Chris Matthews recently crowed that Republicans and Tea Party conservatives are bringing about the end of days, "economic Armageddon," by their stubborn faith in the "religion of no taxes."
If you haven't already, take a moment to savor the delightful hilarity of Chris Matthews lambasting conservatives as the blind acolytes of fear-mongers in the very moment that he plays "harbinger of fiscal doom" for the Obama administration. But his idiocy offers revelation. As he sits in his pulpit working tirelessly to convince America that Republicans are ready to chug the Kool-Aid by not giving in to tax hikes, it becomes apparent that the exact opposite of his claim is true.
Modern progressivism, as a construct, is a church -- one whose practice is reminiscent of the Dark Ages and one that can truly be called an "opiate of the masses." It comes complete with sin-tax collectors who seek to extract more wealth as you more excessively engage in the sin of success. These same people, whom they call "legislators," also serve the function of alms collectors, bound to the highest calling of securing and distributing food stamps, healthcare services, and income. There are the inquisitors, called the media, who will put to the rack anyone who questions the church's intent or challenges its claims. And the figurehead and Grand Inquisitor, Barack Obama, works to maintain his flock's devotion to a greater "social justice," with sermons so moving that they cause his disciples to incoherently yell, cry, or even feel thrills running up their legs.
And if progressivism is indeed a church, I guess that would make Paul Ryan a modern-day Galileo.
As Greece erupts in flames and civil unrest, the rational American might ask himself what separates their failure from our success. Greece, like America, has legislated insatiably vampiric social entitlements that have buried it under a national debt that can be averaged at $51K per citizen. America, in our far better situation, is buried under a similar mountain of debt that averages to $45K per citizen. So what prevents us from falling into chaos? Our saving grace has been a Chinese donor that holds the key to our salvation or demise. And as China is growing ever more concerned about our creditworthiness, we are children in the hands of an uncertain benefactor in terms of financial stability.
Yet as the biggest debtor nation in the world, White House spokesman Jay Carney can invoke Ronald Reagan and suggest, with a straight face, that America has the strongest credit in the world as it did in Reagan's day? And he would suggest that taking on nearly double the debt ($9.5 trillion in ten years beyond our $14 trillion today) would be a good thing for the nation in our present situation. In light of commonly known facts, this is a comment so ignorant that it truly equates to believing the Earth is the center of the universe.
So Paul Ryan stood before the panel of these obtuse progressives and the torch-wielding townsfolk, and suggested that we "attack the drivers of our debt." Of course, in so doing, he attacks the idols of the progressives' faith: most notoriously, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The resulting furor in the progressive backlash was unmistakable. Unable to deny the severity of our debt, they immediately began an attack on the wealthy. Essentially, they presented our debt problem as not a debt problem, but an income problem. The Huffington Post suggests that "when a family finds itself in difficult financial circumstances," it can either reduce spending or increase income. They suggest taxing the wealthy to achieve the latter. (Of course, here is a good example of the ungrounded dogma of the progressive cult. America, by foundational principles, is not a "family," but a collection of families living by the same ideals. And nothing in our founding doctrine says that one family must pay for another in efforts to achieve parity.)
The Washington Post went on to report in a "fact-check," that Ryan "stacks his deck." The real problem is not just the spending, but that "taxes are too low," too. In other words, let's try taxing the wealthy before expecting that the burden be borne by those who collect social entitlements from the coffers that are already fattened by the wealthy. And again, the principle is the same. One family should pay for another, filtered through the clergy in Washington.
And like the young girls of Salem, progressives riled up onlookers as they feigned seeing shadows of devilry in Ryan's proposal on Medicare, suggesting that he would take away grandma's medicine to line the pockets of the rich. In truth, his proposal clearly made no changes to the collection of benefits for anyone over the age of 55. You would have to look at the younger, wage-earning class to see the changes he offered. And those changes represent true innovation and progress.
Ryan stood before a nation that has become dangerously fed on government benevolence, and suggested a free-market alternative to support the state-run entitlement program, not to destroy it altogether. He suggested that we limit the influence of the Washington bureaucracy that has utterly mismanaged the program to shambles, and rather use taxpayer dollars to provide citizens with a choice in a free marketplace offering healthcare. The idea is that inspiring intense competition will allow for Americans to obtain better value for their dollars. He has offered a capitalist solution to a socialist problem. No, he's not saying, "Everyone in the future is going to have it just as good as they've got it under today's clearly unsustainable form." But it is a promising alternative line of thinking when compared to Obama's suggested approach -- Give us more of your money so we can continue on the path that has broken the system. And when we run out of money again, we'll just pass a bigger offering plate.
Does Chris Matthews really want to talk about blind faith? Blind faith is somehow believing that the same exact tax-and-spend approach that led to our current crisis will save us from our current crisis. And Barack Obama offers nothing more.
William Sullivan blogs at politicalpalaverblog.blogspot.com.