A “Thank You” Campaign for the U.S. Taxpayer

thankyouLast week, I was watching Vice President Joe Biden on television speaking in Detroit to leaders of the American auto industry. There at the North American International Auto Show, he hailed the success of the bailouts both General Motors and Chrysler received in 2009.

The debate will likely never be settled as to whether or not those companies required a federal bailout in order to survive, even though there’s strong evidence to suggest that they didn’t. The Ford Motor Company was in a similar predicament at the time, but chose not to seek government bailout funds. They rebounded just as strongly as GM and didn’t leave U.S. taxpayers with a $10.5 billion dollar loss.

Regardless, the Obama administration is very proud of the role they played in helping out the auto industry, having campaigned on its resurgence heavily during the 2012 election, and still to this day as we saw with Biden’s speech in Detroit.

The CEOs of those companies seem appreciative too, as would any head of a struggling, mismanaged company that had their debt erased by an outside force. They’ve publicly thanked the administration, and the administration has publicly thanked the auto workers, but it seems to me that the people who never get thanked are the ones who most deserve to be: The U.S. taxpayer.

I’ve always found it odd how politicians never feel compelled to thank the U.S. taxpayer for enabling them to carry out their initiatives, especially when it comes to things like the auto bailout that don’t actually benefit the general public.

I mean, when you listen to Joe Biden brag that “GM is alive,” you’d almost think that he had invested his own life-savings in the company, made savvy business decisions, and worked for years to make it a success. When in reality, he and his administration merely took a ton of money that didn’t belong to them and threw it at companies that had been recklessly digging themselves into financial holes for many years.

Now, I realize that I could apply this perspective to many forms of government-spending, and not just to our current administration and congress. This isn’t a partisan criticism by any means. It’s a criticism of the modern-day political culture in this country. I’m talking about a culture that conditions its citizens to accept arbitrary taxation as a legal and even a moral claim by the government to empower itself and do whatever it pleases with the money it receives. Because of that culture, politicians simply don’t respect taxpayers, and they see no reason to be gracious for the wealth that taxpayers work hard to create.

The notion that the people work for the government, and not the other way around, has disillusioned many working Americans over the years – to the point that they have little hope that their voice will ever be heard or that they’ll ever be respected for their tax contributions to society. We see this discontent in the polls that reflect people’s views of Washington.

But imagine if a candidate – let’s say a presidential candidate – was able to convince taxpayers that he or she respected them. Imagine if that candidate successfully shelved class warfare tactics by embracing the American workforce as a whole, and thanking the direly important role they play in our country.

Imagine if that candidate finished up a stump speech like this:

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“Lastly, I want to take a moment to thank the working citizens of this country from the bottom of my heart. When poor, disadvantaged Americans receive government aid in the form of any one of our various social and entitlement programs, it’s not politicians or even the U.S. government that’s doing that.  It’s you. You’re doing that.

You’re the ones who are getting up early every morning, driving to your jobs, taking risks, working hard, and creating wealth not just for yourselves and your families, but also for this country to help its citizens who need help. The working citizens of this country, whether they’re steel workers or CEOs of a Fortune 500 companies, are the ones paying for the highways we all drive our cars on, the military that bravely defends our nation, and the relief efforts for those who’ve lost everything in natural disasters. You are the driving force behind everything good that government has to offer.

Because of that, this country is indebted to you.  And if you put me in office to represent you, I will promise you that I will never forget that. I will value your vitally important contribution to our nation. I will not trivialize it. I will not vilify you for not contributing enough because you do contribute enough. Let me repeat that: You do contribute enough.

And because of that respect I have for you, I will diligently go after the bad things in government. It will be my mission to eliminate waste wherever I see it. It will be my mission to remove government from the areas in your lives where it has no business – and there are many of those areas. I will reform the necessary areas of government that don’t work, and I will make them work, make them solvent, and do that because you deserve that!

You deserve people in the U.S. government who respect you for what you do, and don’t use the fruits of your hard work to stoke jealousy in others and divide Americans along economic lines as part of a cheap, disgraceful political strategy. You deserve people in the U.S. government that don’t leave your children with a $20 trillion national debt, and lay the blame for that debt on you, the American taxpayer, for not giving enough of your hard-earned money to the government. You didn’t cause this problem. They caused this problem.

The people currently in charge do not respect you, the U.S. taxpayer. I do. And I will continue to respect you and the things you do for this nation once I’m elected into office. You’re not a liability to the disadvantaged and jobless in this country. That’s an outright lie. You are an asset – an immense asset. I will never forget that my role as a leader means nothing without the hard working men and women of this country who pay their taxes and deserve not only my respect, but the respect of the entire country.

Again, I thank you.”

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Imagine what a message like that would do for a candidate running for office. Imagine how a message like that, spoken boldly and without reservation, would affect the psyche of an American public that largely views the government as a powerful,  imperialistic force for which they have little influence over. Americans don’t feel empowered anymore because they view government as an employer that never steps outside of a penthouse office, and not as an employee that should be hanging on their every word, eager to please them.From a Dead Sleep by John A. Daly

I believe a “thank you” campaign, like the one I’ve described, would appeal to a broad number of Americans – not just fiscal conservatives. It would not only appeal to people that are part of the American workforce, but also to those who aren’t and might suddenly realize (because of that message) how important taxpayers are to the things they receive from the U.S. government.

For years now, Republican politicians have been trying to figure out a message that strikes a chord with a majority of the electorate. I think that thanking the U.S. taxpayers would be a great start, and it would go a long way toward laying a foundation for instilling conservative principles back among voters.

Whether or not any candidate will actually take such an opportunity to embrace such a narrative, I have no idea. But one can always hold out hope.

 

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Royalsfan67

    The problem is, the message gets distorted by the media by the time it reaches the ears of the American People. Everything in that speech above would be turned around by Democratic politicians and the MSM to a message of hate, bigotry, and class warfare. After two weeks of hearing what a horrible homophobic bigot the Republican was, his poll numbers would drop 6 points. At some point, we need to expand the messaging system so low information voters can receive a speech like this unfiltered.

  • Skip in VA

    John: I certainly agree with what you say. However I believe that politicians have a very human trait: self preservation. And no matter how noble their cause there will always be a “cover my butt” mentality. As for the GM bailout, what Biden left out is GM is alive in a lot of countries. The new Caprice is going to be built in Australia. Other models are being built in Canada, Mexico, and I suspect, China. So much for job creation, huh?

    • Concernedmimi

      Yeah, Skip; like what did the socialist, progressive democrats do with the trillion they borrowed from China for all those ‘shovel ready jobs’?~~~I’ll tell you where it went. In their corrupt pockets and their stinkin crony pals pockets…

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Wealth Redistribution:The real problem (as I see it), is that the only real difference between Republican and Democratic party members is an argument on how to redistribute wealth. Democrats say a lot, Republicans say a little. Why has nobody noticed that “wealth redistribution” is NOT the role of Government in a republican democracy. Unhappily, once you agree philosophically that Governments are “robin hoods” (and today vitually every member of the Senate and Congress Republican and democrat does) most meaningful arguments a little redistribution vs a alot of redistribution appear mean spirited and calloused. The “rule of law” is not just about personal liberties (like voting rights), it’s also about the preservation of individual private property. For example, while developing the U.S. (and Canada) it was armed forces, Police officers and fire trucks that were high on the agenda. (from taxed dollars) Republican Government was NOT about “wealth restribution” it was about protecting the individuals wealth from the predation of other nations, other people, and even from their own Government. Americans fought a revolution over this. In 1776 it was shouted “no taxation without representation”. Based on recent stats some half the country no longer even pays taxes (the bottom 40% or so) This means we now have, “representation without taxation”. (how does that work)? So now we have piles of non taxpayers, voting on how a shrinking pile of taxpayers, should be taxed? I fall parties agree (and they do) that “redistributing wealth” (whether small or large) is an appropriate form of Governance (in a non emergency, like war or disaster) doing it larger will always win (in the end) with doing it smaller. Until at least the wealth is gone.

  • tarmac 492

    Great article and speech John. As you are a novelist, sadly that speech is only a work of fiction. I would have respect for any politician–right or left–who had the gumption for saying this. Sadly, most politicians look at the electorate as ATM’s. We the People have to foot the bill like disapproving parents when gov’t and big business behaves like irresponsible teenagers.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      I don’t disagree. I think there are definitely people who believe the things I wrote in the speech, but its hard to imagine one of them rising to the level of a presidential candidate and saying what I wrote.

      • tarmac 492

        While not applicable to President, I believe term limits for Congress would help/force some politicians to think like this. If they knew they were going to have to re-enter the workforce maybe they would feel that they needed to have government for the People by the People.

  • Concernedmimi

    Ditto to Dave’s comment! Are you running, John? You’ve got my vote!!! Any conservative thinking about being nominated would do well to use your narrative and truly mean it, because this is what most hard working, American loving tax paying citizens really want from their government…Truth and honesty are the rarest qualities these days but sorely needed…

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      lol. Thanks! I think anything that reminds voters that government works for them, and not the other way around, is a good thing.

  • Dave Graham

    I would vote for anyone who said those words and meant them.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Ditto

  • cmacrider

    John:
    Didn’t you forget the other half of the equation namely “and I will not vote to spend your tax money for the benefit of some special interest group when it is clear that a substantial majority of individual taxpayers do not want to pay taxes to fund that special interest.?”

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Good addition. I often think of things I should have added to my columns after I already posted them. ;)

  • Brian Fr Langley

    After jousting with the many lefties on this blog, it’s quite apparent that 10′s of millions of Americans believe all dollars earned from what ever source are subject to voters dictates. They seem not to realize that a republican style democracy is based on “rule of law” and not on the caprice of the mob. Like any whipped up mob they are perfectly prepared to toss the “rule of law” when ever it conflicts with a media generated crisis. It should come as no surprise that poll after poll shows traditional voters to be highly likely to donate (to charity) their own money’s and skills, while progressives do not. Rather progressives lobby Governments to take others peoples money where charity is required. One assumes, to either assuage their guilt because they’re cheap, or because they really believe the mob owns the wealth?

  • Wheels55

    When Joe “Just shoot your shotgun in the air” Biden says something, you had better believe the opposite.
    Just to show what a waste the auto bailouts were, the only people who really benefited were the union members who would never vote Republican anyway. Obama didn’t even buy their votes.

    • Concernedmimi

      Are you kidding wheels55?!! The unions got a sweet-heart deal and private investors and small dealerships got the shaft. Must have missed the hearings on capitol hill.

      • Wheels55

        I think that is what I said…”the only people who really benefited were the union members”. Yes, investors got screwed.

        • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

          Yeah, I think you two are on the same page for sure.

  • Jeff Webb

    I couldn’t tell you for the life of me whether any president in history has said that, not even in part. I could probably count on one hand the ones that seemed to genuinely respect the taxpayers (and have enough fingers left to order another round of shots).
    One of your better columns, homey.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Thanks Jeff! I can’t think of any other president saying such a thing either. That’s why I think it could be particularly effective for someone spreading that message now.