But I noted back in April that the supposedly right-wing Christian Democrat party in Slovakia put on a display of stupidity that was so mind-boggling that it made GOPers look like rocket scientists.
Notwithstanding their original protestations to the contrary, the Christian Democrats (who were the lead party in the governing coalition) decided to support the bailout of Greece.
And when Slovakia’s pro-freedom SAS Party (part of the governing coalition) refused to support this terrible idea, the top Christian Democrat politicians decided that the bailout was so important that they struck a deal with the Social Democrats to get their votes in exchange for early elections.
Which, of course, meant that Social Democrats prevailed and the Christian Democrats lost power. And, much to my dismay, the Social Democrats are now poised to repeal the flat tax.
But that terrible development is only happening because the Christian Democrats were so breathtakingly stupid that they threw away power in the first place. And they gave up power so they could do something bad for Slovakia. Amazing.
It seems stupidity is infectious, because something similar is now happening next door in the Czech Republic.
Just as was the case in Slovakia, there’s a supposedly right-wing government in charge of the Czech Republic. So you would think that this government would be focused on controlling spending and lowering tax rates.
But that’s based on the assumption of competence, intelligence, and principles. Those characteristics seem to be in short supply. Here’s an excerpt from a report in the Washington Post.
The lower house on Wednesday rejected a 1 percent increase in the sales tax on retail goods and a 7 percent income tax increase for the highest-earners. The parliamentary refusal came after six lawmakers from the conservative Civic Democratic Party of Prime Minister Petr Necas voted against because they said the tax hikes are against their party’s values. Necas said Thursday a new vote should take place in three months and the government is linking it to a confidence vote. If that vote also fails, the coalition government will fall.
Just in case you’re not familiar with the workings of parliamentary systems, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic is throwing a tantrum and threatening to have an election (which he almost certainly will lose) and turn the country back over to the leftists.
Unless, of course, he can convince a handful of principled lawmakers from his own party decide to stab taxpayers in the back and support a big tax hike. But not just a big tax hike. The Prime Minister wants to get rid of the flat tax by imposing a special, Obama-style class-warfare tax rate on the so-called rich.
I hope the six lawmakers mentioned in the news report hold firm, even if they’re only doing the right thing for non-principled reasons. It soon will be very obvious that they are/were on the side of the angels and that the Prime Minister and the other members of the party are a bunch of hacks who are willing to screw taxpayers in a lame and pathetic effort to buy votes with other people’s money.
I’m not sure which politician is most deserving of scorn. Is it Prime Minister Necas, who is channeling the spirit of George H.W. “read my lips” Bush as he leads his party over the cliff? Or is it Prime Minister Radicova of Slovakia, who got her party tossed from power because she decided her nation’s taxpayers should support the corrupt vote-buying schemes of Greek politicians?
I’ve had friends tell me that this is inevitable because smart right wingers go into business, leaving the dregs for politics. It’s just the opposite for the left, they say. The smart leftists have no desire to dirty their hands with real work (Obama viewed his tiny bit of experience with the private sector “working for the enemy”), so they gravitate to government.
I think that’s way too simplistic of an explanation. I suspect the answer can be found in the insights of public choice economics, which explains that government and politics are corrupting institutions.