It’s hard to believe, but the current tax scandal will eventually fade away just as all Washington, D.C. scandals run their course. It’s easier to believe that the IRS will remain a loathsome and abusive agency, subject perhaps to some reforms and personnel changes that ultimately will do nothing to change its character.
This has been a good teachable moment for Americans about the nature of the federal Leviathan, but few people will glean the most important lesson: Both parties need a powerful tax agency to collect the funds that support the programs they, and the constituencies they represent, favor.
And boy do they favor programs. Despite the partisan rancor and the pretense of “big debates” about the size of government, the Democrats and Republicans have no interest in trimming, let alone slashing, anything of substance. Democratic leaders are particularly infuriating as they blame any tragedy on sequester “cuts,” but Republicans are no more given to trimming entitlement programs — plus they still want the defense budget to grow.
Conservative think tanks even echo the tactics of liberals by complaining that modest cuts in the military budget amount to an assault on our nation’s ability to protect itself. As the Heritage Foundation opined, “President Obama’s overall budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2014 and beyond is all but certain to result in the continued application of sequestration to the defense account, which will lead to defense spending levels that are too low to permit the military to protect U.S. vital national interests.”
This weekend, newspaper readers will find the usual, touching commentary calling on Americans to spend some time during the three-day holiday remembering the sacrifice made by Americans who died while serving in the military. That’s an honorable idea, but I’d suggest we get past the “freedom isn’t free” clichés and ask a more pointed question few on the right or left want to answer: Has our continued exertion of military might made us a safer, better and freer nation?
Read More at CA Political Review . By Steven Greenhut.