Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Government, Politics — Rick Moran @ 1:26 pm

What is it about paying taxes that make liberals coo and gurgle like a newborn making satisfied noises after soiling its diaper?

Last year, it was Matt Stoller who wrote:

I just paid my taxes, and I have to say, I always take pride when I do so. I don’t like having less money to spend, of course, and the complexity of the process is really upsetting. But I am proud to pay for democracy, and I feel when I do send money to the DC Treasurer and the US Treasury that that is what I am doing. The right-wing likes to pretend as if taxes are a burden instead of the price of democracy. And I suppose, if you hate democracy, as the right-wing does, then taxes are the price for paying for something you really don’t want. Personally, I find banking fees, high cable and internet charges, health care costs, and credit card hidden charges much more abrasive than taxes, because with those I’m just being ripped off to pay for someone’s summer home.

With that kind of carrying on for paying taxes, you can imagine the party Stoller throws when he makes a complete stop at a stop sign.

Not to be outdone this year, former Bill Clinton aide Paul Begala absolutely gushes about about tax day, calling it “Patriot’s Day” and slobbering over the fact that government gets to reach into his pocket and take his property:

Happy Patriots’ Day. April 15 is the one day a year when our country asks something of us — or at least the vast majority of us.

For those who wear a military uniform, those who serve the rest of us as policemen and firefighters and teachers and other public servants, every day is patriots’ day. They work hard for our country; many risk their lives — and some lose their lives.

But for the rest of us, the civilian majority, our government asks very little. Except for April 15. On this day, our government asks that we pay our fair share of taxes to keep our beloved country strong and safe.

Freedom isn’t free. That’s what the courageous World War II veterans of the American Legion taught me back in Texas Boys State decades ago. That phrase had special meaning for them. Those guys had seen buddies blown apart at Anzio or Guadalcanal.

grew up in a different era. There was no draft, and while I have friends and family members who joined the military, most of my peers, like me, opted for the security and prosperity of the private sector.

This country has showered me with the blessings of liberty. So what do I owe my country in return? Paying my fair share of taxes, it seems, is the least I can do. Thanks to President Obama and the Democratic Congress, 95 percent of Americans will get a tax cut this year. No one — not even the wealthiest 1 percent — will have to pay higher income taxes until 2011.

Begala uses this lilting tribute to our IRS overlords as a segue into attacking the tea parties:

That a bunch of overpaid media millionaires would lead a faux-populist revolt is comical. They somehow held their populist instincts in check as George W. Bush and the Republicans cut taxes on the idle rich and put the screws to the working stiffs.
Bush’s tax policies were a godsend to the Paris Hilton class, but they sent the country on the road to bankruptcy and helped ruin the economy. But now that we the people have decided to set things right, now that we’ve hired Obama to fix the mess conservatives created, now they’re protesting?

What kind of government do we get when so many kowtow to the authority of the state and achieve rapture through the simple, utilitarian act of obeying the law?

Government is not a living entity to be worshipped. It is, at best, a utility - and would that it were run as well as Verizon or AT&T. Of course, everyone realizes that government is a necessary part of living in America and that those who toil for it - for the most part - are deserving of our admiration and respect.

But in America, it is the people - in the aggregate - who deserve Begala and Stoller’s ecominums. We who created government, who require it to bend to our will (ideally), are far more important in the scheme of things than the force of nature that government has become and that liberals wish to use as a club to shape their utopia. It is unseemly in a republic for citizens to actually get excited about obeying the law and paying one’s taxes. In fact, it’s goofy. Gleefully handing over one’s property to an entity that is just as likely as build a bridge to nowhere as build something much more useful like an F-22 reveals a worldview that doesn’t respect the value of their neighbor’s property, that what belongs to the citizen also belongs to the government.

Stoller and Begala’s hymns of praise to government nauseate me. The reason is simple; you cannot value freedom if you value government above all else. April 15 is not a day of celebration. It is just another day that we can thank our stars that we live in the United States and people like Begala and Stoller haven’t won - yet.


  1. Shocker. Per usual, Begala is a dishonest bastard and a pathological liar. If he actually gets all warm and fuzzy paying taxes it is strange that the rates this year as opposed to last made him feel all better. If memory serves, nothing has changed just yet. Oh, that’s right, he likes the guy in the White House this year.

    I bet if he were audited, this hypocritical piece of shit would be just like Geitner–a two-faced tax cheat.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 4/15/2009 @ 1:45 pm

  2. What is it about paying taxes that make liberals coo and gurgle like a newborn making satisfied noises after soiling its diaper?

    It’s the power that they generate, of course.

    Comment by Eric Florack — 4/15/2009 @ 1:51 pm

  3. I’m not sure which is worse. Worshiping at the alter of government, or worshiping at the alter of the corporation. In both cases you’re worshiping.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 4/15/2009 @ 2:00 pm

  4. It’s not out-of-the-question that the 2009 TEA party participants could someday be regarded by history as patriots who made a difference- same as 1773. This sort of public outrage might be just what’s needed to break through the media’s manufactured reality.

    And you can believe that Obama and the left are plenty scared of the TEA party movement- how else to explain the dubious timing of his “everything is under control” speech on the economy, and (on the same day before the protests) the wierd DHS report warning of “right-wing” radicals and their propensity to violence? Now ACORN is deploying thugs to confront these protests at the street-level? What’s next, bring-in the Crips? Or the next year, the mandatory Obama youth corps or his new, private militia?

    Barack Obama is rapidly liquidating everything that made this country great… and needs to be put back-on-his-heels with a major embarrassment that puts an end to the myth that everybody just loves Barack and his wacked-out agenda… because millions of us DON’T.


    Comment by Reaganite Republican Resistance — 4/15/2009 @ 3:03 pm

    I like America. I like the roads. I like the bridges. I like the satellites. I like the cell phone networks. I like the power grids. I like the national parks. I like the military. I like the police force. I like the fireman. I like the NAVY SEALS. I like kickin ass 24/7 all over the globe. The sun never sets on American military bases.

    All of this is made possible, in part, by government. It costs money.

    I’ve traveled outside the country a great deal. The places with high taxes and big government are places most Americans would like to visit. Think Britain, Netherlands, Italy, etc… Places with little government and low taxes are places most would prefer not to visit. Think Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

    Government is necessary for civilization. (Ask the ancient Romans.) Government costs money. Paying for government is called taxes.

    Saying that government can’t do things right but private business always gets things is laughable. Government screws things up. Private business screws things up. The story tellers who insist that government is inefficient and ineffective while private business is efficient and effective are telling fairy tales for their masters.

    Comment by bsjones — 4/15/2009 @ 3:22 pm

  6. OOPS

    Comment by bsjones — 4/15/2009 @ 3:22 pm

  7. So for some of the patriots above praising taxes and government, they are just fine with Obama’s various tax cheats running the show, especially the Treasury Secretary? And have no problem with crooks like Franks and Dodd ripping off the system, taking bribes, getting sweetheart deals from banks, being unaware of male whorehouses being run underneath their feet?

    Funny how Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick are patriots for amassing oodles of bucks from Fannie and Freddie, things we must pay taxes to bail out. But of course those two bozos should not have to give back their bonuses in excess of $100 mil in aggregate. And I guess fine we pay taxes to take over GM’s UAW pension obligations in a surgical bankruptcy. Gotta protect those libtard blue collar voters, eh?

    Comment by aoibhneas — 4/15/2009 @ 4:10 pm

  8. aoibhneas,

    I am against corrupt and incompetent governance; I am not against governance.I praise government for the things that I deem praiseworthy. I criticize government when they do things that are corrupt, illegal, or just plain stupid.

    Is it possible to be against corruption, tax cheats, and tax payer corporate giveaways AND be in favor of paying a fair share for the government that works?

    Remember, No government = Afghanistan or Somalia.

    If you are against all government and all taxes move to a place that has neither. My suggestion is to try a remote Afghan village. Who knows, you could possibly start a community of Tea Partiers there. Maybe you could host a blog with lots of pictures that explains to the world about your no tax, no government paradise.

    After a few months with no taxes and no government get back to me.


    Comment by bsjones — 4/15/2009 @ 4:45 pm

  9. [quote]I’ve traveled outside the country a great deal. The places with high taxes and big government are places most Americans would like to visit. Think Britain, Netherlands, Italy, etc… Places with little government and low taxes are places most would prefer not to visit. Think Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.[/quote]

    Sure, most Americans might like visiting those places, but very few would want to live in those places. I see no relation between a vacation destination and the tax rate imposed on its citizens.

    [quote] Government screws things up. Private business screws things up.[/quote]

    True on both accounts. It’s rare, however, to see government’s failures lead to anything punitive. Private businesses screw up and typically lose clients, money, or go bankrupt. Government screws up and it raises taxes to pay for those screw ups.

    The focus on April 15th as “Tax Day” or “Patriot’s Day” or any other singularity is also disingenuous. If Americans were required to pay their total income tax bill on April 15th, these Tea Parties would have started a long, long…long time ago.

    Comment by sota — 4/15/2009 @ 4:59 pm

  10. Sorry for the amateurish blockquoting…sigh.

    Comment by sota — 4/15/2009 @ 5:00 pm

  11. The media has been framing this as a tax revolt. Sure, nobody likes to pay taxes, and it could be argued (successfully)that the taxes we pay (local, state, federal)are too much and wasted, but this is about a government that has gotten too big. About too much borrowing and too much spending.

    Comment by Nashville Tea Party - Conservative Blog — 4/15/2009 @ 5:55 pm

  12. Lets see, spend a trillion for a unnecessary war in Iraq, alright for the rightwing,tax cuts for the uber wealthy, alright for the rightwing. Bush vetoed zero spending bills, alright with the rightwing. Obama, giving tax cuts to 95% of Americans, rightwingers run to the streets protesting that socialist Obama. The gop is a poor excuse for a political party and probably the reason they are wandering in the political wilderness. And still, they don’t get it. Even with Fox News trying to carry their water, the gop is a joke. Maybe gop states can secede like Rick Perry and Chuck Noriss want, good luck.

    Comment by Joe — 4/15/2009 @ 7:00 pm

  13. Begala is happy. It’s probably the first time he’s paid taxes in his life and I call for an audit on that. Wanna bet if you go back 10 years you’ll find he’s as crooked as the head of the IRS and O’Dumbo.

    Comment by Scrapiron — 4/15/2009 @ 7:59 pm

  14. The mysterious case of the disappearing comments.

    There one minute, gone the next…

    Comment by bsjones — 4/15/2009 @ 8:29 pm

  15. Begala’s commitment to the wonderfulness of tax paying would carry a lot more weight if he would release his average annual income numbers vs. the tax amounts he has paid over the past 16 years, since his work on the ‘92 Clinton campaign propelled him into the high profile/high income tax bracket.

    Comment by John — 4/15/2009 @ 9:12 pm

  16. If you find expressions of patriotism nausiating, it might help to remember that patriotism isn’t love of the government; it is love of one’s country.

    Begala was expressing love of government. Didn’t you read is piece? Did you read mine? Or did you just make shit up?


    Comment by Kenneth Almquist — 4/15/2009 @ 11:20 pm

  17. Begala’s main argument is pretty trite. However, he does start off the article by stating:

    For those who wear a military uniform, those who serve the rest of us as policemen and firefighters and teachers and other public servants, every day is patriots’ day.

    Interestingly enough, every time I participate in Jury Duty, a mild patriotic sensation runs through my body. Never happens on April 15th, that’s for sure!

    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 4/16/2009 @ 6:29 am

  18. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 04/16/2009 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

    Comment by David M — 4/16/2009 @ 2:11 pm

  19. Sota said
    Sure, most Americans might like visiting those places, but very few would want to live in those places. I see no relation between a vacation destination and the tax rate imposed on its citizens.

    This sounds like unfounded conjecture to me. I have lived in and and paid taxes to Britain and Australia. Loved em both. People who live abroad form “expat” communities. I have never heard of an American “expat” say they would move away from either country because of the tax structure.

    The point is that the taxes people pay in first world countries contribute to making them first world countries. Many of the things that make a country a great place to live, work, and vacation were paid for by tax dollars.

    Good government creates the possibility for wonderful first world living conditions. Good government is expensive. Good government is paid for by taxes. Taxes come from the citizenry. Good citizens pay their taxes.

    This you tube clip illustrates the principle nicely:


    I agree it is easier for government to act incompetently for extended periods of time than business, but my point remains:
    Enron screws things up. Government screws things up.
    AIG screws things up. Government screws things up.
    Bernie Madoff screws things up. Government screws things up.
    General Motors screws things up. Government screws things up.
    Care to add your own?

    The idea that government is bad for our country is silly. The idea that if government just got off the back of business is silly. These Republican principles do not improve anything about America.

    Reagan said, “Government is the problem.” (He said all this while increasing the size of government massively.) That idea is silly and wrong. Bad government truly IS a problem. We the People must hold bad government accountable.


    Comment by bsjones — 4/16/2009 @ 2:14 pm

  20. Begala was expressing love of government. Didn’t you read is piece? Did you read mine? Or did you just make shit up?

    Yes, I read Begala’s piece, and Matt Stoller’s, and yours. In the case of your article, I don’t claim to understand every sentence, but I think I got the gist right. On rereading, the scatological image with which you open your article still seems intended to belittle the emotions expressed by Stoller and Begala, suggesting that such emotions were infantile. The rest of your article appears to be an elaboration on that theme. And, given that Stoller and Begala were writing about patriotism, that means you were objecting to their expressions of patriotism.

    Now, it appears that (at least in the case of Begala), you don’t grant that last point. I partially addressed this in my previous comment. Begala labels his piece “Happy Patriots Day.” If you concede that patriotism is love of country rahter than love of government, your assertion that Begala was expressing love of country is at best problematical. I suppose you could argue that Begala is expressing love of country in the parts of the article where he uses the word “patriotism” but shifts to expressing love of government in other parts of the piece. Or you could reject my definition of patriotism. But you haven’t done either.

    That said, I think that in talking about the definition of patriotism I skipped over the more fundamental issues. Stoller doesn’t use the word “patriotism” in the paragraph you quoted in your article, but I didn’t have to click on the link and read the full article to know what Stoller was talking about. To understand language, you need to know more than the definitions of the words. You also need to know the shared assumptions, the things that aren’t normally said because they are taken for granted. In this case, the assumption is that people normally love their country, not their government.

    Shared assumptions of this sort don’t control what can be said. If Begala wanted to indicate that he loved his government rather than his country, he could have written, “I love my government, not my country.” What they do control is what can be left unsaid. Begala doesn’t have to explicitly state that he loves his country rather than his government because that is the default assumption.

    I believe that this shared assumption is correct. Given Begala’s background in politics, I think there is a distinct possibility that he was not telling the truth about his feelings. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he doesn’t feel anything at all akin to patriotism. But I don’t find it plausible that he feels love for his government rather than love for his country. If you find your interpretation of what Begala is saying plausible, that suggests that our disagreement is not only about language, but about how people generally experience patriotism.

    It would make sense for you to disagree with me on this point if your personal experience were different from mine. If it were the case that you loved your government rather than your country, then it would seem plausible to you that Begala feels more or less the same way. But I don’t believe for a moment that you feel that way any more that I believe Begala feels that way. Normally, when I’m arguing with someone, I don’t assume that the other person’s eperience of their own feelings supports my position. It would seem safer to assume that your personal experience supports your position rather than my position. But in this case, I think you are flat out wrong about the psychology of patriotism, as well as the language.

    Comment by Kenneth Almquist — 4/16/2009 @ 9:48 pm

  21. Kenneth Alquist

    But in this case, I think you are flat out wrong about the psychology of patriotism, as well as the language.

    For a true scientific study of both sides and the reality of how patriotism is viewed based on genetics, check out the TED talk by Johathan Haidt. It’s brilliant.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 4/17/2009 @ 12:59 pm

  22. Thanks for the pointer, Chuck. I hadn’t heard of Johathan Haidt before, and he’s very much worth listening to.

    For anyone else who’s interested, Johathan Haidt’s talk is available on YouTube as well as on http://www.ted.com.

    Comment by Kenneth Almquist — 4/18/2009 @ 12:51 pm

  23. I guess, according to Matt Stoller, you “hate democracy” if you believe that government spending or taxes should be any less than whatever they happen to be now. Or maybe he’s pretending, like some on the left that I’ve heard from before, that conservatives believe in no government or taxation at all. That’s not what conservatives think; that’s more like extreme libertarianism.

    Of course taxes are necessary for the maintenance of democracy, but that probably only accounts for a small portion of the government spending we have now. We ought to be able debate the exact size of government.

    Comment by damon — 4/18/2009 @ 2:54 pm

  24. Remember,

    No government = Afghanistan or Somalia.

    What? Both of these have corrupt totalitarian government.

    How about
    North Korea- they have a big government.

    I know it is hard to believe for you, but we could probably live quite confortably and securly without 70% of the government. That is the problem with govenrment, once they start performing the service, it is hard to think of any other way no matter how disastrous their policies. Look at the public school system in the City of Detroit. 60-70% of the kids that start don’t finish. Yet nothing can be done. If this was run privately, you would be screaming about 10%. Citing private companies doesn’t prove anything. There no longer around and their executives are sent to Jail. You put your criminals in the Cabinet. As far as Europe is concerned, their standard of living would have been severly decreased if it wasn’t for the US. Europe is a bad model because they depend so much on the US for their defense, economies, and any inovation in Health care. Open your mind and do some analysis on the socialized health care systems.

    Comment by TomT — 4/18/2009 @ 10:26 pm

  25. 2 departments that can be eliminated to start.

    Dept of Energy. When it was formed, 30% of our oil was from foreign countries. Today we are above 60%.

    Dept of Education. When it was formed we competed internationally academically. Since its inception we have continued to slide in all areas when compared to the rest of the world.

    Please tell me why we need these 2 organizations? Why can’t we fire them? Don’t they deserve it?

    Comment by TomT — 4/18/2009 @ 10:32 pm

  26. [...] "Begala: April 15th Should Be ‘Patriot’s Day’" Originally published:  15 April 2009 Submitted by:  U.S. Common Sense Summary:  Responding to an article published by Paul Begala regarding tax day. [...]

    Pingback by Political Blog Weekly: 17 April 2009 | U.S. Common Sense — 4/19/2009 @ 10:56 am

  27. TomT,
    I believe government was instituted among men to secure unalienable Rights among which are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Without government these unalienable rights are UNSECURABLE.

    Therefore to talk about no government or government being “the problem” is silly. Government is the mechanism that allows men to secure their rights.

    It makes perfect sense to talk about eliminating ineffective government or working towards making government more efficient. It even makes sense to discuss reducing the influence of government in a certain sphere. Of course, anyone who is not a demagogue will provide the specifics for their proposals to IMPROVE government and the governance it provides.

    Those who talk about eliminating all government as a solution to our problems are story tellers spinning yarns for the man.

    Comment by bsjones — 4/19/2009 @ 9:55 pm

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