The United States is a very interesting place. The home of the free and land of the brave, supposedly (I don’t know what makes us any more free or brave than, say, England.) We are a very diverse bunch. We are a nation of immigrants, from all over the world. We have multiple religions, ideologies, and political beliefs, despite the lack of representation for the last.
However, many of our quarrels come down to the decision between just two things. No other of such arguments have been as long lasting, and perhaps as bitter, as the the fight between big and small government. This argument has been fought since the very beginning, even during Washington’s presidency, in which he warned us about the pitfalls of party politics (in his farewell address.). Oh, how we listened to our most respected founding father.
The next election was between the Federalists and Anti-federalists. What separated these two parties? Not much more than the argument between small and big government.
And it is still fought today.
Today, we run this odd mix between the two forms of government. In a modern twist to a classic presidential quote, the American people seem to “ask what their country can do for them, not what they can do for their country.” Now, this would be fine, bigger government and all, so long as the government taxed us like a big government, but they don’t. Americans don’t like taxes.
We want to pay less, and get more. We have had presidents campaign on “no new taxes,” and we can even see republicans in congress, now, that are outraged at the notion of new taxes.
Here’s the thing. I am a small government guy. I like the idea of small government and small taxes. I like the idea of a community fixing, or building, a park in the neighborhood, as opposed to securing government funds and workers to do such projects. I like the idea of soup kitchens, churches, and charity taking care of the poor, as opposed to mandatory taxes being allocated for such ventures.
But, as long as Americans keep asking for more and more government, we have to be willing to pay, financially, for such programs. It should be no question as to why the government can’t afford to continue the path it is on.
Now, this is clearly quite watered down, but the principle seems sound. We, Americans, need to either scale our government down to match the size of current tax revenue, or scale taxes up to the current rate of government spending.
So which one?