In politics, as the saying goes, perception is reality. Much of what the American public watches on its nightly news is merely elected officials, appointed officials and other talking heads attempting to spin reality into a narrative that benefits one half of the country to the detriment of the other. A large majority of the time this disillusion only results in a momentary or temporary gain. The long-term effect however is a perpetual state of illusion or in the cases of our elected officials, intentional self-delusion. But time and time again these leaders are the ones we listen to on the matters of the day and the possibility of the matters of tomorrow. We bring our ideas and plans to these elected leaders and they tell us that what we seek is impossible. They look into our eyes and will tell us that plans such as the FairTax cannot pass in such a partisan environment but will spend an entire summer setting up a Joint Select Committee of hand chosen party favorites to circumvent the Constitution and result in nothing less than our nation’s first credit downgrade. We constantly praise our representative style of government but have watched in the last week as the last popular branch of government plummeted to join the rest. The Supreme Court is hovering just over 50% in approval which is still higher than the near single digit approval rating of Congress and the -15 approval rating for the President it is a wonder as to who our government represents.
For many in elected office the importance of narrative outweighs any opposition and any connection to objective reality. For example, in the effort to pass the still controversial Affordable Care Act, the President was caught handing out white lab coats to the attendees to a press conference. What was supposed to be an informative discussion with the elected leader of the free world about a major shift in national policy turned out to be nothing more than a mere photo-op. Our current crop of political leaders are less interested in how they can serve than with what they can sell. Our political culture is one of style trumping substance. No candidate is praised for their ability to speak outside of a ten second sound bite. Our Founders locked themselves away during a steamy Philadelphia summer to avoid the media and work together to break from a monarchy so that they could form a new “more perfect union”. The most recent use of that phrase, taken from our Constitutional Preamble, in current important political events was as the title of speech given by then-candidate Obama. You may remember it as the speech that discussed in frank terms his views on “black anger” and “white resentment” in response to the coverage of his former pastor on video screaming “God d-mn America!” The question turns from “who does the government represent” to what exactly happened to us as a people.
This election year has also highlighted our elected leaders’ propensity to let the ends justify their means. One need not listen too closely to the rhetoric surrounding the campaign to hear an ample supply of narrative disconnected to reality. Recently the President’s campaign has hinted that their opponent is a felon. A Senate candidate in Massachusetts continues to claim that she has Native American heritage even though it can be demonstrably proven that she does not. In this day and age of YouTube recollection and flip-flopper claims it is preferable to march straight into hell because being consistent is preferable to being accurate. In fact it is this inability to change tactics in the face of overwhelming proof that is most frustrating to FairTax advocates. The tax equation for success is an easily learned one. The more economic liberty provided for the populace at large the better off the economy. The more authority centralized in government and the heavier the tax burden, the fewer businesses and individuals remain. Year to year estimates can be tricky but the census information can be telling. Two of the highest taxed states are New York and California. Between the years 2000 and 2010 the delegation of both provides insight into the effects of taxes on human behavior. For the first time in its history, California gained no electoral representation, and for the second census in a row, New York lost two seats. Texas, recently named by CNBC as America’s top state to do business, has gained six seats in twenty years. The equation makes sense. To understand the dangers take a look at San Bernardino, the third California city to file for bankruptcy in less than a month. Those at the national level are consistently moving us in the direction of California’s taxes and farther away from the business, and thus jobs, friendly tax structure of Texas. Narrative trumps facts any day of the year. The increasing pressure of what is shaping up to be an incredibly divisive election year is showing itself in the increased calls for more taxes on the wealthy. The rich are called upon to “pay their fair share” and will be conceivably up to and including Election Day. In complete disregard to the recent CBO report. The Congressional Budget Office’s report shows that the top 1%, and the most vilified group, earns 13.4% of the pre-tax income yet pays 22.3% of the taxes. Looking at this information it becomes very difficult to ascertain what a “fair share” would look like.
The quest for narrative is often overlooked and accepted as part of political discourse. The name calling found in political discourse is hardly anything new. All that is different is the atmosphere of arrogance surrounding the proceedings born of nothing but a mistaken belief that we are progressed. This makes honest accounts more difficult from the outset. If anything we have lost much from where we started. In an interview with CBS on Friday the President said his biggest regret of his term was that he failed to tell a story. The creation of a narrative is a large focus of his campaign, there is a strong effort on his rival’s team to create a narrative that is favorable to the majority of the electorate. That language only serves distance the political elite from the voting public. And they could not be any more out of touch. It is clear that the ruling class does not represent the people, they represent themselves. The distance from where we started to where we are now can be measured by the control we have ceded over our own wallets. The disconnect between spin and reality can be found in an unadulterated lust for power found in and allowed by the unlimited grasp of the Sixteenth Amendment. There is wide recognition that “Washington is broken” but more must be done than change management. If the system is broken than one needs more than new cogs. The rules by which that system operates must be thrown out. If we listen and base the likelihood of our success by those that are divorced from reality then why do we expect to succeed? If those that persist in their insanity tell you that something is impossible then why would you believe them? Former Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards was famed for saying that there were two Americas. He, mistakenly, identified two lands for the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Just as the man’s own life showed, the true difference between the two Americas is that one operates in reality and the other consists of what politicians want you to see. Pay no attention to those operating in the world without reality, if you rule a world of dreams you become lost when you awake. So let us wake them. Either by the force of our action or the intensity of our shouts let them awake. Let them join the world we live in and see that the path we currently walk is disastrous. We must change course and throw out the rules leading to concentrated power and diminished popular voice. The FairTax turns this tide and creates a world governed by those that give consent, not those that ignore it. We have a chance to make that difference you only need to act.