I don’t think that Democrats, or more specifically the liberal wing of the Democratic party, appropriately sympathizes with the connection between money and freedom. Not to sound all tea party-ish, but when the government takes my money I have slightly less freedom. It’s a fairly reasonable position to hold, and I don’t mind paying taxes for: public safety, education, some social programs, etc…but at a certain point government reaches a critical mass.
The health care legislation may be that last block in the grand jenga game of personal freedoms that breaks the camels back. Again, not to sound like a raving birther, tea party guy. I prefer this kind of tea partay…
Humorous YouTube video’s aside, let’s get down to some socio-political jenga theory deconstruction. So as a basic assumption the jenga tower itself constitutes our collective freedoms as a society. So every time the legislature passes a new tax, in this overly simplistic analogy, take a block from the jenga tower of personal freedoms. This block is then placed on the top of our society, making the tower higher but also structurally weaker.
The idea of government is push the Jenga tower of society to the point where it has both structural integrity and impressive height. For instance the Social Security Act of 1935 was a necessary step in creating a modern 20th century society, regardless of how screwed up it is now. But that is a story for a different day and an alternative board game analogy.
So the SSA was about 3 well-chosen blocks from the middle of the stack. The tower is improved by establishing a social insurance policy of sorts which I think we can all agree is the hallmark of a modern society (circa the 1900′s), which we pay for with a dedicated payroll tax. So the tower is taller, but still stable. So for this turn we’ve survived.
The problem is that there have been 233 years of turns. That’s 233 years of removing blocks, and sometimes putting them back. I mean the Bush tax cuts were kind of a way of putting a block back into the tower. But not back in the center of the tower…kinda like on the side where it’s not completely weight-bearing. The result though was an increase, however small, in personal freedoms.
The result is a fairly tall jenga tower of society, where some personal freedoms have been lost, but for an necessary and beneficial addition to our nation. We need to sacrifice some personal freedoms for necessary governmental services and perks like national defense, social security and M&M’s with the President’s seal on them. All things that make the tower higher and better.
It’s an oversimplified social calculous but it’s the best I’ve got so bare with me. The problem is that the tower is pretty tall at the moment.
Then along comes health care. It’s not that health care reform. In the world of jenga the health care reform bill was like trying to take away one block, but trying to add three on top. But that one block being taken away was pretty important for people. While the tower isn’t going to fall, that doesn’t mean people aren’t going to be afraid that some day it might.
For some people the tea party folk, among other groups, see the health care reform bill as taking a crucial weight bearing piece of the jenga tower. When you’re a middle class family guy (or gal), who values a solid days work for a reasonable wage, it’s going to bother you when someone is trying to live off welfare. And rightfully so. It’s one thing to help out your neighbor, it’s another thing to pay for him to sit on his (or her) ass watching the Price is Right while you pull a 9 to 5 shift at the Toyota plant, installing a faulty break system.
Not to say that everyone on welfare is trying to game the system, just that it happens to the degradation of our societies well being and kind of makes it seem like their are more blocks out of the jenga tower than may actually be. The minority of welfare cases have created a negative perception of social welfare programs in the conservative community. The anger that stems from a perceived injustice sometimes comes out sideways and becomes the tea party movement.
The tea party has tapped into this perception and driven it towards what they believe is the next level of social welfare – health care. It’s not rocket science, it’s just a natural reaction to understandable, if perhaps misconceived, anger. Conservatives are angry that the government takes their money and gives it to someone else, who might be a drain upon the system. In the same way though, liberals become angry when they see a child be denied medical care because a millionaire insurance executive wants to maintain his 3% profit margin.
Angers leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering. And suffering leads to prescription medications, which you can only get if you have health insurance.
Next week, how TARP is like a game of mouse trap.