Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How I Know the Debt Compromise Isn't That Bad: The Tea Party Hates It

I'm  not a huge fan of the recent debt ceiling agreement - other than coming to the agreement averted making our already iffy economy much worse long term.

And Hell, how can you get excited or take seriously any debt reduction plan that keeps the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy and big business AND in which President Obama pretty much caved on all the key issues?

But you know why I think that this recent deal is at least OK...at least heading in the right direction?

The Tea Party hates it.

That's right. They think it isn't enough and is a sell out to their cause.

In my estimation, the Tea Party principles are so far off base for what's actually happening in this country and what's needed to fix it that the fact that they don't like this compromise is a good thing. It means we're not going down the path they would advise.

Seriously, these are people who have amnesia when it comes to how our debt and economic crisis happened. How did we get into our mess? Right:
  • HUGE tax cuts for the wealthy and big business
  • Massive deregulation of the financial and real estate industries - resulting in a meltdown in each
  • Overwhelming outsourcing and offshoring of U.S. jobs by companies...who by the way don't pay any taxes either
  • The spectacularly poor decision making by President Bush to commit us to an 8 year (so far) war in Iraq and the costs associated with that
  • Our war in Afghanistan and the costs associated with that
These are the core reasons. Not Social Security. Not Medicare. Not some secret socialist plot to overtake "America."

And what does the Tea Party say they'd do to balance the budget and get us out of our debt? Lets look at their platform:
  • Eliminate excessive taxes. Hey, nobody wants to pay "excessive" taxes. Unfortunately, this one has the distinct and familiar sound of code for actually meaning cut taxes for the rich and corporations. It's all in what you define as "excessive" and for whom.
  • Eliminate the national debt. OK - when in debt, you have to cut spending and raise revenue. Otherwise, you're just cutting and that will lead to bigger problems. So, this one and the first plank cancel each other out.
  • Eliminate deficit spending. I guess you achieve this if you eliminate the debt. But then, once you've eliminated the deficit, without revenue the government cannot function...and since you are against "excessive taxes," you don't have that revenue. Net-net...no government really. Nice.
  • Protect free markets - simple code for deregulation and protecting the ability for companies to outsource and offshore jobs. Really people, that's what this nets out as. My guess is that this one is in here because there is a perceived "socialist" element (aka any spending at all) by the Federal government as a result of the financial bailouts and the healthcare reform law.
  • Abide by the Constitution. Fine. But we all know the Constitution is interpreted in many different ways. Again, my thought is that this is in here because of a perception that certain things Obama has done are not Constitutional such as healthcare reform.
  • Reduce the Overall Size of Government. Nobody wants a big, bloated bureaucracy that weighs down the economy. Conversely, nobody wants a wafer thin government that does virtually nothing. Oh, you think we'd be better off with a super small government? Look at the entire history of our country. It is only in the period between the 1940s and 1970s that we had what is perceived to be "big government." And that same time frame is when this nation had its very best economic times. Before that...there was a very small middle class, a few super wealthy and a very large poor population. After, well, you know how things have been going. So, I give the Tea Party an D- on this one.
  • Believe in the People. As written by the Tea Party, this one is just a re-statement of the "protect free markets" plank. If the Tea Party actually believed in the people, then they'd be in favor of healthcare reform, repeal of Bush tax cuts, closing corporate tax and offshoring loopholes and strong Medicare and Social Security programs.
  • Avoid Pitfalls of Politics. Oops. Too late.
  • Maintain Local Independence. Almost "power to the people" if you ask me. Somehow I don't think this is what they mean.
Strip out some paranoid stuff and you get a perception for the exact things that got the USA into the mess we're in now. So, none of this crap will actually work. And since the people espousing this crap didn't get what they wanted in the recent deficit deal, that is a good sign in my book.

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