Remaking America: Heard of ‘Make Them Pay’? crucial question I’m raising this week is: Are we remaking America?
Whatever happens in the great budget debate unfolding in Washington D.C., the outcome is likely to dramatically reshape our nation.

TODAY, in the first OurValues column of the week: I’m asking if the current bad economy and crushing debt is a conservative’s dream come true? Are conservatives using this crisis as an excuse to remake America into their image of an ideal nation: a radically small government with minimal social programs? That’s what many critics of the conservative agenda believe. The Republican budget that passed in the House last Friday is really a stealth bomber, these critics say, with the mission to destroy liberal programs, shrink the federal government and benefit the rich.

Today is Tax Day 2011—and a major coalition of progressive groups has declared it’s time to “Make Them Pay”! Have you heard of this campaign? If not, you may be wondering: Who is “them”? According to the campaign, “them” is corporations and millionaires who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. The “Make Them Pay” campaign is vowing to hold more than 300 local protest events and plans to “present tax bills to corporate tax dodgers for the billions of dollars their legions of lobbyists helped them avoid. We’ll organize a peaceful, dignified, and powerful day of action to call on corporations to pay their fair share. And we’ll demand that our elected leaders make them pay.”

Who supports “Make Them Pay”? Co-sponsoring groups posted their logos in the cluster we have reproduced above. See a group you support in this cluster? See a group you oppose?

What is the “Make Them Pay” rationale? The campaign says: “America is not broke. The right-wing wants to convince us we’re broke so that they can push through their radical agenda. And well-connected corporations continue to use their political power to dodge their taxes. In 2009, after helping crash the American economy, Bank of America paid $0 in taxes. GE had a tax bill of $0 in 2010. Republicans want to give a $50 billion tax bailout to big oil companies—and at the same time take away food aid to hungry pregnant women and children. This is immoral and un-American.”

As you pay your taxes today, what do you make of this movement and its aims? 

Does this make sense to you? 

Do you disagree with the campaign’s rationale?

Would you participate in one of their local protests today?

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(Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)

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