Culture of Dependence and Culture of Independence

by Don Boudreaux on April 18, 2010

in Nanny State, Politics, Taxes

George Will writes wisely on the pathologies and the politics of a value-added tax.

A VAT will be rationalized as necessary to restore fiscal equilibrium. But without ending the income tax, a VAT would be just a gargantuan instrument for further subjugating Americans to government.

Believing that a crisis is a useful thing to create, the Obama administration — which understands that, for [faux] liberalism, worse is better — has deliberately aggravated the fiscal shambles that the Great Recession accelerated. During the downturn, federal revenue plunged and spending soared. And, as will happen for two decades, every day 10,000 more baby boomers are joining the ranks of recipients of Medicare and Social Security, two programs with unfunded liabilities of nearly $107 trillion.

In the context of this concatenation of troubles, the administration’s highest priority was to put an enormous new health-care entitlement on the welfare state’s rickety scaffolding. Why? Because the liberals’ lunge to maximize government’s growth depends on quickly creating a crisis that can be called a threat to the entitlement menu and to the currency as a store of value. Then the public can be panicked into accepting the addition of a VAT to the existing menu of taxes.

Michael Barone strikes a similar, but broader, theme – noting that today’s ideological struggle is between persons who endorse a culture of dependence and persons who endorse a culture of independence.  (HT Lyle Albaugh)

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