Good credit made the United States the dominant world power of the 20th century. Whether it will ever force the federal government to default or not, the Tea Party and the conservative tax revolt behind it are chipping away at the fiscal foundations built by Hamilton at the dawn of the Republic. Ultimately, this could make us less like 18th-century Great Britain and more like 18th-century France: a country where the people no longer believe in their government and refuse to pay taxes, destroying the sound credit that is still vital to national prosperity and power.I've said said before that the tea party movement was one based on legitimate anger. The problem is the conclusions they are drawing run counter to historical precedent. They are leaning too far on Jefferson and too little on Hamilton, who eventually even informed the way Jefferson guided our presidency - the Louisiana purchase anyone?
What's needed is competence and it's up to us to ensure that by holding them accountable. As we do so, the ability to tax and borrow is a key element of our government especially when the demands of the moment call for it - and we need to make sure they legitimately do. This is much more difficult. It asks more out of our leaders and out of us then the simplistic and mindless dogma coming from the tea party right. We need to make sure our government works, and the ability to tax is a key part of that. If we lose that trust and confidence, we lose a lot of political power and our country weakens. We are the ones to blame for that.