-Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, "A Tea Party Manifesto," Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2010.
One of the catalysts of the Tea Party movement is growing citizen frustration with the arrogant and elitist attitudes exhibited by many elected officials. Some government types sincerely believe they are much, much smarter than the rank and file voters, and that voters really cannot possibly understand that government knows what is best for Americans and their money. Unfortunately, this belief is not confined to the purlieu of Washington, but permeates state and local politics as well.
Last week Democrat State Representative Lon Burnham outraged Texans by saying that the people are "just too stupid to realize how beneficial a state income would be." Perhaps Burnham ought to educate us by holding up examples of how a state income tax has helped other states like California and New York.
Oh, right. Probably not a good idea.
Locally, in the course of debate over tax rates for Williamson County, proponents of the tax rate increases allege that taxpayers have been subject to "misinformation" and just don't understand. You see, they explain, it isn't raising taxes, it is "adopting the effective rate," and it just means that the county will adjust rates so that tax revenue will be the same this year as it was last year. See? See? Oh, and by the way, you'll only be paying a little, teensy bit more. But when you see the increase on your tax bill just remember,
Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe summed the problem up nicely yesterday in the Wall Street Journal:
By definition, government is the means by which citizens are forced to do that which they would not do voluntarily. Like pay high taxes. Or redistribute tax dollars to bail out the broken, bloated pension systems of state government employees. Or purchase, by federal mandate, a government-defined health-insurance plan that is unaffordable, unnecessary or unwanted.The problem is not that citizens don't understand. Americans are waking up and are not fooled by benign sounding terms and convoluted formulas. They are sick and tired of elitist politicians who think them too stupid to understand what political liberalism is doing to this country. Happily, the 2010 elections are right around the corner, and we are watching and preparing for 2012.