RCP article CNN Versus the Tea Parties does an excellent job in explaining why so many in the middle class don’t like Washington’s big spending. The argument about taxes often devolves into condescending remarks from the left stating that these people obviously don’t realize that their taxes will not go up. This is then followed by rather useless statements from the right trying to drum up sympathy for the wealthy who pay a much higher percentage of taxes. Both sides miss two key point; trust and math. What many of the Tea Party participants were saying to the government was,
‘I don’t trust you with my money.’
‘Who will pay for this trillion dollar deficit?’
‘How does this colosal debt really help the country and the economy in the long run?’
‘How will you avoid massive inflation if you keep spending at this rate?’
Fairness arguments fall flat, because life’s not fair, and trying to convince people that the wealthy have a raw deal will not engender much sympathy. ‘What works,’ would be a much better tact for fiscal conservatives, as the Tea Parties showed many people do not feel that reckless government spending ‘works.’
What Ms. Roesgen and others like her do not understand is that some people are interested in more than their own narrow self-interest. Perhaps the protestor she interviewed, who was holding his 2-year-old son, is eligible for a tax rebate. And perhaps his state will get a juicy piece of the stimulus money. It is possible, just possible, that such a bribe does not influence him. Perhaps it doesn’t buy his support because he is skeptical that his taxes can remain low when the federal government is embarked on a record-shattering spending spree. He may be offended by the bailout culture, and worried that the obligations of taxpayers cannot remain low when it seems that every irresponsible borrower, failed car company, and free spending state is being rescued by the federal government. Additionally, he may be dubious that the government will spend the money wisely. It has been rumored that government spending has produced waste, fraud, inefficiency, and corruption. But he also may simply believe that engorging the government and enfeebling the private sector — no matter who is writing the checks — is not good for the economic or spiritual health of the country.