You may not like the Tea Party movement, but you have to admire their passion to get involved with our political system. In general, I have no problem with the advocacy of smaller government. Government bureaucracy can kill a party quicker than a rat in the punch bowl. However, we do need to be honest about the various laws and programs that benefit not only our own pocket books but those of our families and neighbors.
One of the vexing issues for colonists under the British Empire in 1763 was the mercantile system of trade. Under this system, all trade had to pass through Britain. Americans were prohibited from trading with countries outside of the British Empire such as France or Spain. The mercantile system was enforced by various means including the Navigation Acts and Royal Proclamation of 1763.
Tyranny of Kings and Congress
The motivation for the mercantile system was to enrich the British government and merchants. The restrictive trading regulations of the British have been no less embodied in many of the statutes passed by our United States Congress and state legislatures. One can argue that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance is on par with 18th century British laws steering commerce towards English merchants. Of course, the beneficiaries of the individual mandate are the same folks who asked that it be included; health insurance companies.
Entitlements ring up revenue
Another revenue enhancing rule is the prohibition on Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies under the Part D Prescription drug plans. While the Veterans Administration enjoys the negotiating power to lower drug costs for its members, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part D only see relief when a brand name drug patent expires and it becomes generic. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies have realized robust revenue growth under a completely unfunded entitlement program that many conservatives and Tea Party folks oppose.
Hate the singer, but love the music
But it isn’t only the blatant legislative collusion of government and private enterprise that creates wealth for some Americans. I recently read the postings of a gentleman extolling the urgent imperative that we return to the governance of 1776 and smaller government. The excesses of our current government coupled with burdensome bureaucracies and regulation would shortly doom America was the perspective of the commentator. When I looked up his biography, he proudly advertised that he sold workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance is a government mandated regulation and is purportedly the source of this gentleman’s success.
Today we look upon those people willing to denounce the restrictive regulations of the British government and started the movement for independence as true American heroes. They were mocked and derided by British loyalist at the time as agitators and traitors. So it was with great surprise that a member of the Tea Party movement accused protesters at a political town hall meeting of being unpatriotic.
If being patriotic means blindly following and never questioning the political leaders and laws of our country, then I don’t qualify. I happened to side with Thomas Jefferson when in a letter to Colonel Edward Carrington, January 1787, wrote, ” I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”
Political involvement and advocating for smaller government is good. All I ask is that each person closely evaluates how government programs and regulations have contributed to their wealth or comfort. As for politicians that propose laws that enrich their friends and trading partners, may the next election be a Jeffersonian rebellion that unseats you.