Concern for the disadvantaged, as they are normally called, doesn't stop with economic considerations. A New York Times op-ed piece some days ago called attention to the plight of the "ugly." The author -- for whom there was no photo mug that might have helped readers assess his personal interest -- wants government to step up to the plate and defend the pulchritudinally challenged, who evidently are itching for liberation in the mode of the 1960s and '70s. It would be fair to guess that the author cannot be considered a probable Rick Perry voter.
Once we acknowledge the perdurability of the government-can-do-it-all mindset -- its persistence in bad times and good alike -- we can start to understand the agony inherent in this economic moment.
In addressing our economic challenges, Obama wants more government because he and people like him believe (often against the raw evidence) that more government works; that experts know better than consumers, merchants and the like the ways that they should behave. Obama progressives -- liberals as they called themselves before the term apparently became an embarrassment -- are offended by suggestions that economic decision making can be turned over to a loose herd of consumers who don't know a demand curve from a snowy egret's nest.
Taxation is the great tool the progressives wield to make sure consumers know their place in the economic order. That place is...what? One of gratitude for favors bestowed by the experts and one of coerced obedience -- a state alien to most of the free societies one has ever heard of.
As the 2012 election campaign goes into high gear, expect at the grassroots level an upsurge in ingratitude and maverick behavior -- just what you'd expect from a people who may have had it up to here, at last, with experts and control freaks.