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Microscopically Smaller Government

By The Reverend Published: March 19, 2011

One of the often heard slogans of libertarians and Tea Partiers is "smaller government." All problems that exist, according to libertarian types, exist because government is too intrusive and too big.

This smaller-government religion is epitomized in the words of one Grover Norquist, former College Republican dirty trickster. The Grover is famous for saying that the goal of conservatives should be to shrink the size of government down so it could be drowned in a bathtub. That Grover, he's so clever.

You may have heard the Boehner, or the Cantor, or Droopy Dawg say similar things about the size of government....and how oh-so-intrusive it is....wiggling it's way into every fiber of our lives the way it does.

Of course Grover, and his bathtub drowning Gang, don't mean a word of it. What they mean when they sling their "smaller government" slogans like they do is that regulations on big business and taxes on the wealthiest among us need shrunken down until neither exists any longer. That's all any of it means.

Here's the evidence that today's Republicans don't really believe in smaller government...

Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans' "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they'd have to detemine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion.

Here's a link to the actual bill so you can read it for yourself.

In their zeal to reduce the size of Grover's government, Republicans are proposing a huge intrusive expansion of government. No, I don't get it either. But non-Republican, non-libertarian, non-conservative Americans are not supposed to get it. That's the beauty of it....or not.

And this smaller-government-through-larger-more-intrusive-government approach is not limited to the schitzoid talkers in D.C. In many blood-red states across America, state legislatures and Grover governors are saying one thing....our problem is that government is too big and intrusive...while doing just the opposite.....expanding the size and intrusiveness of government by imposing new regulations and bureaus of enforcement on reproductive-age women.

Just as today's Republicans do not care about today's deficits and debt, using deficits and debt as political sledgehammers to gain power in order to reward their rich Benefactors with further tax reductions and fewer regulations on too today's Republican slogan of "smaller government." They don't care about that either.

The proposal, which House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has declared a top priority of the new Republican Congress, has 221 cosponsors and is expected to pass the House easily.

How intrusive, how much bigger would government have to be if such a bill were actually passed?....

.....during Wednesday's hearing, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) highlighted the IRS enforcement issue, which has until now flown under the radar. He asked:

Would a woman have to certify that the Health Savings Account funds she spent on birth control pills or for a doctor's visit weren't used to pay for an abortion? If a woman were audited, would IRS agents be at her house demanding court documents or affidavits proving that her pregnancy was the result of rape or incest?

The answer....

Barthold replied that the taxpayer would have to prove that she had complied with all applicable abortion laws. Under standard audit procedure, a woman would have to provide evidence to corroborate facts about abortions, rapes, and cases of incest, says Marcus Owens, an accountant and former longtime IRS official. If a taxpayer received a deduction or tax credit for abortion costs related to a case of rape or incest, or because her life was endangered, then "on audit [she] would have to demonstrate or prove, ideally by contemporaneous written documentation, that it was incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger," Owens says.

See how small today's Republicans want to shrink the government? Small enough to fit into a woman's uterus.

So when you hear your Tea Party relative bloviating about how one of our biggest national threats is that the government is just too damn big....and intrusive of, you know, your liberties......simply remind them of their representatives attempts to expand the size and intrusiveness of goverment in this IRS-must-audit-your-birth-control-and-your-uterus bill.

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