Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How I Joined The Tea Party (Well, Not Really)

A long time ago, on a blog far, far away, (and then again on this blog), I noted a tone of faint irrationality coming from the Tea Party movement, with their anger at taking back their government (which they voted for in an election) and their fury at out of control government spending (which, again, they voted for, and which they're not against when George Bush or Ronald Reagan did it or when the benefits accrue to them personally). I called them names, and probably cracked a joke or two. Yadda yadda. (Matt Taibbi has a nice article in Rolling Stone describing this particular cognitive dissonance.)

Then I listened to Dan Carlin this week, which is kind of like Control-Alt-Delete for your brain. Carlin points out one very key thing about the President currently in power. When George Bush did what President Obama is now doing (claiming the ability to kill Americans overseas without due process) (read this if you don't believe me), I ran around with my hair on (rhetorical) fire (I don't have much hair left, aflame or otherwise) calling him a tyrant. It doesn't get a whole lot more tyrannical than that- if someone, somewhere, says you're a terrorist, you run the risk of being killed. No judge, no trial, no warrant, just your car exploding in a ball of fire and you're done.

Carlin asks, pointedly, if you were against it then, and you're not against it now, because the guy you like is doing it, you are being at the very least inconsistent in your thinking. This is the flip side of my argument against the Tea Party madness- if you were OK with out of control spending on Medicare Part D and endless foreign wars and tax breaks without corresponding spending reductions then, and you're suddenly outraged now, then you're not being logically coherent.

Dan Carlin is absolutely right.

And furthermore, as Carlin notes on the discussion forums for his show, if this policy (again, read this in the Washington Post if you don't believe me) isn't an impeachable offense, what is? This policy takes the entire Bill of Rights and shreds it. (Well, all except the quartering of soldiers. So far.)

Mr. President, you have lost my vote.


  1. I'm very disillusioned with our current President. I think we are better off with him than our other option was, but I'm still not satisfied.

    I think the bottom line is that government doesn't work for the people when you don't have real people, who live typical American lives in power. They are just all out of touch.

    And no, the people on the whole Tea Party thing are not actually normal Americans either, not the candidates anyhow.

  2. "if you were OK with out of control spending on Medicare Part D and endless foreign wars and tax breaks without corresponding spending reductions then, and you're suddenly outraged now, then you're not being logically coherent."

    I opposed the Medicare thing, since I only support welfare for the indigent. I supported Bush's wise actions in fighting back against the terrorists, because unless we do stop them, the wars will truly be endless.

    Keeping the tax breaks (which are mostly for the middle class) makes great sense, and increasing them would clobber the economy and end up costing the treasure more.

    And yes, we could cut spending too.

    And that is very coherent

  3. No, see, that's the whole point. It isn't.

    If you want tax cuts, you HAVE TO CUT THE SPENDING TO MATCH. You cannot cut enough from the right wing's sacred cows ("Waste, Fraud, and Abuse"!
    "Foreign Aid"!) to even balance the current budget, never mind to be able to afford reductions in revenue.

    So advocate all the tax cuts you want. I don't like paying taxes any more than anybody else.

    But YOU HAVE TO CUT THE ITEMS AT THE TOP OF THE LIST. You have to means test Social Security and Medicare. You have to end the wars, and stop with the jet fighters we don't need, and close bases all over the place. (NB- Why are we in Korea? Germany? Okinawa?) Complaining about NPR and some guy who makes too much pushing paper at the State Department is window dressing.

    (And don't forget-try to initiate a conversation with a senior about means testing Social Security. Then duck. They vote, and they are not going to stand for that.)

    I forget who said it, but I'll take the Tea Party seriously about fiscal responsibility when their signs say "Cut MY Social Security."

  4. Let's look at it this way:

    2011 Budget:

    IN: 2,567 billion
    OUT: 3,834 billion
    Deficit: 1,267 billion.

    OK, let's not cut any taxes. Just close the deficit.

    TARP? 11 billion
    Education? 50 billion
    EPA? 10 billion
    NASA? 19 billion
    Interior? 12 billion

    Defense? $550 billion.
    Social Security? $756 billion.
    Medicare? $524 billion.

    Do you see?

    Yes, there is WFA (Waste, Fraud and Abuse) in all of those numbers. It should be rooted out.

    But you're not touching that deficit number-not even scratching the surface-without Medicare, Social Security, and Defense cuts.

    And in 2010? You're not cutting any of those things. Not if you want to still be in Congress in 2012.

  5. THAT'S why I say the Tea Party is not serious about the deficit. When they start advocating for cuts in the Big Three, then we will know they are going to be grownups about the budget.

    And again, you need to cut MORE from these programs if you want to cut taxes, too.

    As Spongebob says, Good Luck With That.

  6. It is disheartening to see a man who promised change succumb to the same policies as previous Presidents. I'm disappointed, but I still hopeful for real change. (Of course, I am somewhat naive as well.)

    Your point about the tax cuts and cutting spending is an excellent one. Cutting spending frees revenue which is as, or more, important than cutting taxes.


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