I had the opportunity to cover the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference’s first day for the National Taxpayers Union. As a blogger, we were given a room overlooking the floor of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel but that didn’t stop the discussion amongst the tech savvy sect of the conservative and free-market blogosphere.
While speakers were headlining initiatives like the Contract from America and various campaigns going on around the country, bloggers were chatting, tweeting, facebooking, and snickering. When Dick Cheney and Scott Brown made surprise appearances, you could tell they were the news makers as Internet junkies abandoned laptops for a spot at the nearby balcony to get a look at the national figures.
Subjects were as varied as the tickers on news networks. I heard one of the first speakers mention Roe vs. Wade, a later speaker described the credit crisis, and two Cheney’s spoke of the United States’ direction in foreign policy and defense. Socially, culturally, and politically, this year’s CPAC brought American grassroots concerns to the national forefront.
While Americans are struggling with the economic downturn, the housing crisis, and the uncertain future before them, they understand the triumphs of America’s past were conceived of not through government policy but private sector innovation. However, the two don’t operate independently of each other. Markets rely on government rule of law while governments can’t handle the load the spontaneous order generates on an hourly basis.
It was a great experience to see proponents in the freedom movement planning and organizing for the upcoming elections and rallies, and more can be done.
Taxes seemed to have become a staple issue but it is much more important than a simple sound bite. Pundits fail to point out the ever-increasing complexity of the tax code, both for individuals and businesses. With that complexity comes a harder way to make taxes more transparent. With less transparency comes much more difficulty in the check citizens have on government. Ultimately, fiscal responsibility suffers with the higher revenues and growing fallacy that government solves problems. Higher taxes hurt healthy economies and the government shot of penicillin always turns out to be snake oil.
Spending also has been marginalized instead of attacked. It wasn’t healthcare reform or the proposed Cap-and-Trade bill that got America into a spending spree but the progressive expansion of government with every new Presidential Administration. Excess spending is a symptom of both Republican and Democrat decisions and results in everyone suffering. If real change is to occur, spending freezes must be acts of Congress on mandatory spending, as well as the discretionary.
Overall, liberty lovers should sleep a bit better tonight with the happenings at CPAC. Like the Tea Party Convention and numerous conferences going on around the country, the meetings and speeches are coalescing into a unified opposition of big government, higher taxes, and tyranny.