Against Bush's bailout bill & against Obama's stimulus bill
Many of us celebrated when the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, or bailout bill, was initially defeated by a narrow margin. And many were sickened when the bill was fattened up with the addition of more pork to buy votes and then passed just a few
days later. On Dec. 16, 2008, Pres. George Bush appeared on CNN and actually said, "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system." A Republican president had openly repudiated the free-market capitalism that had been the engine
of liberty and freedom in the world. My heart sank. For the first time in my life I thought the end of American prosperity, and ultimately democracy, might be at hand.
With the election of President Barack Obama, things only seemed to get worse.
On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the "stimulus" bill. A young woman called it by its real name: pork. So did about a hundred other people who showed up at a "Porkulus" protest.
Act of cowardice by lawmakers to inflict generational harm
Government overspending is not an abstract problem. It is the central problem of our time. When America was hit on 9/11, it was an act of war. When America is hit by hurricanes or floods or wildfires, those are acts of nature.
But when America gets hit by a tidal wave of spending, it is an act of cowardice--or worse--by our elected representatives.
Government overspending is a self-inflicted problem.
Which means we can put an end to this problem by holding our representatives' feet to the fire, getting them to honor the oaths they swore to uphold, and stopping them from inflicting generational harm to America by spending
trillions of dollars we simply do not have.
The Tea Party Patriots have to swat the Republican leadership, often several times a week, to stop them from driving America into insolvency at only a slightly slower speed than the Democrats.
OpEd: Congress waives PAYGO even when slightly inconvenient
What is this PAYGO? It is the concept that governments should "pay-as-they-go," meaning they should only pay for programs with money that they have already taken from you (taxpayer dollars), not money that they will have to take from you & your children
& your grandchildren in the future (debt).
This is a revolutionary concept for governments, so they praise themselves and wrap it in new, flashy names like PAYGO. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said when Congress passed a new PAYGO law in 2010: "Our majority
made PAYGO the rule of the House--that if you wanted to have an investment or an entitlement, you had to pay for it. There was no open-ended spending." Did our government follow its own law? Not according to one budget scholar who observed
that "Congress waived PAYGO every time it proved even slightly inconvenient." Congress waived it for the $787 billion "stimulus" bill. And waived it on page 888 of the 2012 budget for the National Infrastructure Bank, which is "not subject to PAYGO."
Fiscal responsibility applies to both Democrats & GOP
Although the Tea Party Patriots' founding documents states that our 1st core principle is fiscal responsibility, there are those who claim the Tea Party movement ignored fiscal irresponsibility when it was practiced by Republicans,
and was only roused to action when it was practiced by Democrats.
Not true. Just ask Republicans.
True, the modern-day Tea Party movement began in February 2009, when the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives were all controlled by Democrats. But the 1st stirrings of our movement started with the out-of-control spending of the
Republican George W Bush administration--which gathered steam in his 2nd term and came to a head with President Bush's big government bailouts in September of 2008.
Taxation & regulation replaces wisdom of the market
Historically, the government has been most involved in the American economy in 4 ways:
Each of these levers is now intended to replace the wisdom of the market with the wisdom of a "ruling elite" that believes it knows better.
Let's ask the following questions.
If Stimulus 1 was a good idea, why did we need a Stimulus 2 or all those other rounds of stimulus under different names? If Quantitative Easing 1 (QE1) was such a good idea, then why QE2--or, even
worse, a proposed QE3? Why are people's homes still being foreclosed upon? Why is the housing market still in collapse? And where are all those jobs we were promised?
The Fed has been beyond the reach of the people's representatives. The Fed has consistently taken the position that it operates outside the supervisory purview of both the legislative and executive branches. However, its authority is granted by the
US Congress, and it is supposed to be subject to congressional oversight. But the Fed is strenuously resistant to an audit of its operations, stating that a true accounting would restrict its independence and autonomy.
Stated another way: the entity that controls our money supply, sets our interest rates, and creates inflation or deflation at its whim doesn't even have to comply with the basic principles of accounting oversight that any company has to observe to be
listed on a stock exchange. Most people find this fact stunning. And 75% of Americans, according to a 2009 Rasmussen poll, want the Fed audited. We, the Tea Party Patriots, agree with 75% of Americans: the time to audit the Fed is now.
Fed's job has been to print money; that drives up inflation
The US Federal Reserve System (aka "the Fed") describes itself as "the central bank of the US".
Lately, the Fed's main job has been to print money, which has debased
US currency, driven up inflation, and caused the world to seriously reconsider decoupling itself from the US dollar. The Fed has been doing all this beyond the reach of the people's representatives.
Source: Tea Party Patriots, by M.Meckler & J.B.Martin, p. 57-58
, Feb 14, 2012
Financial responsibility to cut $61B from budget
The Republicans, driven by the new members of the Tea Party, wanted to cut $61 billion from the budget, while the Democrats were willing to cut only about 1/6 of that amount. Both Democrats and Republicans have strayed so far from the path of
responsible financial policy that the concept of balancing the budget is foreign to them. I believe many of them simply cannot grasp the concept of only spending what you have. I do understand that making budgetary cuts will be painful,
but it will not be nearly as painful as going bankrupt!
Knowing how Washington works, I can already predict that our Democratic president and the rest of the Democratic Party will claim that the Republicans want to cut programs that benefit children,
the elderly, and the infirm and that they want to stifle medical research and programs that will create economic growth. The Republicans will claim that the Democrats are addicted to spending and couldn't stop if their lives depended on it.
2009: Tea Party sparked by opposing mortgage bailout
On February 19, 2009, from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CNBC television reporter Rick Santelli burst into a tirade against the Obama Administration's nascent foreclosure relief plan: "The government is rewarding bad behavior!"
Santelli shouted. He invited America's "capitalists" to a "Chicago Tea Party" to protest measures to "subsidize the losers' mortgages." Video of the Santelli rant quickly scaled the media pyramid.
The rant headlined the "Drudge Report" and was widely re-televised. Anyone who hadn't caught Santelli's original outburst could hardly miss the constant replays and escalating responses.
Across the country, disgruntled conservatives perked up.
The "Tea Party" symbolism was a perfect rallying point since it brings to mind the original American colonial rebels opposing tyranny by tossing chests of tea into Boston Harbor.
Economic pessimism: Great Recession part of downward spiral
Journalists and academics have speculated that the Tea Party must be a response to the Great Recession that gathered force starting in 2008. The coincidence of popular protests with plunging economic indicators makes this seem plausible.
For Tea Partiers, however, pessimism about the economy is politically tinged. Tea Partiers who started organizing in 2009 got an extra prod from the downward-spiraling economy [but] Tea Partiers do not come from the groups that have borne the brunt of
the recent US economic crisis.
Though members of the Tea Party do not bear the heaviest economic burden, they do have some of the most negative views of the economy, and their worries bleed into broader fears. Overall, fewer than half of
Americans said that good jobs are a thing of the past. But for members of the Tea Party, it felt as though the fundamentalist rules about the American Dream had changed. Working hard no longer meant getting ahead.
One group was discussing the debt limit. With little angst, they agreed it should not be raised--and planned to pressure their Congressional representatives accordingly. In the summer of 2011, national surveys showed that Tea Party sympathizers were
especially likely to oppose raising the federal debt limit, despite the financial crisis that might follow. Tea Partiers believe that the US already faces economic Armageddon, so a further step in that direction does not provoke much concern.
Source: The Remaking of Republican Conservatism, p.180
, Jan 2, 2012
Budget woes more about coming collapse than redistribution
Tea Partiers speak constantly about an out-of-control federal budget deficit and the coming doom they think it portends for the US. There is real-world basis for worrying about the US fiscal situation, of course, though the US is in reasonably good
fiscal shape, as the steady health of the bond market attests. Tea Party worries about national debt therefore refer to real problems, but magnify them out of all proportion. Why? As we have learned, Tea Partiers are concerned that US deficits might be
addressed in part with tax hikes, which they imagine would require people like them to help pay for social spending that benefits undeserving freeloaders. But the fiscal question in the Tea Party imagination is more than just a redistributive matter,
more than just a set of worries about taxes and social spending. In the highly emotional telling of many Tea Partiers, the ballooning federal deficit merges into a general sense of a coming collapse for America.
Tea Party made all politicians look seriously at $15T debt
The Tea Party has done a great service to the United States. They have made all politicians look seriously at what's wrong with our country, including America's $15 trillion of debt.
The media continuously bash the Tea Party.
Nothing could be more unfair. The press constantly maligns, ridicules, and mocks the Tea Party folks. The fact is the Tea Party is made up of great citizens of this country.
And in the end, I think the Tea Party patriots will get the last laugh because they will go down as having done more to change the country than any other group.
They are terrific people, great Americans, and I am proud to have such a good relationship with them.
Tea Party movement reborn based on massive 2008 bailout
A few free-market [advocates in 2008] felt remarkably isolated in their efforts to stop the massive government bailout. Many on Capitol Hill used flawed logic to support this giant government power grab: We must do something to address this crisis.
This legislation is something; therefore, we must do this.
On Sept. 29, we gathered to watch the final deliberations on the House floor. We were as surprised as anyone that the House bill failed, 228-205, with 133 Republicans voting against their
In retrospect, Sept. 29 is clearly the day the Tea Party movement was reborn in America. There was a massive wave of spontaneous grassroots outrage that rose up against the government's proposed actions, temporarily taking back the people's
house from the political elite. We were told by our allies who work in Congress that constituent communications were 100-1 against the Paulson Plan. While the bill would ultimately pass, it had stirred the passion of the grassroots freedom movement.
When times are tough, government should make do with less
In Feb. 2009, people were publicly demanding accountability from the elected leaders. To those who were paying attention, a clear theme had emerged. Fellow citizens across the country live on budgets. When times are tough, they make do with less. They
expect their government to do the same.
In 2000 the US national debt stood at $5.6 trillion. By 2008 that amount had nearly doubled to $10 trillion, which translates to more than $85,000 per household. By 2018 the deficit is projected at $18 trillion.
Source: Give Us Liberty, by Rep. Dick Armey, p. 17-18
, Aug 17, 2010
Bush's Wall Street bailout ignited Tea Party firestorm
To fit their inaccurate narrative of the Tea Party movement as sore-loser partisans opposed to Obama's agenda, the media suggests the Democrats' stimulus bill was the spark that lit the grass fire of protest.
They're wrong. The government expansion
during Bush's reign provided the fuel. And it was his Wall Street bailout that ignited the firestorm we see today.
As the Democratic Congress pushed through the Bush's bill, our predicament became crystal clear: We the people had lost control of our
government. It was now the political class versus the American tax-payers.
Some thought they were voting to change this situation with Obama. But he has doubled down the bad policies of the Bush administration in favor of the political class.
Many of us knew instinctually the bailout was wrong. We got it--our instincts were right. Unfortunately, many of the 535 people we sent to Congress didn't seem to get it. And they certainly haven't accepted their responsibility for creating the problem.
On Sept. 29, 2008, we gathered to watch the final [Treasury Secretary Paulson spending plan] plan deliberations on the House floor. We were a surprised as anyone that the House bill failed.
Against all of our expectations, at 2:07 P.M., the first legislation was defeated 228-205, with 133 Republicans voting against their president.
In retrospect, September 29 is clearly the day the Tea Party movement was reborn in America.
There was a massive wave of spontaneous grassroots outrage that rose up against the government's proposed actions, temporarily taking back the people's house from the political elite.
The citizens of America--for a few days at least--took their country back. We were told by our allies who work in Congress that constituent communications were 100 to 1 against the Paulson Plan.