In order to offset any lost tax revenue — and to tackle the deficit — Mr. Pawlenty calls for something called “The Google Test” to determine whether the government should be involved in a program.
“If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it,” Mr. Pawlenty says.
Hm, let's see what we can find on Google nowadays. I can find this. And this. And this. And this and this and this. Oh, those aren't goods and services available for sale you say? Well, how about this or this or this.
The point being (not that this should come as a surprise to anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last ten years): you can find freakin' anything on Google. Of course the private sector will step up and provide any service that the government doesn't for which there is demand. But you might not like the terms.
Here's the problem: we as a society are not willing to let people suffer the consequences of their actions, and with good reason: sometimes the consequences of your actions affect the people around you. Want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet? If you splatter your brains on the sidewalk it's not just you that suffers. It's your kids. It's your employer (or your employees). It's whoever gets stuck with the job of scraping you and your motorcycle off the pavement and disposing of them. And if you should be so unfortunate as to survive the accident, people seem generally unwilling to muster the cold-heartednes to let you die if your insurance premiums aren't up to date, or your pockets aren't deep enough.
So we build emergency rooms and make rules that they can't turn you away if you can't pay. We fund police and fire departments in the recognition that if your neighbor's house is robbed or burns down, you suffer too. We build schools because if your fellow citizens are uneducated, you suffer, because they vote.
Unless, of course, they didn't.
The idea of one-person-one-vote that we Americans claim to hold in such high esteem is actually a fairly recent innovation. When our country was founded it was one-landowner-one-vote. Then it became one-white-make-one-vote, then one-white-person-one-vote.
Most of us like to think that these are settled issues. But it is in our nature as humans to seek power and influence, and unlike wealth, where trades can produce winners on both sides, power and influence are zero-sum games. The whole point of having power and influence is to get other people to do what you want instead of what they want. Someone has to pick the vegetables, clean the sewers, fight the wars. How do you decide who draws the short straw?
It turns out there are lots of ways, some better than others. You can create a government and have it make the decisions. You can create a free-market economy and let that decide. Or you can create a system where some people are left with no alternative but to do the dirty work or starve.
That is what the Republican program of dismantling government is heading towards. If you replace government with the free market, then you replace one-person-one-vote with, effectively, one-dollar-one-vote, which some people (generally those with lots of dollars) genuinely consider to be a good thing.
I have to hand it to the Republicans though. Their marketing is brilliant. If they presented their agenda at face value they'd be run out of town on a rail. So instead they wrap their anti-democratic ideals in the flag and convince people that it's patriotic to fight the wars for starvation wages (and put up with being abandoned afterwards).
But it's not patriotic to pay more taxes. Oh, no.
I genuinely don't understand why anyone who isn't a millionaire would fall for this transparent scam. But they do, and by the tens of millions. I wish I did understand it because if I did I'm pretty sure I could make a lot of money.