There Is A "TEA" In "Hypocrisy"

I ran across a two-part column in Forbes by Bruce Bartlett that shed some interesting facts and figures on the recent TEA Party rallies. I suppose most of the TEA Party protesters have gone fishing and given up on their initial burst of "grass roots" activism. However, I prattle on in search of numbers that will lead me to where the suckers are hid in this blame game. I still think the TEA Parties are the initial rumblings of the Newt in 2012 campaign...

"...I have problems with this argument as a justification for the sudden appearance of tea parties to protest taxes. First, many protesters implicitly assume that that the deficit has increased solely as a result of Barack Obama's policies. But in fact, the Congressional Budget Office was projecting a deficit of more than $1 trillion this year back in January, before any of Obama's policies had been enacted, and a cumulative deficit of $4.3 trillion through 2019. (CBO made no assumptions about what his policies might be in making its projection.)

It's true that projected deficits have gotten larger since January. But much of this resulted from deteriorating economic conditions that would have occurred even if John McCain were president. Moreover, it is absurd to assume that McCain would not have enacted any stimulus programs had he been elected.

More than likely, McCain would have proposed a stimulus plan of roughly the same size as that proposed by Obama. No doubt, it would have had a different composition--heavier on tax cuts, different kinds of tax cuts, less spending, different spending--but it wouldn't have been all that different from Obama's package given large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and the pressure to act quickly.

I strongly suspect that many of those that loudly denounced the Obama stimulus package for its impact on the deficit would have cheered the McCain stimulus package even though it would have increased the deficit by about the same amount.

Proof of this proposition is that there were no tea parties during the years when George W. Bush was turning the surpluses of the Clinton years into massive deficits. Indeed, if concerns about deficits are the primary motivation for this week's tax protests, then these same people should have been holding demonstrations of support for Bill Clinton in 2000 when the federal government ran a budget surplus of 2.4% of the gross domestic product--equivalent to a surplus of $336 billion this year.

The truth is that the greatest addition to national indebtedness occurred in 2003 when Bush rammed through the Republican Congress a massive expansion of Medicare to provide drug benefits even though the system was already broke. According to the latest report from Medicare's trustees, the drug benefit added $7.9 trillion to the nation's indebtedness. This should have led to massive tax protests on April 15, 2004. But, of course, there weren't any. Those protesting this week were only protesting because it is a Democrat who has increased the deficit. When a Republican did worse, it's like Emily Litella used to say, 'Never mind.'..."

Bruce Bartlett @ Forbes

Tax Tea Party Time?
Tax Tea Party Time; Part 2

1 comment:

Gherald L said...

On the subject of spending hypocrisy... mutually-exclusive takes on conservative failure.