I have been trying to figure out the Republican obsession with taxes. Yes, I know that they present their case to cut and cut more, especially the taxes of the wealthiest Americans, as part of a grand economic scheme to save the country. But something isn’t right here. And I am not referring to the screwy economic assumptions that one has to make in order to make the case that more tax cuts are the answer to our economic woes.
There is peculiar passion to Ryan and Co.’s beliefs that transcends the economic. But what could be responsible for it? After months of perplexity I finally discovered the ticket when I recalled the claims made about death panels and Obamacare. When I first heard them I thought they were merely cynical, right-wing, hyperbole meant to mislead the American public about a program to comfort and support the dying. I have since thought more deeply. They were no accident. They were not merely tactical. They revealed something deeper and far more perverse: a quest to overcome death.
We all know about death and taxes. No way to avoid either one. Now suppose that because of this association, one you have heard about your entire life, you start to confuse their relationship. You start to think that one (taxes) causes the other (death). You start to believe if you could avoid one, you should be able to avoid the other. You might even start to think that taxes don’t just cause death, they are death–after all, don’t they deny the sweet freedom of life? Voilà It’s clear. Republicans have come to believe that the Fountain of Youth lies in ending taxes. Hence, they would expect the party of death and taxes, the Democrats, to set up death panels. While they, the party of life, will never accept any new taxes, for to do so is surely to die.
So here’s the story: We know that people have long sought a Fountain of Youth to stave off death. A demonic huckster named Grover Norquist promised the Republicans the Fountain in the form of The Pledge. All they would have to do is sign a pledge that they will never raise taxes and they could live free and not die. They signed. Many of us thought that they signed because Grover was in a position to threaten their political lives. But looked at more deeply, more truly, it was never the threat of political death that Grover used. It was the promise of eternal life. How else to explain their crazed obsession with cutting taxes except the fear of death itself?
You say that I am stretching things. That this is psycho-babble. I say, just look a Republican in the eye when he is talking about lowering taxes, look Paul Ryan in the eye, and you tell me if you don’t see the denial of death. And then hear them tell their story: Obama and his party created death panels. We reject their panels. We promote life. The right to life. Join us. Sign.