Getting under their skin

This Tea Party movement is getting under the skin of lots of folks. It should. In theory it should.

The theory has to do with representative government. In such government, voters elect others to represent their views. If those they elect fail to do so, voters take action.

That is what is happening now. And the theory says it is pretty much what should happen. Countless polls tell us a lot of office holders are doing the opposite of what a majority of voters want. Repeatedly. On issues voters feel are important. 

And so, millions of voters are disenchanted with both parties. They feel their views are ignored. The Tea Party says, basically, join the crowd. And millions have.

But Sarah Palin spoke at the Tea Party convention. Doesn’t this show it is a Republican movement?  No. It shows Sarah Palin has good ears. She heard a parade. She has rushed to get in front of it. Shrewd politicians do this when they hear parades of voters.



Politicians see voters in blocs. FDR cobbled together several blocs. Democrats have relied on those blocs, more or less, ever since. Reagan saw a bloc of voters who Democrats took for granted.

They voted Democrat. But on matters like law enforcement, defense, pride of country, optimism, they were more conservative. More conservative than Democrats. Certainly more conservative than the liberal Democrats behind Jimmy Carter. Reagan saw them as a bloc and persuaded millions of them to vote for him.

Palin sees the disenchanted voters of today as a huge bloc. At the moment it is one of the largest blocs in our last hundred years. And for the moment she is making the most of it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we are witnessing the opposite phenomenon.

Some news stories this week reminded us that nearly half our adult population pays no income tax. They may feel they pay. They know tax is taken from their paychecks. But they get this back when they file their tax returns. Often they get back more than what the IRS took from their paychecks.

Or they feel they pay income tax because they pay Social Security taxes.

If you tell folks they don’t pay income tax, many of them will tell you they do. They believe they do. But, they don’t.

That nearly half of us pay no income tax is unhealthy for the country. For several reasons. It is unhealthy to lump more and more of the tax burden on the other half, especially the highest earners. It is unhealthy that half the voters can push politicians to spend more than we can afford. Because the “we” does not include them. Half’s rich and half don’t care.

It is unhealthy because it is the very opposite of the idea that set the American Revolution alight. People revolted because of taxation without representation. Today, half of us have representation without taxation.

Combine that with the Tea Party thought that today’s representation stinks. That combination brews up a pretty stiff drink.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns, for Tom’s radio shows and TV show (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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