If I did my paperwork correctly, I should receive a small tax rebate this year of $335. Which is not enough to get back at the City of New York, who still have 417 of my dollars. But it is nice. 

In my hometown, five hundred people gathered outside the courthouse yesterday to protest the so-called “Axis of Taxes,” which is composed of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Clever signs read “Here comes Congress. Hide your wallet,” “Obama: Commander and Thief,” and “Let me spend my own money.”

I had no idea that these Tea Parties were happening until they had already happened, which is why I would be a terrible reporter. My friend and co-worker organized the protest here, and while I love her dearly, I’m afraid this Tea Party idea is a little late. 

My folks, who are good Republicans, are awash with anxiety over Obama’s budget. “We’re going down the path to socialism,” my dad says and adds, “And we’re gonna have inflation.” And on he rants, discrediting everything from global warming to medicare. 

My fifth grade students, most of whom belong to conservative Christian households, have even told me that Barack Obama is the antichrist. Which tells me that their parents actually believe that: The sense of apocalyptic doom. The devastation. 

But I must ask, why now? Why do these so-called conservatives wait until now to protest government spending in such an organized fashion? They were happy to look the other way the last eight years, while Bush Jr. ratcheted up government spending more than any president since Lyndon Baines Johnson. And yesterday, they were more than happy to ignore Bush’s hand in this year’s deficit spending.

But very few conservatives I’ve spoken to know where Bush’s last fiscal budget topped out at. He put forward a 3.1 trillion dollar budget just over a year ago (cf. Obama’s 3.6 trillion this year). Did my parents bat a fucking eyelash? Did anyone in my ultra-conservative hometown?

That budget also assumed that we’d be out of Iraq by 2009. 

No. The basic premise for most Republicans, especially the ones who voted for Bush, is this: Bush is against abortion and homosexuality, therefore, he can do no wrong. 

(even though did little—nothing, to be exact—to curtail either practice)

Before we assume Obama is the antichrist, let us consider where that budget money is going. Granted, Obama is going to have to appropriate nearly a trillion dollars of military spending that Bush failed to take into account last year. That aside, Obama is increasing spending on college scholarships, medicare, and energy. All those things are, in my opinion, more admirable than the deficit spending in which Bush engaged. Perhaps ill-advised, but still admirable. 

Contrast that to where most of Bush’s budget increases went.

Open-ended WAR—and on two fronts! Faced with the daunting task of reforming medicare and fixing the social security debacle, Bush decided to get Americans mind off of problems at home and turn them to nation building (or re-building, as it happens, for as von Clauswitz wrote, “In war the result is never final.”). 

Blowing shit up—evidently, that’s where Republicans want their tax dollars to go. Plenty of them will admit it, too. It is as if Republicans keep asking, “How many Arabs do we have to kill, so I can pay my heating bill?” And the parents of my fifth graders have their children expecting apocalypse, that fire and brimstone will rain down any minute, and that we’ll find the dreaded 666 stamped indelible on Barack’s black ass.

Sheer folly, I say.

So now Obama is going to spend more money. But this year’s budget is strapped with plenty of Bush spending as well, such as the $700b bailout under Bush’s watch that came only half a year ago. 

I’m a good Libertarian, so I really don’t like any increases in spending. But Republicans need to face the fact that their party and its leaders have been far from the beacon of limited government that they so often claim they are. And in basic principal, Obama’s budget and deficit spending are merely a continuation of the deficit spending of the Bush era. 

As long as Republican voters remain ignorant of their own party’s frivolousness, the budget will never be balanced. And who the hell likes taxes? Do Republicans think that they are the only ones who hate them?

In closing, I would like to say that I would rather have 60% of my income redistributed to the poor, instead of 10% of it sent to the United States military. As it stands, I’ll gladly take my tax rebate.

For further reading:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb_0311_55.pdf

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2008/02/01/bush-the-3-trillion-dollar-man/

Advertisements