Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Harper's Celebration of the War of 1812

In announcing their intention to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 the Conservative press release noted:"Against great odds, it took the combined efforts of Canadians of all ancestries to repel the American invasion..."

Indeed early on the war effort of the Americans was a dismal failure. But do the Harperites realize it was a failure in no small part because the forces advocating the war in the U.S. were low tax small government consevatives like, um, the Harper Conservatives? From Econobrowser:
I’ve been reading some history, from Simon Johnson and James Kwak's new book, White House Burning. And it strikes me how ahistorical (or just plain ignorant of history) so many of the prescriptions for fixing up the economy are. For instance, the tax cutting ideology of today is merely a recapitulation of what has caused America to come to grief at the Nation’s birth.
From White House Burning, on the lead-up to the War of 1812:
... the War Hawks were ideologically and politically opposed to taxes—particularly the excise (internal trade) taxes that Gallatin wanted to impose. As the party of small government, the Democratic-Republicans believed that higher tax revenues constituted a threat to individuals’ and states’ rights. Perhaps more importantly, they feared that raising taxes to fight a war could hurt them at the ballot box. ...
Hampered by Congress’s reluctance to raise taxes, the Treasury Department struggled to pay for soldiers in the field and ships at sea. ... Congress finally agreed to impose excise taxes in 1813, but it was too late to build up a world-class military. ... In August 1814, British forces sailed into Patuxent. ... The soldiers marched overland ... and eventually reached Washington, where they encountered little resistance. On the night of August 24, they burned the Capitol, the Treasury Building, and the White House ...” (pages 3-4)
Of course irony is not one of Harper's strong suits so I am sure this would sail over his head. The juxtaposition was just too delicious to ignore.