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Hands off! Politics and purse strings

Remember when the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms objected to having taxpayers fund art that demeaned Christians or was sexually explicit? That mean old Helms, he wants to take away your art, became the narrative. We were reminded of that fun time in American political history when people started screaming recently that Republicans want to take away birth control and other 'women's health' options. As in the Helms episode, Republicans were set up, and the setup worked beautifully.

The setup goes like this. The left uses a subterfuge to obtain public funding for things it likes. Everybody likes art, so let's 'support the arts.' Most people are OK with funding health clinics for low-income families, so we'll fund those, too. But under that broad umbrella — 'arts' or 'public health' — activists eventually slip controversial items that a lot of people strongly object to funding.

So we get taxpayer funding of anti-Christian art, abortafacient drugs and organizations that perform abortions. Or we get government mandates that we have to pay for those things, no matter how strongly we might oppose them. When people object to being compelled by the state to finance someone else's agenda, the left turns the tables. We hear that conservatives want to insert politics into health care or the arts.

Of course, the people who object to having their tax money fund these things are not injecting politics into anything. The politics are already there. They were injected when the public funding began.

Democrats were attacking Republicans last week for trying to disentangle taxpayer money and groups that perform abortions. Republicans were told to keep their hands off of Planned Parenthood. But if Planned Parenthood just kept its hands out of Republicans' wallets, then wouldn't that solve the problem?

You cannot advocate that taxpayers subsidize your friends, allies and pet causes, and then complain about political interference when some taxpayers object. Well, you can, but you wouldn't be very honest if you did. If you don't want politicians meddling with things you care about, then don't hand them control over those things.


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