On the Tea Party Movement

Columnists are both intelligent and articulate by their very nature. To me, the two key factors distinguishing them are tone and position. David Brooks (NY Times) is one of my favorite columnists because he is not angry or condescending and his moderate positions are more in line with mine. Thus the very reasons many to the right and left do not care for Mr. Brooks.

Brooks’ recent column on the Tea Party movement surprised me – well, in a timing sense. I am not a tea party supporter for various reasons. First, they are simply too angry for me; thus I have a difficult time giving them the time of day. Their propensity for vicious name-calling is unnecessary, obnoxious, and disrespectful.

Secondly, I find them hypocritical. Now I can understand their opposition government involvement in the current health-insurance debate; but they do not argue to repeal Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Whereas they tend to be more economic isolationists and promote American-made, their purchasing behaviors are counter to their words.

I’m confident that most Tea Party members have a strong distaste for anything associated with Michael Moore. On the other hand, don’t they support polar-opposite movies/documentaries (and I loosely use those nouns)?

Now here is the kicker. Brooks writes, “They believe big government, big business, big media, and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes, and intrusive regulation.”

Since this seems correct from my perspective, I ask this question – Why are these people supporting the Republican Party? Do they not realize that the GOP is simply a different group of affluent professionals supported by a different group of special interests who favor their self-serving needs above the needs of the country and its people?

Since the Libertarian Party contains the ideals of the Tea Party movement, instead of being a slice of the Republican Party, why not join and support the Libertarian Party! After all, America can use viable alternatives to the big, dominant parties. Oh, that’s right – it is about money, self-serving special interests, and the media.

On the Recent Tea Parties

The recent “tea parties” were an interesting event attended by a conglomeration of people. Whether it was a political-party event or not, I ask this to those who sincerely attended about concerns about government spending: Would you have attended if the rally was held during 2001-2006 span?

  • If so, abandon your party and then join and vote Libertarian.
  • If not, you attended for partisan reasons.

John Avlon’s closing paragraph about the topic is a great point.

In his closing remarks to the New York rally, all-but-announced 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich hopefully pointed out that the tea parties of 1773 were just a beginning. But for these Tax Day protests to have any lasting positive effect, they will need to widen their targets to a repudiation of the Republican Party’s Bush-era contempt for balanced budgets, their pork-barrel spending, and first-round TARP bailouts. They will need to be willing to work with President Obama and centrist Democrats if the promised move toward entitlement reform emerges. Any credible transpartisan movement to restore a sense of generational responsibility to our politics first needs to prove that is not the puppet of partisan ambitions. That’s a modern declaration of independence our Founding Fathers might smile upon.

Economic basics tells us that government monies should stimulate the economy during difficult times, which it’s trying to do. On the other hand, economic basics also says that government needs to get out of the way during growth periods, which is something that it seldom does.

Today’s times are unique because never before have we faced the need for government spending while possessing a large deficit; and it is obvious that the many people would rather blame the current administration than the general practice of the past 40 years. Hence a trivia question, name the presidents (since Nixon) that left office with a smaller deficit than they inherited.

So President Obama is freezing the cabinet budgets. Ho hum because it is a pebble in the Grand Canyon. I appreciate columnist David Brook’s words in a recent column.

Obama imposes hard choices on others, but has postponed his own. He presented an agenda that bleeds red ink a trillion dollars at a time. Now he seems passive as Congress kills his few revenue ideas (cap and trade) and spending cuts (agricultural subsidies). Huge fiscal gaps are opening this decade that can’t be closed by distant entitlement reform. They can’t be closed by cynical Potemkin cuts, a few million at a time.

Federal Budget: Part 3: On Spending

Budgets have two primary activities: revenue (income) and costs (spending). A deficit occurs when spending exceeds income. Aren’t these two activities also important for a business’s bottom line? Aren’t these the same two premises important to our personal finances?

Many voters know that our federal government is inefficient and fiscally irresponsible. Senator McCain does blast earmarking, and to his defense, he’s hasn’t accepted earmarks. On the other hand, isn’t voting for a bill containing earmarks the same as accepting earmarks? Unquestionably yes. Senator McCain may not like pork, but he does enjoy the smell of bacon.

On the other hand, even if all earmarks were eliminated (and all else remained the same), a big annual deficit still exists, thus increasing the total debt. Senator Obama favors additional government for programs such as health care, meaning increased spending – thus the issue remains. Libertarians generally have a stronger stance regarding spending.

Many companies are in the news regarding layoffs to control spending. How often do we hear about the federal government downsizing? How often do congressional and White House staffs undergo a reduction in force?

The conservative Heritage Foundation provides the following graph showing spending over time. Consider going to the link to view other graphs about spending. (Once on the site, see the Next button in the lower right corner.)

Households From U.S. Bureau of the Census, Outlays from FY 2009 Historical Tables, Budget of the United States Government, Table 8.1.

Source: Households From U.S. Bureau of the Census, Outlays from FY 2009 Historical Tables, Budget of the United States Government, Table 8.1.

Many people know that federal spending is out of control, yet voters continue favoring incumbents and their spending habits. Today, the American saving rate is paltry; actually negative the past several years. Therefore, is it possible that voters are electing officials with the similar fiscal policies as the ones practiced in their own lives?

Next Post: The Budget Dilemma