Fight for soul of America's destiny
The political stand-off over the US debt crisis is a battle of ideologies whose outcome will decide what sort of country the West's economic powerhouse turns into, writes Jeremy Warner
Published 28/07/2011 | 05:00
To understand the origins of the stand-off between Republicans and Democrats over the US debt crisis, it is necessary to revisit an event that took place in Boston Harbour nearly 238 years ago. On December 16, 1773, a group of Massachusetts colonists boarded ships belonging to the East India Company and threw the entire cargo into the sea. There, in tax rebellion, began the American Revolution.
This iconic event in US history, the one from which the modern Tea Party takes its name, helped establish a national aversion to taxation that has remained at the heart of the American psyche. For a people defined by the idea of rugged individualism, self-reliance and the frontier spirit, the presumption of low taxes -- and correspondingly small government -- is an article of faith as sacred as motherhood and apple pie.
Few would contest the manifold economic success that these principles have delivered. They are the very foundation of the American economic model, and helped to make the US the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever seen.