Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Does the Washington Post Hate the Tea Party?

The 4th of July should be a celebration of our independence.  Those values include a respect for the founding principles of our nation.  Principles such as the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Independence from tyranny. 
On July 4th 2011, E. J. Dionne, Jr of the Washington Post wrote a piece entitled: What our Declaration really said and used it to continue the liberal machine attack on mischaracterization of the conservative movement in general and the tea-party specifically.
You can read his article here.
In response to this, I offered this comment.

An Intentional Mischaracterization?

Mr. Dionne, You and many others continue to mischaracterize the tea-party with the simple dismissal "no new taxes".  As I read the articles and books associated with the tea party, I have a more complete and thoughtful description.  In a word the tea-party is about liberty and freedom.  That is it's foundational principle.
As such, I believe it addresses issues of today from the perspective that the pathway to maintaining the optimum amount of liberty and freedom is government constrained (especially) the federal government.  I do not believe that they are anarchists, nor anti-government.  (Limited is very different from no).  Government ought to do those things that individuals can not do efficiently and do them in the most limited way possible so as to minimize the impact on individual liberty and freedom.

Tea Party Guided by Milton Friedman’s Philosophy

Milton Friedman in his work "Free to Choose" suggests that our society is best served and advances against issues of public policy advance more quickly when decisions are made at the most local level  in a flow that goes something like this....
  1. Individual
  2. Family
  3. Community
  4. City/County
  5. State
  6. Federal
In other worlds try to solve the problem at the top of the list and work down.  Why???? because it maximizes the opportunity for many different approaches to solve the problem, each group having an opportunity to take their "best shot" at solving the problem.  If they are successful, people who are free to choose willingly move to those solutions and places that best solve the problem from their point of view.

When the federal government intervenes with its "one size fits none" solutions, it removes the opportunity for more creative approaches to solving life's problems.  With this approach I defend both New York State for its recent decision to allow same-sex marriage AND defend Arizona in its approach to immigration.  Both should be seen as experiments to solving complex problems.  Each should be allowed to pursue these "solutions" and the citizens of their respective states should then be allowed to enjoy or suffer the consequences of these approaches.

Tea Party a Movement About Being “Free to Choose”

"Free to Choose" would be a better moniker for the tea-party.  "No New Taxes" sits inside a broader question.  What is the proper role of government?  Many in the tea-party believe that the current administration has over-stepped its bounds and are looking to restore balance.  (I agree).  So, it is not a question about not paying our fair share, it is about minimizing the drag of the government fiscal rake so that decisions and power can reside at the most local level possible. 
In a nutshell it is about being responsible (i.e. living within means, taking reasonable risks) and the appropriate level of both government expenditures AND revenue.

At this time, I am unconvinced that our biggest problem is insufficient tax rates.  Let's focus on what our government SHOULD be doing and the BEST way to bring our government revenue into balance with those commitments.

Let Freedom Ring

PS, You can view the entire “Free to Choose” series by following this link to the Milton Friedman Blogspot.

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