Nemo me impune lacessit

No one provokes me with impunity


No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Article 1, Section 9, Constitution of the United States

If this is the law of the land...why in a republic (little r) and as republicans, do we allow mere POLITICIANS to the right to use a "title of office" for the rest of their lives as if it were de facto a patent of nobility. Because, as republicans, this should NOT be the case...just saying...

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Tea or not To Tea: A Response

A good friend of mine has sent me an essay by Joel S. Hirschhom, a self proclaimed Libertarian, that heavily criticizes the Tea Party movement. His criticism, is I think, rather narrow in scope and as well as being well off the mark of the aims of the movement.
"...tea party people say they are fed up with both major parties, but they keep supporting Republicans. As if this will put people in Congress who would actually act as independents and work courageously to enact true, deep reforms. Call my cynical, but I doubt whether people like Senator Scott Brown will resist pressures to be loyal Republicans no matter how extensively they avoid calling themselves Republicans in their campaigns."
Yes, that's rather cynical...but the Tea Party isn't just supporting Republicans. In TN & OH for example, they are supporting anyone who will declare for fiscal conservatism regardless of party affiliation. In fact, in TN, a candidate is running strictly as a Tea Party independent in one Congressional race, while in Ohio, another candidate decided not to run for the open Senate seat as the funding might not be available, despite the fact that Scott Brown, using the Tea Party "Money Bomb's" concept...raised $1 million dollars a day in the last 10 days of his run for the Senate.
"Second, I am nauseated by the noxious negative views about President Obama, even though I did not support or vote for him. Attacks on his citizenship, calls for his impeachment, and labeling him a Marxist seem thinly disguised tactics hiding racism and not an accurate understanding of the facts about him and his policies. To simplify, for example, getting the nation out of the Great Recession requires massive government spending to reboot the economy, a plain fact that virtually every economist over the entire political spectrum recognizes."
Actually, very few Tea Partiers are accusing Mr. Obama of being a Marxist, or are "birthers". However, as with any movement, there are people on the extremes, but claiming they are racists is playing into the White House's play book of blanket labeling any one who opposes Mr. Obama's policies as being racist. It's both shallow and show's your own bias' at work.

Additionally, very few economists think the policies that are being followed by this administration will actually pull the country out of this deep recession. This administration is following a very flawed implementation of Keynesian economic models. Instead of using the government spending to jump start the economy, the Federal Government has been bailing out states and paying off constituencies. That's not Keynesian economics, it's flat out corruption.

Keynesian Economics sees government spending as implementing/extending lines of credit, not direct payments to states in order to keep them from collapsing through their own misguided policies. Furthermore, Keynesian economic policies demand that tax cuts be implemented at the same time in order to free up additional funds for business. Instead this administration has stretched its grasp to seize sectors of the economy for direct government control like health care and the auto industry. That's not what Mr. Keynes envisioned when he developed his economic model. Ergo sum...this administration has begun to travel down the path of bankruptcy by instituting spending policies that are unsustainable. Keynesian economics doesn't envision permanent deficit spending above 10% of the GDP while this administration has exceeded that point by 2-3 times that.

"Third, the pervasive support for smaller federal government and so many other openly expressed platitudes reveal inconsistencies and outright hypocrisy about what tea party zealots are willing to do to show their true beliefs. I want to see these people proudly professing their commitment to stop participating in social security and Medicare; stop using public schools for their children; stop taking unemployment payments or support for job training; stop using local police and fire departments and public libraries. I want to hear far more support for necessary government functions. Less government does not necessarily equate to better government."

Demanding smaller less intrusive government doesn't mean that these programs are unobtainable. What it means that programs that have been shown to not work, or are a waste of the public fisc should be terminated. Head Start has recently been shown to be an utter failure. $400 billion dollars wasted over the past 30 years, yet this program won't be terminated...because it's used as a day care program...The Federal Dept of Education could easily be terminated and the funds could be given directly to state departments and used far more efficiently by states who know what the problems inherent within their state system is, rather than following federal fiats.

The Department of Transportation is a huge waste. It is made up of administratively independent bureaus and "administrations" who each have public relations section, legal sections, etc...while overlaying it all is a huge bureaucracy that mirrors each of the subunits. This department could be trimmed down by at least 1/3rd without a reduction of efficiency. Not that efficiency is something government does as a matter of course.

The Department of Defense is a similar problem. Each of the separate military branches has overlapping responsibilities...but the largest wasted is in procurement. If procurement was actually conducted along the lines of a commercial opposed to the heavily bureaucratic system that is now in place, much of the waste could be, if not eliminated, at least reduced below the 25% that is now the norm.

Mr. Hirschhom misses the point that people who have never before been involved in the political process has a huge ground swell. Additionally, they are beginning to run for public office on the concept of fiscal conservatism. That's a tremendous boost to the democratic process. These are people who have never before attended political rallies. The Internet has given them the ability to communicate in ways that have heretofore belonged only to the mass media. This has allowed the Tea Party movement to reach, not just across the county lines but across state lines as well.

Ignoring, or denigrating this movement, as the Obama Administration and the mass media have done up to this point, is politically dangerous. These people will vote, and vote in numbers never seen before. Michael Barone, a statistician and columnist for the Washington Examiner has looked closely at the all of the 435 Congressional districts as well as the 33 Senatorial campaigns from the 2008 election. He then took the gubernatorial elections from last November in New Jersey and Virginia as well as the Senatorial campaign in Massachusetts from last month. His conclusion is that only 103 of the 259 Democratic Party's seats can be considered to be "safe". Additionally, by his calculation, only 1 of the 17 Democratic Senator's up for reelection this year can be considered to be "safe" as well (Charles Schumer of NY).

This is a situation that hasn't occurred in more than 190 years...since the dissolution of the Federalist party in the 1816-20 election cycles. To under estimate the anger of such a large portion of the electorate towards either of the major political parties is mistake.


One of the Moons said...

As a veteran of many, many Tea Party events, I suspect the critic has never attended one or had a serious talk with an attendee. I also find his comment that he did not vote for Obama but now feels he deserves our patience is just plain madness. When the life of the republic is on the line, only serious critics need apply.

Rich V. said...

As one of my 12 loyal readers I thank you for stopping by...much less taking the time to comment. I do deeply appreciate the traffic!