Thursday, April 30, 2009

Battle lines

An article in the Wall Street Journal today talks of the real division in American politics - between those who believe in private enterprise and wealth creation, in other words, liberty and those who do not. It talks of the "tea parties" and what they portend as well as of the need to present the moral case for freedom and entrepreneurship.

This is not easy even in America, where an ever increasing number of people are being bribed by taxpayers' money in one way or another (or will be bribed as long as the money lasts):
The government has been abetting this trend for years by exempting an increasing number of Americans from federal taxation. My colleague Adam Lerrick showed in these pages last year that the percentage of American adults who have no federal income-tax liability will rise to 49% from 40% under Mr. Obama's tax plan. Another 11% will pay less than 5% of their income in federal income taxes and less than $1,000 in total.

To put a modern twist on the old axiom, a man who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart; a man who is still a socialist at 40 either has no head, or pays no taxes. Social Democrats are working to create a society where the majority are net recipients of the "sharing economy." They are fighting a culture war of attrition with economic tools. Defenders of capitalism risk getting caught flat-footed with increasingly antiquated arguments that free enterprise is a Main Street pocketbook issue. Progressives are working relentlessly to see that it is not.
How much more difficult it is over on this side of the Pond, where the belief that the state is there to help you until such time when the money runs out. Then there is much howling and gnashing of teeth. Meanwhile, those who can create the wealth are driven out of the economy either by ever higher taxation or by the regulatory structure that makes it impossible for businesses to expand or to hire more people. Maybe we, too, should start thinking about tea parties.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I can just imagine 300 political nerds gathered outside the commons shaking them to their core. Nah. Socialism is too deeply set in the public mind. They simply cannot think outside the state box. It will take a bit more than a tea party. Starting with a refusal to pay tax. But then we know what they do when you try that. It won't get better until we start filling body bags with coppers. Can't say I'll lose any sleep over that.