This week in Ames, Iowa all 10 GOP candidates raised their hands to affirm that they would reject a budget plan that raised government revenues by $1 for every $10 of reduced spending. I thought the question was intended to be ludicrous, but it took on a rather ominous connotation with the uniformly absurd response of the Republicans on stage and the applause they received from their audience.
The issue of refusing to raise taxes is not about solving the budget problem. The only time since the 1960s that the budget was balanced and a surplus was generated was when President Clinton raised taxes as well as reduced expenditures. Virtually every economist has agreed that increased revenue is essential. It’s not about creating jobs either, because the only history of the relationship between taxes and jobs growth since the Clinton surplus has been exactly the opposite of what Conservatives claim – the more taxes have been lowered, the less jobs have been created.
So if there is no rational economic argument for refusing to raise taxes as well as reduce spending, in what reality does the Tea Party exist? Tea Party radicals reject reality in favor if ideology. They refuse to allow any increase in revenues because their real agenda is not economic, it is political: they believe that they can destroy the US Government by starving it of tax revenues. They equate less government with more liberties, a proposition that is not entirely without merit, except when carried to their extremes.
These are the kind of liberties the Tea Party would produce for us: the freedom to not have a response from Police or Fire Departments; the freedom to drive on dirt roads instead of highways; the freedom to lose our life savings by unregulated banks; the freedom to drink polluted water and breathe polluted air; the freedom to allow corporations to run the government… well, maybe you get the idea.
That’s what makes the response of the 10 GOP candidates so ominous: they buy into the idea of destroying the government to save us all. Our credit was downgraded because S&P 500 believed that the politics of debt reduction would sabotage any debt reduction. This is just a preview of what those radicals have in mind for the good old USA.