The TEA (taxed enough already) Party movement and the various conservative groups that have formed over the past few years are but a reflection of the frustrations that many people are feeling toward the government. Some elected individuals seem determined to convert our country into something that would not be recognizable our founding fathers. The conversion has been so gradual and relentless that many people did not realize the direction that we were headed until it was almost too late. The TEA party and other groups are predominately made up of the old “silent majority” that simply kept their heads down and went to work to try to make a better life for their children than the one they had. Many worked two jobs, did without everything but necessities in order to accomplish that goal. Government was there to keep us safe from our enemies, maintain some degree of order and assist with our infrastructure to allow for easier transportation of our commodities and improved communication.
As our population continued to demand more and more services, the Government continued to grow. Over the past 100 years we have evolved from a nation that was fiercely independent and believing that we only wanted defense and orderly commerce and opportunity. Now we are demanding more Government programs and regulations that ultimately take away the freedoms that our founders fought and died for. As the demands from Government increase so does the costs of running the Government. That results in the need for increased taxes. The result of the increased demands and larger Government, is that we now are affecting the growth of our economy because of the tax load that has been placed on our businesses and our citizens. Besides the increased tax load we have also saddled business with an overload of regulations and mandates that again increase the cost of operation. All of those additional costs prevent businesses from paying higher wages, purchasing new equipment or offering a lower price on their finished product. Unfortunately, a business that is unprofitable will cease to exist. A business that is not open does not employ people. People who are unemployed do not pay taxes and then look to the government for assistance. The cost of losing a job then becomes a double loss, they take from the revenue pot instead of adding into it.
This never ending spiral of increased costs slows our economy and if allowed to continue, will bring our entire nation to its knees. Montana is no different, every mandate, every increased service, every increased State employee and every increased cost of running the government, adds to the load that taxpayers must carry. Left unchecked, Government growth will eventually consume not only all available funds but the pioneer spirit that has been the driving force of our great nation.
The change from the strongly independent, self reliant individual who believed in personal responsibility and self worth into a person who expects Government to be the guardian of their every waking moment, has been gradual but relentless. Reversing the trend will also take time and must be every bit as committed. It will take a sincere and dedicated effort to bring Montana back. It will be painful at times, but tough love always is. The main thing, it all has to begin with us as individuals. We need to deal with our own issues and not expect a law to be passed that eliminates the need to make a hard, unpopular decision. The greatest change of all will be the acceptance of personal responsibility. We must go back to what we learned in Kindergarten, if you break it, fix it, if you open it, close it, and if you make it dirty, clean it up. The list can go on and on but you get the message.
The next few years are going to be the telling time in our history. We are either going to begin the process of turning the direction of our country and state around or we are bound to see taxes increase, regulations multiply and more freedoms lost.