Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other.
– George Orwell
All of Utah’s congressmen and one of my senators voted to raise my taxes by somewhere around $2,000.
That’s not how they think of it, of course. But that’s what they did. Utah Senator Mike Lee was one of only eight senators to oppose the fiscal cliff deal that would prevent a massive tax increase on the vast majority of Americans. My representative, Jason Chaffetz, announced that he “can’t vote for a bill such as what is being proposed” because it doesn’t include everything he wants. And both Rob Bishop, a Republican, and Jim Matheson, a Democrat, voted against it, too.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
The framers of the Constitution feared concentrations of power and therefore created a system where it is next to impossible for any one faction to achieve all of its goals unfettered. Thus the American government is messy and inefficient by design. It doesn’t just tolerate compromise; it demands it. Legislators that refuse to engage in any such compromises effectively abdicate the responsibility they have to represent the interests of their constituents. They often give fiery speeches that arouse the party faithful, but they end up leaving all of the heavy lifting of producing workable legislation to those lawmakers who favor obligation over oratory.
I say this in full recognition of the flaws of the deal that just passed. The absence of substantial spending cuts is troubling, and the unwillingness of either party to address the structural problems of unsustainable entitlement spending puts the long-term solvency of our nation at risk. This current bill is woefully inadequate in addressing the scope of our current fiscal quagmire. It is, however, a substantially better alternative to doing nothing. While it would be helpful if Utah’s elected officials were good faith participants in the negotiating process, their rigidity essentially isolates them and forces their colleagues to work around them instead of with them.
Utah’s congressional delegation would probably be replaced en masse if they lined up in full support of the colossal tax increases awaiting us at the bottom of the fiscal cliff. Yet despite that outcome being made more likely by their intransigence, their supporters will undoubtedly cheer these so-called “principled” stands, ignoring the fact that, in practical terms, these representatives are voting to increase the nation’s tax burden just as surely as if they had campaigned to do so. While they hope to be rewarded for their fealty to the far right, the actual results of their vote would create a policy that would undermine the very principles to which they have pledged their rhetorical allegiance.
They should not be judged by what they say, but what they do – or, in this case, what they refuse to do.