We seem to like to pigeonhole people in the US. We are “liberal” or “conservative,” “Democrats” or “Republicans.” The terms are so overused that they have lost real meaning. I would like to offer a new pair of pigeonholes for consideration: “Tax collector” and “taxpayer.”
If we look at politics from a purely economic point of view (after all, economists are the gods of modern society), it would seem that everyone is working for the government. They either work directly for one of the four levels (city, county, state or federal) of government, or they pay income (and other taxes) to support it. Now that baby boomers are retiring, they are converting from taxpayers to tax collectors. But don’t blame boomers (I am one), for expecting a return on their payroll tax investments throughout their working years. Payroll taxes were not voluntary, and we were promised they would be returned in our golden years.
Not only that, but anyone with pensions and benefit plans is probably heavily invested in stocks and bonds, so has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. The worst earth-rapists also pay the highest dividends on Wall Street.
What to do about it? The system is imploding, because the current debt is unsustainable. War has historically bankrupted more governments than any other endeavor. War makes everyone crazy, as Carl Sandburg noted in “Remembrance Rock.” Future generations cannot be expected to make good on government promises. It’s time to consider what is truly valuable in life and to be willing to let go of the rest.
A country in perpetual war or debt can’t be free, democratic, or capitalistic. Most government debt is to itself. Washington DC is shucking and jiving, because revenues are not sufficient to cover even the interest on national debt.