Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Difference?

The Lord of Truth sends me Peggy Noonan's column every week. I think Peggy's ruminations are sometimes tiresome, even when the language is beautiful. However, this week, she posits a great description of the one key difference between the two parties:
Democrats in the end speak most of, and seem to hold the most sympathy for, the beset-upon single mother without medical coverage for her children, and the soldier back from the war who needs more help with post-traumatic stress disorder. They express the most sympathy for the needy, the yearning, the marginalized and unwell. For those, in short, who need more help from the government, meaning from the government's treasury, meaning the money got from taxpayers.

Who happen, also, to be a generally beset-upon group.

Democrats show little expressed sympathy for those who work to make the money the government taxes to help the beset-upon mother and the soldier and the kids. They express little sympathy for the middle-aged woman who owns a small dry cleaner and employs six people and is, actually, day to day, stressed and depressed from the burden of state, local and federal taxes, and regulations, and lawsuits, and meetings with the accountant, and complaints as to insufficient or incorrect efforts to meet guidelines regarding various employee/employer rules and regulations. At Republican conventions they express sympathy for this woman, as they do for those who are entrepreneurial, who start businesses and create jobs and build things. Republicans have, that is, sympathy for taxpayers. But they don't dwell all that much, or show much expressed sympathy for, the sick mother with the uninsured kids, and the soldier with the shot nerves.

Neither party ever gets it quite right, the balance between the taxed and the needy, the suffering of one sort and the suffering of another. You might say that in this both parties are equally cold and equally warm, only to two different classes of citizens.
I think the biggest problem that I have with government is not that it tries to provide services that we need and does so inefficiently -- we all gripe about that, but bureacracies are by their nature inefficient. I think what offends me is the fact so much of our government system is set up to transfer wealth from one group to another. There are some who don't take issue with that, and they're more likely to be Democrats than I am. At the end of the day, I think Noonan hits the nail on the head as to the difference between the way the parties are perceived on economic issues, even if this is not true in reality.


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