The political news for the past few weeks has been greatly focused on the “fiscal cliff.” Much of the news has, in turn, been focused on taxes. While taxation is an important aspect of the fiscal cliff, debating taxation alone ignores the fundamental issue at hand. Government cannot only have its revenue cut, but government itself must be cut.

The debate has been entirely concerned with taxes. Liberals wish to tax the “rich,” while conservatives wish to refrain from raising taxes. There are even cries to lower taxes. But this is not enough. To merely argue the current tax questions, though somewhat necessary, is a sad and sorry policy. To argue this rallies the conservative and libertarian base on a fleeting issue which is a slave to trends. I might add, arguing purely about tax increases is to have our arguments and moves dictated by our opponents. Therefore, tax increases, though important, cannot be the focus of this debate. If taxes are to be discussed, then let us talk about the general philosophy behind taxation. Is it of such a minute amount to fund a purposely crippled and small government, or to pillage and plunder at gunpoint the American people, funding a monstrous and leviathan government? Finally, when the matters of taxing the “wealthy” is brought up, the unjust progressive taxation also can be attacked and defeated.

This mentality of arguing about taxes shows a fundamental failure in logic. If taxes are the problem, then the government’s problem is not one of spending, but revenue. Thus, if a tax-based solution is desired—a revenue solution—one is still avoiding the question of the government. But, if one is a liberal, moderate, or “big government” conservative, this is exactly the problem. There is no moral or philosophical issue, then, of the government being involved in road building, agriculture, regulating food and drugs, and education (to only name a few). Government has become so involved in our lives that it has a negative impact upon our society and economy. Think of the industry that might exist if government would retreat and allow the free market to supply all things, rather than retaining control and penalizing many sectors of our economy. Even in the pillars of our economy, the government has exerted its poisonous influence. In matters of currency, the Federal Reserve has forced its glorified play money upon our nation. Even though government intervention, regulation, and control over some segments of the economy might be harmful and stagnating, this financial and monetary control is much worse. Controls of this nature will bring economic collapse.

Should Republicans compromise? Absolutely not. This is not even a questionable matter. The “fiscal cliff” is much more than a momentary budget issue—it stands to destroy our nation. If refusing to compromise means the Federal government shutting down, then so be it. It does not seem so bad to have the Federal government shut down because conservatives stand on principles, rather than compromising and eternally returning to the fiscal cliff’s edge. That being said, I must be realistic and question how much faith we may put in our politicians alone. Many of them have failed us before. One must also consider how many of our politicians are concerned with winning the next election, and how, according to the coming mainstream media campaigns, they oppose preventing a “solution” to the fiscal cliff. We must put pressure never before seen on our politicians to oppose Band-Aids and wholesale theft to “prevent” a fall off the cliff.

Despite what President Obama says, robbing those who make over $250,000 will not solve the problem. Obama’s continual chant of fighting for the middle class is a deception. Someone apart from the “rich” will have to pay for the leviathan-sized government. Inevitably, the “middle class” must join the ranks of the “rich” in terms of tax rates. Perhaps it’s due to a collectivist hatred of the bourgeois. Perhaps it’s because only roughly half of Americans currently pay income taxes. Regardless, Ben Bernanke’s magical money machine cannot produce a solution. The money must come from somewhere.

Every logical person will agree that there must be some cuts in the Federal government. It is merely a point of reason. Logically, there will be some waste, fraud, abuse, and inefficiencies. Therefore cuts must be made. But reasonable cuts are not enough, at least in this sense of “reasonable.” Slashes and amputations are in order. Whole departments of the Federal government should be cut. Some of these departments include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and others. Government, especially the Federal government, has no role in these areas.

Sweeping changes to the Federal government, returning it to the Constitution, will not happen overnight. As much as I resent this, this also is a point of logic. There are too many in the United States today who are opposed to moving back to Constitutional principles. Some of these opposing people even claim to be “conservatives.” This aspect of the fiscal cliff discussion is the one that ties directly to education. Because most Americans attended public (i.e. government) schools, they have been taught Progressive philosophy as the truth. As a result, many Americans are both resistant to liberty and ignorant of the philosophies of liberty. We must educate and persuade our fellow citizens. If there is a liberty-loving majority then the politicians will be forced to make a choice: risk their jobs and continue violating the Constitution and natural rights or return to Constitutional principles. The result is easy to predict. As we all know, most politicians highly value their jobs.

Christian Lopac | Wabash College | @CLopac