New Republic writer calls for eliminating the word 'taxpayer'
The left always tells you what it fears the most. Not content with dominating the media and education, the two organs that generate the linguistic framing of politics in our society, the left wants to delegitimize political terms that reflect realities it would rather avoid. This we have the venerable New Republic, recently acquired by Chris Hughes, a founder of Facebook who recently failed to purchase a congressional seat for his homosexual partner, publishing an article that calls for eliminating the word “taxpayer” from our political rhetoric.
Tom Johnson of Newsbusters spotted the attempt to brainwash the public out of the notion that money spent by the government was taken by force from the people who earned it.
You don’t have to be Frank Luntz or George Lakoff to know that linguistic framing matters a great deal in politics. Sometimes, however, nuance is in the eye of the beholder. The New Republic’s Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, for example, considers “taxpayer” an ideologically weighted term. In a Thursday article pegged to the just-released House Republican budget for fiscal 2016, Bruenig claimed that the use of “taxpayers” (rather than “people”) when discussing fiscal and economic issues benefits conservatives for reasons including that it “seems to subtly promote the idea that a person’s share in our democratic governance should depend upon their contribution in taxes” and bolsters the makers-vs.-takers argument that became associated with the GOP during the 2012 campaign.
With bolding added by Johnson, here is some of what the Orwellian-inclined Brueing had to say:
While “people” designates the broadest possible public as the subject of a political project, “taxpayer” advances a considerably narrower vision—and that's why we should eliminate it from political rhetoric and punditry.
…The House budget is full of examples of seemingly straightforward deployments of [‘taxpayers’] which are, upon closer inspection, clearly furthering a particular ideology.
Speaking of Orwell:
…Public revenue is just that: a pool of public money to be used for the good of the public, not 300 million pools of private money each to be used to serve private individuals’ interests.
A “pool of public money” that came from nowhere in particular, and certainly not taken involuntarily from people who worked to produce the wealth represented by the money? This is leftist fantasy-thinking at its worst. In their minds, wealth has nothing to do with individual effort and enterprise, but simply belongs to the “pool.”
I would simply laugh at this, if it the power of the left over language weren;t so great. But it is not a stretch to imagine a concerted effort to purge textbooks and mainstream media of the word “taxpayer.”
For six years now, the Obama admininstration has been living in a fiscal never-neverland, where the Fed's "quantitative easing" has printed money to finance the government, closely resembling the "pool" rhetoric. But as Herbert Stein reminded us long ago, "Something that can't go on forever, won't." Sooner or later, those debts will have to be paid, and interest rates won't remain near zero. At that point, confiscation of income and even accumulated assets will intensify, and the term "taxpayer" will signify a form of bondage that the left fears would delegitimize its entire collectivist agenda.