Wussiocracy on the Hill

by L. Neil Smith

         Once again those stumbling morons in the Republican Party have blundered into a manhole, and this time they're going to pull the rest of the country in with them.
         What they solemnly promised us all last year, in their much-vaunted "Contract with America", was a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution that would necessitate drastic reductions in federal spending -- and at the same time steer well clear of increases in what each of us is forced at metaphorical as well as literal bayonet-point to send the government for the dubious service of curtailing our lives, liberty, and property more and more each year. The budget should be balanced, the Republican consensus seemed to be, but not on the taxpayers' backs.
         Their means of assuring this was to have been a revolutionary provision in the amendment requiring a "super majority" of three-fifths -- or 60% of the Congress -- in order to increase taxes or create new ones. Some joker I was talking with while the argument plodded on in the media (a surprising lack of outraged hysteria on the part of liberals should have given us a premonition), observed that to him, a "super majority" means 100%.
         I was inclined to agree, but willing to concede that an additional ten percent represented significant progress -- in principle if nothing else -- toward the kind of unanimous consent society (or "hyperdemocracy", as Time would end up calling it) we need to become in the 21st century if we wish to survive as a single nation. For that matter, America would be significantly improved if it took two-thirds -- or 67% -- to pass any kind of law at all.
         I don't suppose anybody should have been surprised when the Republican "revolutionaries" couldn't quite muster the votes at the last minute and the revolution didn't happen. Call me a cynic, but it was almost certainly never meant to. And the proof, should you require any, is that, instead of simply acknowledging their failure and starting all over again, they adopted some Democrat's bill which -- the minute it becomes clear that the budget isn't going to balance in any particular year -- gives them An Excuse They'll Claim We Wanted Them To Have to raise our taxes until the budget is balanced, no matter how much doing that costs each and every one of us, financially or in terms of civil liberties.
         In short, what we seem to have gotten instead of the balance budget amendment we demanded, is a "license to kill" for the Internal Revenue Service
         There is absolutely nothing about this to be taken lightly, in America's post-Branch Davidian era, at a time when depraved cretins in the Democratic Party have just introduced legislation creating a "Rapid Deployment Force" for the ever-popular Federal Bureau of Investigation -- or as they're known in these parts, "Fundamentalist Baby Incinerators". "Let a hundred Wacos bloom" seems to be the underlying thinking (to the extent there is any) behind a scheme like this.
         If I strain your credulity, then meditate upon a friend of mine who was informed a few years ago at a coin show -- by a pair of I.R.S. agents -- that his charmingly quaint views about the Constitution were obsolete, and that, in today's America, the tax code takes precedence over the Bill of Rights.
         Now contemplate a time, in the not-too-distant future, when Congress is up against it at the end of the year. Americans are hard-pressed, already forking over half of what they earn to federal, state, and local governments, and they're starting to get sullen about it.
         "Balance the budget" the Constitution commands, "or you're breaking the law". Not that any Congressman has ever cared about the Constitution before this, or worried much about breaking the law. But under these circumstances -- which is to say, given this excuse, and the precedent currently being established for the F.B.I -- it isn't hard to envision them creating an Internal Revenue Service Rapid Deployment Force to scour the land in tanks, helicopters, and black nylon uniforms, whipping the muzzles of their assault rifles, flame-throwers, and grenade launchers this way and that, night-vision goggles aglow on the lookout for taxable assets.
         And all because the budget "must" be balanced, under this idiotic substitute for a decent balanced budget amendment, without any safeguard making it impossible to do that simply by raising taxes.
         Damn it, I want my money back -- actually, what I want back is my vote. Despite my better judgement last November, I voted for two Republicans, and now I'm sorry I didn't just "cast a blank", since there were no Libertarians running for those offices. I'll certainly never vote for a Republican again. Their "revolution" -- just like their courage and dedication to principle -- is counterfeit
         Republicans: even when they win, they're losers.

L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.

Permission to redistribute this article is herewith granted by the author -- provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and appropriate credit given.

Talk to me!: lneil@lneilsmith.org

Back to L. Neil Smith's Lever Action Essays Page