David Michael Green has a brilliant rant about the Tea Party. Here are (too many) choice quotes, but the whole (fairly short) article is worth a read.
It’s ironic, to begin with, that the ones who are bitching loudest today are precisely the people who created the mess we’re in.
The astonishing irony here is that they’ve had their way with economic policy in this country for thirty years running. And, excuse me, but now they’re pissed off at the results?
Taxes today are a mere hint of what they used to be, just as the right has insisted must be the case. For the rich especially, top marginal income taxes have come down from 91 percent to 35 percent. But, of course, even that doesn’t include earnings on capital gains, a giant portion of their income, which is now at 15 percent. Nor does it include the estate tax, which has now disappeared entirely.
On trade, previously existing barriers and protections for domestic industries have been eviscerated almost completely, so that for much of the world today, it’s a single market for products and capital. Labor? Not so much. What a shock, then, that America’s good jobs – especially in manufacturing – are now all located in Mexico. Or at least they were, until even those became too expensive and got moved to China and India and Vietnam.
The story is the same in the domain of labor relations, where the playing field has been slanted massively in the direction of capital, starting with Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers. The upshot of these rule changes and enforcement laxity has been that the portion of union-protected jobs in America has shrunk from about 35 percent to about 7 percent, with precisely the results for workers that you’d expect.
With deregulation, too, we’ve seen massive changes as well over the same period, across industries far and wide, not least of which includes the repealing of Glass-Steagal and the unleashing of Wall Street. The right insisted – and still does – that this is great news for the economy. History begs to differ.
The result, of course, has been economic devastation far and wide. The rich have gotten massively richer, the rest of us are sinking, the federal debt has skyrocketed, our jobs have been exported to China and India, Wall Street has plunged the global economy into the toilet, corporations like BP do whatever they want without fear of consequence, and the United States is imploding as a great power. These are not coincidences, either. And now here comes the great irony: the same people who have been getting their way on the economy for thirty years now are just absolutely livid about what they themselves have created! They’re just completely enraged at the product of their own politics.
A second great irony is the extent to which the tea party bozos are being manipulated by elites like the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch and the likes of Dick Armey. The very people who created the public’s economic insecurity in order to get rich off of it, are now channeling the resulting rage into support for more of the same.
Another pretty serious irony is that the tea partiers are likely about to gain some substantial power, but have no solutions to the problems they perceive. … Unless, of course, they’re prepared to slash Social Security and Medicare spending. Which they’re not. When the New York Times ran a poll on tea partiers back in April, it found that they tend to favor the generic idea of cutting government programs. Just not the only ones that really matter. Some were unable to reconcile the competing concepts: “‘That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?’ asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. ‘I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.’ She added, ‘I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.'”
The only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: ‘No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.'”
I notice that nobody running for Congress this year is specifying just how they’d kill the deficit. They want to cut spending, and they say they can, but they can’t see any rush in specifying how they’ll do it. That can wait til after the election. Republican duplicity and hypocrisy.
What would it look like if Obama didn’t have to pay for Bush’s wars based on lies, didn’t have to pay for Bush’s prescription drug plan, didn’t have to pay for Bush’s tax cuts, didn’t have to pay for stimulus funds to rescue the country from Bush’s Great Recession, and didn’t have to pay interest (one of the biggest items in the federal budget) on the money that Bush and Reagan borrowed previously? Most likely, it would look like it did on January 20, 2001, the day that Bush came to office, and the United States was running the greatest surplus ever in its history.
So here we stand. The people who created endless disaster as far as the eye can see are now completely beside themselves in outrage that someone is spending a few dollars to clean up the mess these same folks have made by convincing America to follow their policies over the last thirty years. They want big changes, right now, even though they can’t quite specify what they want – other than changes that won’t hurt them, personally – and even though these changes would do absolutely nothing to solve the current problems facing the country, and would in fact probably exacerbate those.