Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Brain is Melting

HARBESON: And the moral of the spending is ...

>>SOUTHERN INDIANA — As I studied my calendar, making plans and deciding what I had to do this week, I felt an odd sensation inside my skull. A strange thought entered my head - maybe I’ve been completely wrong about government as a valid means to accomplish goals.

My brain felt like it was melting yet I experienced an amazing sense of inner peace and couldn’t stop smiling. The thoughts continued…

… Maybe force is legitimate when used under the veil of government if determined to be for the “common good.”

… Maybe government can fix all the problems individuals face as they work their way through the maze of life.

… Maybe government is full of benevolent leaders who never think in terms of their own self-interest.

Suddenly everything seemed right about government and I couldn’t believe I ever thought otherwise. You might be wondering if a nasty demon had entered my body, but I just noticed today is April Fools Day.

And speaking of foolish things, how about that recent remark from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels?

When talking about a possible tax to counter the deficit the health care act would bring he said, “This is going to be an immorally — and I choose that word carefully — immorally huge burden we’re about to place on our children. I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

This is an amazing statement that demands much more explanation. What does he mean? To make this statement, there must be a specific number inside his head that clearly defines the moral limit for a tax burden forced upon citizens. One cent more and we’re in immoral territory. So what is that limit?

I’m asking for a number because obviously Daniels is telling us he has discovered where the moral equilibrium falls in regards to a tax burden. Knowing this number would be great news because we could at least quit fighting over the amount that’s morally proper to take from people without their consent. But I don’t understand why he didn’t tell us the number.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not numerical. Maybe Daniels meant that this will be an “immorally huge” tax burden because health care is not a moral and proper government expenditure. In other words, a deficit-inducing expenditure can be moral if it’s spent on the “right” items like, say, a preemptive war in a far-off land.

But wait. It can’t depend upon a particular expenditure because Daniels was part of an administration that passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act. This health care spending also increased the deficit by an amazing amount. I don’t remember any talk of morality when this happened.

So I guess I’m wrong again. The moral nature must not be numerical nor specific expenditure item related. So what else could it be?

Who knows, but reviewing his quote above, I see that he said he chose the word “immoral” carefully. If this is true and since he didn’t speak of morality when his party was increasing deficits, it appears that he chooses to use it when it benefits him and his political party.

Therefore the only conclusion I can make is that, for him at least, tax burden morality must be dependent on who controls the spending.

I suppose it’s foolish to listen to a politician when he tries to bring morality into a discussion of taxation because nothing is ever said about taxation itself. This is where the real problem of morality needs to be discussed, not whether a debt load goes over some undefined number apparently based on a fuzzy moral code which can only be determined based upon which party is in power.


Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson enjoys the feeling of her brain melting but hates cleaning the dried pieces out of the carpet.


  1. I know where the "immoral" limit lies. At one cent, or whatever the smallest possible total "tax" burden might be. Theft is theft, and it doesn't matter how small it is or what you do with the stolen property after your act of theft.