Why are you worried about bailouts, anyway? Don’t you know it’s not your money, but that it belongs to Congress? If I asked which party produced the Congressman who gave that assessment, you might be surprised (via Michelle):

Rep. Joe Knollenberg is a Republican — from Michigan, naturally enough for the auto bailout — who believes that tax money doesn’t come from taxpayers.  “It’s not your money,” he tells Neil Cavuto.  It belongs to Congress, and they’ll do whatever they want with it.  And what they want to do is take it from taxpayers to “prop up” failing businesses instead of forcing them to become competitive.

This is nothing more or less than Republican redistributionism.  We criticized Barack Obama for this during the campaign, but we see here the GOP version of the same kind of flabby, European-style Social Democrat policies of government intervention in markets.  The only difference is the beneficiaries.  Obama wants to take money from those who succeed and give it to those who don’t on a class basis, while Knollenberg and his ilk want to take money from everyone and subsidize corporate failure.

Small wonder that voters chose Obama’s version of redistributionism over Knollenberg’s in the last election.

The first rule of smaller government is that the money does not belong to Congress.  It belongs to the people who earned it, and should be treated that way.  The money should be treated as such and used with great care on only those essential government functions, and only to the extent necessary.  If one is ever tempted to declare that tax monies do not belong to the American people, that person has ceased being conservative at all, and has begun being imperial instead.