Michael Barone

Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830s identified the voluntary sector as a unique feature of American democracy, one that gave it strength and character. He compared it positively with his own France, where centralized government stifled initiative and innovation.

The cap on charitable deductions has gone nowhere in Congress, where many Democratic members undoubtedly heard protests from their friends and supporters in the voluntary sector. We can see where that proposal leads from the Obama mandate that voluntary-sector organizations must buy health insurance that finances procedures their leaders consider deeply immoral. Centralized government will decide what's moral, and you'll be forced to pay for it.

Higher tax rates on high earners, even if they produce less revenue, are an attempt to centralize power in government and to limit the autonomy and countervailing power of individuals in the voluntary sector.

Which is why the liberal bloggers cheer them on. And why they eagerly join the Obama White House in demonizing the Koch brothers, who donate large sums to conservative causes. (Disclosure: I have spoken at two Koch conferences and was reimbursed for travel expenses.)

The Obama Democrats don't want their funders like George Soros getting competition from the likes of Charles and David Koch.

Similarly, the prospect of Republicans spending as much money as Democrats (unlike 2004 and 2008, when Democrats spent more) led Obama to declare inoperative his denunciations of super PACs and to create his own, with Cabinet members authorized to raise money for it.

This election is a contest between a Democrat who wants to make this country more like Tocqueville's France and Republicans who want to keep it more like Tocqueville's America. The liberal bloggers are rooting for France.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM


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