Sunday, November 14, 2010


I am sure the Tea Party candidates who got elected have every intention of carrying out the party’s agenda. But the path to hell is paved with the stones of good intentions.
The Tea Party was formed in protest to the federal government’s bailout of the banks, the economic stimulus package and the healthcare reform bill. The party was successful in electing a number of congressional candidates. The Tea Party candidates promised to cut back the size of government, to lower taxes, to reduce wasteful spending and to reduce the national debt and federal budget deficit.
Unfortunately for the Tea Party members, they are going to be disappointed by the candidates they succeeded in electing. The first priority of the new officeholders - especially those in the House of Representatives who will have to run again in two years - will be to ensure their reelection. That will require them to spend a lot of their time trying to raise funds for the next campaign. And when it comes to keeping their promises, how are they going to propose to do that?
Cut back the size of government? Lots of luck there! Lower taxes? How are they going to do that without cutting way down on defense spending and reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits. The seniors sure as hell are not going to stand for anyone messing with their Social Security and Medicare benefits.
And how much money will be left to repair our highways and bridges when taxes are lowered? How much will the spending on education be reduced? If you lower the taxes that help pay for the nation’s infrastructure and education, the tax burden to pay for those programs will have to be passed on to the states. Thus, any federal tax savings will be offset by an increase in state taxes.
Wasteful spending? That’s in the eye of the beholder. What’s wasteful to one group may be essential to another group. Besides that, wasteful spending comprises only a small fraction of the total federal expenditures.
The national debt and federal budget deficit? Everyone, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike, agree the debt needs to be reduced and the budget balanced. But here is a reality check:

__The national debt cannot be wiped out unless we eliminate the multitude of tax loopholes which include offshore tax havens that cost us $100 billion and tax shelters that cost us $50 billion every year. And the budget cannot be balanced unless taxes are raised. What are the chances that Congress will eliminate the tax loopholes and raise taxes? Slim to none – no, make that none!

__Then there are those entitlements. Reducing the national debt will require deep cuts in, if not elimination of entitlements, programs that the poor, the infirm and people who have lost their jobs depend on to help them survive. Elimination of entitlements will mean the states will have to pick them up, thus requiring an increase in state taxes. Furthermore, in many states the needy will be given far less assistance if entitlements are picked up by the states.
The Tea Party candidates also promised to repeal the health care reform bill. You can bet Obama will veto any measure that tinkers with his healthcare bill and Congress does not have the votes to override his veto.
So what are the Tea Party members going to do when the party’s agenda fails to get passed? Are they going to vote their candidates out of office in two years and replace them with a new batch only to start the cycle all over again? The Tea Party’s lofty goals of reducing spending and taxes are all well and good but, unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

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