Divide and Conquer

Big Government advocates avoid scrutiny of their programs by getting small government advocates, taxpayers, and tax cutters to fight against each other. They pit one group against the other so that none of them are pitted against Big Government.

Example 1:

Bickering over property assessments are a great way to keep property taxpayers from complaining about the overall tax revenues that governments collect.

By starting a conversation about whether assessments are equitable, politicians hook property owners into concerning themselves with whether their house was assessed too high relative to their neighbors. This serves to distract taxpayers from even noticing that everyone's tax bill is too high or that the state or local government collecting the property tax is overspending by millions, if not billions, of dollars. It directs taxpayers' anger at their neighbors rather than where it belongs: at the politicians who are raising their taxes.

Example 2:

Politicians love to play class warfare by accusing the rich of not paying enough in taxes. They can easily incite people to resent others with more wealth and thus to support an agenda to "tax the rich".

As a result politicians frequently manage to obscure the fact that their proposals would tax the lower and middle income taxpayers just as much, if not more, and that they would cause overall taxes and spending to increase.