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


TEA Parties: They Look So Innocent

"...One evening in the spring of ’89, Hendrickson and his girlfriend, Doreen Wright (they met while working on Paul’s campaign), were at a barbecue at her house in suburban Detroit with some fellow members of the Metro Detroit Libertarians. Eventually, the conversation turned to that old Libertarian bugaboo, the income tax. Like many people of his ideological persuasion, Hendrickson was familiar with a book titled “The Great Income Tax Hoax,” written by a former insurance broker named Irwin Schiff, which argued that, among other things, the tax was unconstitutional. In order to “raise the consciousness” about the evil of the income tax, Hendrickson proposed to the Metro Detroit Libertarians an audacious act of protest, something different from passing out fliers and holding up signs — something that, as he later recalled, “could not be kept quiet.” His idea found some takers and, over the course of the next year, Hendrickson, Wright and a married couple, Scott and Karen Scarborough, devised and carried out a plan to build a firebomb and mail it to the I.R.S.

On tax day, Hendrickson and the Scarboroughs drove a parcel containing the bomb to the post office in Royal Oak, Mich., where Scott Scarborough placed it in a mail bin outside. Hendrickson had wrapped a Bigelow tea bag around the bomb’s tubing — in homage to the Boston Tea Party, America’s founding act of tax protest — and addressed the package to “The Tax Thieves.” The return address read, “Freedom Loving Americans...”

Jason Zengerle
Hell Nay, We Won’t Pay!
New York Times Magazine
March 27, 2009


The Pitchforks of Populism

"Our founding fathers knew that when the rights of the people get trampled, we must become a torch- and ptichfork-wielding mob empty of all thought."

Stephen Colbert


Socialist Bogeyman Sighted In 1912

"These ambitions revealed, Taft and his fellow conservatives deemed Roosevelt a dangerous radical. Once in power for a third term, they said, Roosevelt would be a perpetual chief executive. Roosevelt had become the most dangerous man in American history, said Taft, "because of his hold upon the less intelligent voters and the discontented." The social justice that Roosevelt sought involved, in Taft's opinion, "a forced division of property, and that means socialism.'"

Lewis L. Gould
Return of the Rough Rider
Smithsonian Magazine
August 2008


Liberalsim v Socialism

"Liberalism is not socialism, and never will be... Liberalism has its own history and its own tradition. Socialism has its own formulas and aims. Socialism seeks to pull down wealth; Liberalism would preserve private interests in the only way in which they can be safely and justly preserved, namely, by reconciling them with public right. Socialism would kill enterprise; Liberalism would rescue enterprise from the trammels of privilege and preference. Socialism assails the pre-eminence of the individual; Liberalism seeks, and shall seek more in the future, to build up a minimum standard for the mass. Socialism exalts the rule; Liberalism exalts the man. Socialism attacks capital; Liberalism attacks monopoly."

Winston Churchill