Commentary by James H. Shott
Whatever happens today, how the country moves ahead is critically important. The US is wildly off track, which is why the tea party movement, so hated by and frightening to liberals, sprang up and has drawn so many everyday Americans to their rallies.
You sometimes see the term “tea party” as a proper noun, however, while there are formal organizations using that name, the tea party movement is not a formal movement, but a series of mostly independent groups who rally in support of a set of common principles, but are not part of a single national organization.
The tea party movement, despite the lies and distortions made up by its enemies and dutifully reported in the mainstream media, is not a bunch of extremists or a bunch of racists, or Nazis or nut jobs with nothing better to do with their time. Of, course, every group or movement will have a whacko or two in it, but the number of such radicals among tea partiers is infinitesimal. And there is the occasional left-wing plant trying to discredit the entire movement. But all of that has been blown out of proportion by the socialist/liberal/statist members of the ruling class and media who correctly see the movement as a threat to their power and control.
From those rather rare efforts by respectable news outlets to find out exactly who tea party folks really are we learn that the vast majority of them are moms and dads and grandmothers and grandfathers, military veterans, doctors, lawyers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, housewives, police officers, fire fighters and other salt-of-the-Earth people. Many of them are white, but they are also black, Asian and Hispanic. They are people for whom political activism is a new thing, and many, perhaps most, of them have never attended a political rally before in their lives. They all see that their country is headed at high speed toward a ditch, but it’s a different ditch than the one in President Barack Obama’s little story he so frequently uses to excuse his administrations failures.
The President’s story omits that big government dug the ditch, built the road heading into it, and damaged the steering mechanism and brakes by excessive intervention into private sector activity. Some corporations took advantage of the contorted environment the ruling class imposed on them, and made a bad situation worse. Those corporations are not innocent of blame, but neither can they be given all the blame; they played the hand government dealt them.
No doubt some will quibble with that assessment, but an objective review of government actions going back to the Carter administration will bear that out. And that includes Congressional refusal to follow Bush administration warnings to clamp down on Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac starting back in 2001.
Among the grave problems that have driven the tea party folks to political protest, perhaps foremost in their minds, is the precarious level of spending and the insanely high national debt.
When George Bush left office at the end of 2008, he had increased the public debt by $2.5 trillion. The 2009 budget, created under Mr. Bush, but added to by Mr. Obama added $2.6 trillion to the debt, but Mr. Obama’s budget would add $4.9 trillion in public debt from the beginning of 2010 through 2016. That simply cannot be sustained.
Mr. Obama continually blames George Bush for the nation’s financial problems, but remember that Congress is responsible for budgets and spending, not the president, and Democrats have controlled Congress since January of 2007. Mr. Bush deserves criticism for not vetoing excessive Congressional spending, but Congress is responsible for the spending itself.
Tea party folks also realize something else that has escaped Washington liberals: that over-zealous regulation – 43 new major regulations in fiscal 2010 – is impeding the recovery and will cost taxpayers an additional $26.5 billion this year. And it’s not just rich people making more than $200,000 a year who will pay more.
It was during a long period of mostly free-market capitalism and relatively little government regulation that the United States rose to be the most prosperous nation on Earth, and today is the world’s only super power.
And so, whether today’s election produces a huge wave sweeping liberal Democrats out of office in sufficient numbers to give Republicans control of the House and the Senate, or whether it results in modest gains by Republicans and leaves one or both houses of Congress under Democrat control, the same course of action must be followed unless we want to see the United States diminish in prosperity and influence around the world, which would be a true tragedy.
That course is to restore sanity to government; to work to reduce spending, restore government to its Constitutional limits and scope, and get government out of the way so that the same American traits of ingenuity, hard work and risk-taking that built our country can be set loose to pull it out of the ditch that liberalism and leftist policies have driven it into.
This will require a new mentality in Washington, and constant pressure on our elected public servants.
Cross-posted from Observations