In his latest column, Thomas Friedman reminds us of something said by presidential candidate George W. Bush:
"The I.R.S. just announced they're going to hire an additional 2,079 bureaucrats. My opponent talks about fighting for the people against the powerful. But it works out a little differently under his plan. In his case, more audits for people, more power for the I.R.S. And that's the heart of his agenda: a fundamental belief in the federal government, a lack of trust and faith in ordinary Americans. . . . I trust people; he trusts the government."
But, the IRS is law-enforcement agency. It ensures that people abide by the law; it makes people pay their federal taxes. If you don't like the law, go after the legislators, however, George W. Bush has no shame in going after the 'bureaucrats'. More people, it must be infered from Bush's comments, should be able to avoid their taxes -- avoid the law.
From the quote above, we have to assume that "the powerful" are people like Ken Lay and "the people" are Enron stockholders. "The people" who had their 401(k) accounts decimated by "trust."
Why, one must wonder, if Bush trusts everybody to be law abiding -- why he trusts Ken Lay so much -- why he allows this country to have so many police officers? Don't trust the government, don't trust the law enforcers, trust the people.
Law enforcers have a job to do; oversight officials have a job to do; they make sure that our system works. Don't tie their hands, don't put them down. Let them do what they do and let's make sure the system works.
Friedman ends the column with a great line: "...so much of America's moral authority to lead the world derives from the decency of our government and its bureaucrats, and the example we set for others. These are not things to be sneered at by a president. They are things to be cherished, strengthened and praised every single day."
Preach on, Tom, preach on.