Columns » John Brummett

Big government wolves clad as small government sheep

A look at a few of the more than 2,000 new proposals from this session.

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You may find this farcical. I admit it seems counter-intuitive.

But I am serious when I assert that I am a genuine small-government conservative. And I am serious still when I assert that these yahoo busybodies in the state legislature, whether tea party or regular Republican or rural Democrat, and no matter how much they profess otherwise are not. 

They are big-government wolves clad as small-government sheep.

These big-government activists have filed more than 2,000 proposed new laws in this madness of a legislative session. 

Would you care to know how many new laws the genuine small-government conservative columnist thinks the state needs? Just enough appropriations to keep government running at a continuing or reduced level and maybe the governor's bill to rework the sentences for nonviolent crimes and thus slow the bankrupting trend of our imprisoning practices — that is all. 

The balance of all that inessential legislating taking place under the Capitol dome tends to fall generally in these categories of hyperactive and indeed intrusive state government:

• Imposition of personal religion in defiance of our U.S. Constitution.

• Similarly unconstitutional interposition against federal laws. 

• Worshipful big-government partnership with big business by which the little man's money is transferred to arrogant corporations with good lobbyists.

• Allegiance to the bogus notion that it is the bait put out by the government, not the daring of smart people, that creates jobs.

Somebody e-mailed me the other day to say that I had started to sound like a grouchy, stingy, old-style New England Republican. I appreciated the compliment.

Republicanism was useful when it was of the New England variety, about efficiency, restraint, separation of church and state and civil rights advocacy. What ruined it was the cynical and purely exploitative Southernizing and religionizing of it by Nixon and then Reagan, which gave rise to this modern version, the yahoo busybody. 

You can trace to that shift most of America's current woes — tax-cutting and free-spending budget irresponsibility, liberally unregulated greed in the high-finance sector, wars galore and callous discrimination toward immigrants and homosexuals, even still toward blacks.

Here are a few things being sought in Little Rock by big-government activists posing as small-government conservatives:

1. Outlawing abortion at the point a fetus feels pain. Government has enough trouble communicating effectively with actually born beings. I do not trust its ability to converse meaningfully with a fetus.

2. Assigning the government's schools to instruct our children in the Bible.

3. Putting up administrative barriers by which the state would strengthen its government for the expressed purpose of impairing the imposition of the new federal health care law. A state cannot haul off and unilaterally defy the federal government. See Faubus.

4. Cutting a well-to-do man's capital gains tax while advancing a scheme to tax the working man even more on his sales tax, the latter to build a statewide four-lane highway network on the wholly unsupportable premise that more of government pavement between ghost towns would bring jobs. 

5. Giving local governments the option to propose tax increases to build infrastructure specifically to benefit an economic development prospect. First we want to tax the working man's essential retail purchases for a lonely four-lane highway. Then, on the outside chance that an industrial prospect actually comes to the working man's town on account of this four-lane highway, we want to tax that working man again to build the industrial prospect a private driveway connecting to that four-lane highway.

6. Conspiring with big business to preserve liberal corporate tax loopholes so that corporations may continue to pretend to shelter income in subsidiaries and avoid the kinds of comprehensive tax obligations the working man is still being made to bear.

7. Taxing everyone's cell phones so that AT&T can retain its current subsidy.

8. Resisting new efficiencies in our Medicaid payments to doctors, thus favoring liberal government subsidies for physicians — socialized medicine, you could call it — over diligent tax stewardship.

And, finally, the grouch's pet peeve: Standing idly by while the Highway Department hoards $45 million in our road-user taxes to replace the Broadway Bridge, which is so structurally at risk that we sent thousands of marathoners running across it just the other day without life vests.

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