Rachel Alexander

Americans appear to have begun entering a more conservative phase, reflected in part by the popularity of the family-oriented, God-loving TV show Duck Dynasty. Although it is not a big expensive production, just a reality show, it has become the second most popular show on cable TV.

Yet this isn't translating into changes in Americans' politics or their government. Americans are still voting for Democrats, accepting socially liberal positions and expanding government. The reason is simple. Liberalism self-perpetuates itself if left unchecked because people are lazy. This is due to the nature of government. It is difficult to feel the effects of incrementally raising taxes and increasing spending across the board.

The average American now owes $52,878.60 in federal debt. If each American was forced to pay their share of the debt now, you can guarantee the vast majority would start voting for Republicans.

Government withholdings from paychecks also contributes to this insulating effect. If the government didn't mandatorily withhold taxes from each paycheck, many Americans would not have enough money at the end of the year to pay all of the income taxes they owe. The average American making $50,000 annually loses about $10,000 of that just to federal income taxes. Can you imagine the chaos if Americans were suddenly individually responsible to come up with $10,000 every year?

This masking of the harsh realities makes it easy to accept just one more tax increase for a “good cause.” Who notices a 1 cent increase in the sales tax? The correlation is direct – it is easy to feel compassionate and helpful when you can watch seemingly painless money going to a righteous cause. The cause doesn't even have to be righteous, just mask it as going to schools and law enforcement by providing a tiny amount to those entities and naming the bill after them.

Contrast this with the indirect harm tax and spending increases cause. That small tax increase will hurt businesses. Some will either shut down, laying off employees, or compensate in other ways, such as by dropping health insurance for employees. Yet the harm is so indirect, not specifically identifiable when legislation is proposed, that it is less persuasive.

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander is the editor of the Intellectual Conservative. She also serves as senior editor of The Stream.