Saturday, September 12, 2009

The 9/12/09 Taxpayer March

Today is the national taxpayer march on Washington, a national extension of the "tea-party" protests that occurred this past summer. Here is the group's mission statement:


We’ve had enough of the out of control spending, the bailouts, the growth of big government and the soaring deficits. And we reject the future tax increases to pay for all of this spending and debt down the road. We are gathering on 9-12-2009 to deliver our message in person that we’ve had enough!


The nice thing about this statement is that it identifies the crucial problem: excessive spending. Many anti-government protests focus only on high taxes, without stating what spending should be reduced as well.

Cutting expenditure is politically difficult, of course. Virtually all expenditure benefits some interest group; otherwise, it would have been cut already. Medicare is a perfect example; everyone either receives it now or hopes to receive it in the future, so support is widespread. Yet Medicare is a large and growing fraction of the budget, so lowering spending without touching Medicare is missing the forest for the trees.

The Tea Party groups could thus gain enormous points for honesty and consistency, yet lose a large fraction of their support, by opposing not only new spending like Obamacare but also existing spending like Medicare. We will see.

13 comments:

Michael Kitchens said...

"The Tea Party groups could... for honesty and consistency... oppos[e] not only new spending like Obamacare but also existing spending like Medicare."

Exactly!

The media would often try to "trap" the opposition to Obamacare by asking if they would be in favor of eliminating Medicare--a socialist style of healthcare. Few of those asked this question had the guts or the principled reason to say they would be in favor of eliminating this program.

Indeed, the same principled reason to oppose Obamacare and eliminate Medicare could be said for public education. Here is an excellent article from Campaign for Liberty that makes that point:

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=171

Mike Huben said...

Libertarians could "gain enormous points for honesty and consistency, yet lose a large fraction of their support" if they could only admit that Medicare is at least as efficient as US private insurance, and that socialized medicine throughout the rest of the first world is even more efficient than that.

At 75,000 (according to the WSJ), it was a relatively small march.

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