That is how I feel about the government. It keeps asking me for more and more of my tax money without explaining where the last check went. Millions and millions of dollars are being pitched into circular files like Solyndra, and no apology is ever extended when these ventures are revealed to be colossal wastes. Personally, I think all Americans – rich and poor alike – should scream “Not one cent more!” until the entire federal government is audited and streamlined. It is frankly psychotic at this point to let out more rope when the nation is already hanging itself. What’s more, it’s immoral. We have a duty to ensure that our government spending is sustainable. To do otherwise is to countenance massive generational theft.
Oh, and by the way: The rich are already giving back in proportion to what they receive — and then some. According to the CBO, the top quintile makes 50.8% of the before-tax income generated in the United States and pays 67.9% of our federal income taxes. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Sayeth another friend (this time with the help of Mark Ruffalo):
“Why is it that Americans question putting more money into health care but don’t question how much we spend on the military?”
Hmm. Could it be the fact that the federal government would still run at a deficit even if we zeroed out the entire defense budget tomorrow? Or that providing for the nation’s defense is actually a Constitutionally-enumerated power of the federal government while providing for cradle-to-grave comprehensive health insurance is not? Or that the Affordable Care Act – popularly known as Obamacare – doesn’t actually fix the true problems with the health care delivery system in America?
Once again, I don’t know of any conservative who is satisfied with our health care status quo. What we object to is Obama’s top-down, bureaucratic nightmare of a solution. Health care costs are spiraling out of control in part because, in the health care market, the usual price signals have been completely obscured by our reliance on third-party payments. Then there are the trial lawyers, whose activities guarantee that doctors will overuse expensive tests and procedures to cover their own asses. Does Obamacare address either of these issues? And by the way, it also doesn’t help that this disaster of a law apparently empowers the HHS to infringe upon my conscience rights as a Catholic. To this, I say hell to the no.
“GOP: Choose between Ayn Rand or Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you’re doing it wrong.”
Okay — how can you possibly be a professor of political science and not know how our two-party system works? Because our political infrastructure is not kind to third-party bids, both the GOP and the Democratic Party are forced to behave as coalitions in order to absorb as much of the electorate as possible. So yes — our tent houses both the Objectivists and the Christians, but that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize how such groups differ on the issues of the day. As a matter of fact, we argue quite fiercely amongst ourselves.