Kimberly Atkins opines that the IRS scandals have made the Tea Party ‘relevant’ again. As the IRS is charged with enforcing key provisions of ObamaCare (and, I will add, the whole scheme only passes Constitutional muster because it is a tax), and the IRS has not been acting ethically, Americans are ready to fight ObamaCare again.
Atkins wonders if this is a mere blip on the radar screen, a temporary upsurge before the Tea Party fades into irrelevancy. I think she misses the point: the Tea Party exists because our government is too large and too powerful to not be corrupt. Our government can audit you, tax you for not buying a product, give out your money to its cronies, forgive certain debts but harass other debtors, and bail out some companies but drag others before Congress (remember Toyota, finally exonerated after its sales dropped enough for Detroit to be competitive). Such an institution will necesssarily be corrupt, for it is too large, too powerful, and throws around too much money with too little oversight to do anything but attract the corrupt. The entire scheme is a honey pot for the corrupt – an unguarded honey pot, waiting to be exploited. At this point, the Obama Administration’s best argument is that the government is too large for him to properly oversee – ironically, exactly what the Tea Party has been saying for years.
The Tea Party will not be “irrelevant” until the government is a mere fraction of the size it is now, with real limits on its power. Yes, that is the point at which the Tea Party will have attained its goal. In the interim, there may be points at which scandals are small and outrages are few, but this type of abuse of power is inevitable. Corrupt people aren’t going to join groups where the money flows in a trickle, where power is limited, and where oversight is real; they will swarm to the place where money is flung around with reckless abandon, no real constraints on power exist, and oversight is either impossible (as per Obama’s argument) or corruption is done with the full approval of the partisan hacks in power.
Washington, D.C. will be the centre of corruption until it is smaller, its power limited, and its budget curtailed. Perhaps one day, normal average Americans like Kimberly Atkins will understand that this is not an isolated series of events, mere happenstance, but an inevitable result of giving a multi-trillion-dollar budget to an institution with no real constraints on its power.
As James Madison said in Federalist 51,
But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
Those “auxiliary precautions” should include putting limits on government power and largesse so that the corrupt will not be attracted to it like vultures to road kill.