Imagine Tea Party Utopia—a country with low taxes, limited government, a strong military, deeply patriotic citizens, plenty of school prayer, and no same-sex anything. Well, that country exists, and it's called Pakistan, writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. "The United States is, of course, in no danger of actually becoming Pakistan, any more than we’re going to become Sweden at the other extreme," says Kristof. "But as America has become more unequal, as we cut off government lifelines to the neediest Americans, as half of states plan to cut spending on higher education this year, let’s be clear about our direction."
For Kristof, this is about the kind of country America will become. Minimal taxes, high inequality, big military, and rules-free business are markers of developing, not modern, countries. "So in this season’s political debates, let’s remember that we’re arguing not only over debt ceilings and budgets, but about larger questions of our vision for our country," concludes Kristof. "Do we really aspire to take a step in the direction of a low-tax laissez-faire Eden ... like Pakistan?" (Read more Nicholas Kristof stories.)