George Will has another good column today - here. His reference to Greece as a society with (in the words of Rep. Paul Ryan) "more takers than makers" struck a chord with me.
It's dangerous for a democracy to allow the population of "takers" to grow unchecked. They turn out in force at election time, and they're adept at squashing any effort to curtail their benefits. Witness Greek "takers" protesting, rioting and killing in an effort to protect their access to government largess.
This disease infects all democracies to a degree. It gets out of hand, though, when the costs of "takers" is hidden from the "makers," those who generate the "goods and services that produce the social surplus that funds government." How does this happen? When there's no mechanism that links spending directly and visibly to taxation. Legislators, influenced by well-organized "takers," weaken this link by complicating the tax code, refusing to raise taxes broadly to cover spending, or simply borrowing rather than taxing.
The result? The army of "takers" grows, while the dwindling population of "makers" sits by ignorantly, absent from the voting booth and national debate because they've been anesthetized from feeling the expense of dangerously expanded government spending.
The Hedge Tax is the tool powerful enough to restore the link between taxing and spending, and save democracies from the "takers" disease overwhelming Greece today and threatening to overwhelm the United States in the near future.