I didn't go to Harvard. But reading the op-ed by Harvard graduate and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in today's Washington Post has to be a palm-to-forehead moment for every common man out there. A "how can a Harvard guy be so dense?" kind of moment. The governor's article is about Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform -- "Grover Norquist, hypnotist." Seems the governor is offended -- and flummoxed as to why -- Norquist would vehemently oppose any and all new tax increases.
"It is the height of fiscal folly," the governor writes. "It is now clear that the Republican strategy is to drive America to the brink of fiscal ruin and then argue that the only way out is to cut spending for the powerless," he charges.
Really? Anyone who points out that taxes forceably take property (income) from one person and redistribute it to someone who has not earned it, and then opposes further taxes as a further injustice and imposition just hates poor people and wants the economy to tank? Any American who has been whacked by this ongoing recession and wants to see businesses create more jobs and government stop strangling economic opportunity with taxes and red tape is just too foolish to understand that more taxes are the right answer? For a Harvard guy, this seems like a ridiculous error in reasoning.
Why is it so difficult to understand that Americans like Norquist want to fight efforts to confiscate even more of their hard-earned income? The federal government already sucks up between 15 and 20 percent of GDP, not even counting what state and local governments take. And federal revenues have more than tripled since 1965, as the Heritage Foundation documents. $2.15 trillion as of 2010. How is that not enough? When is it enough? The governor certainly doesn't indicate there's any limit, any step that's a step too far.
"I remember sitting in the Dunster House dining hall at Harvard with Norquist when we were sophomores or juniors in college, while he explained his view of government, or lack thereof," the governor reminisces. "It sounded logical -- the notion that we could live independently of each other, making our own decisions in our own self-interest. But then who puts out the fires? Who answers the calls to 911? Who educates poor children? Who helps people with disabilities?"
Really? Without more taxes in excess of the current $2 trillion, America will be ablaze in uncontrolled fires, no one will answer emergency calls, poor children will be tossed out of schools willy nilly, and no one will lift a finger to help people with disabilities? When will the governor and his delusional friends stop looking for things to take from others and start noticing the 800 pound, bloated leviathan in the room?