Advocates of tax cuts often boast of the economic power and innovation that a system of Capitalism can bring to bear on problems from which all economies suffer so they claim that government should be small and obscure. But, if you stop to look more closely at the innovations of these private sector businesses, you’ll see that it is a system set up by government to make businesses look good and to prosper in the same way that young batters are given a greater likelihood of success by hitting a t-ball sitting atop a stand that they can barely miss.
Capitalists make the government create roads for their cars, airports for their planes, harbors for their ships, tracks and terminals for their trains, hospitals for their sick, schools for their young, and let the government take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. Capitalists let the police, fire, FBI, CIA, and the military maintain stability in the country while the courts, jails, and prisons keep lawbreakers and the unsavory from interacting with the rest of us. Capitalists enjoy the sewage and sanitation systems implemented by government, the parking facilities, street lights, road plowing, sidewalks, traffic lights and signs that make it convenient and safe to get around, as well as the bus and subway services, bridges and highways, and even the parks, libraries, and museums that accommodate the aesthetic needs of those who live in the cities.
Government provides all these amenities—and more—while allowing Capitalists to take the rest and boast that they are what make things work. While it is true that Capitalism produces the abundance of goods and services that we consume, it is because we allow them to do so, not because it couldn’t be done differently. To say that Capitalists do that without the support, assistance, and protections of government is as thinly-veiled a deception as the myths and misperceptions proliferated by that group of Capitalist profiteers who sell their alcohol, donuts, triple cheeseburgers, and cigarettes as they tell you it’s your right to consume them even if they aren’t good for you.
So, when taxes are as maligned and criticized as Paris Hilton’s acting skills, there needs to be a clarification of the role that government plays not only in making the economy run smoothly, but in making these businesses appear to be so productive.
Making you think that government is the menace to fear is what these tax-cutting, snake oil salesmen are selling when they tell you that taxes are too high and you deserve to keep more of that money you give them which is really yours. What they ignore telling you is that cutting taxes is also going to mean cutting services and assistance to someone. Those who think it won’t be them because they aren’t receiving any direct government assistance fail to see the bigger picture that I’ve outlined above.
Who is it that inspects the buildings, approves the medicines, certifies the food, and puts limits on the dangerousness of products? It’s the government. And, would you feel safer if those same profit-seeking, cost-cutting private businesses that you revere were to do those inspections without government regulation? Let people sue them if they have a complaint, that’s the free market solution. But, many free-marketers want to even limit that remedy so that we don’t let costly settlements put these conscienceless enterprises out of business.
Capitalism is a thankless system of bravado, excess, and denial that takes the desirable while avoiding the costly, and emboldens the strong to trod on the weaker. If these tax-cutting zealots have their way, they will weaken our government even more so that they can continue to impose their brand of elitism and buyer-beware Capitalism more carelessly and profitably than they have already.
These tax cutters are out in droves—like starlings on electrical wires. It’s just too bad that those wires aren’t energized enough to make them fly away rather than to somnambulate them into thinking that their ideas will make things better. They will—but only for themselves.