Core values of Tea Party movement do not hold up

Letter to the editor – The Franklin Press – August 31, 2011

This letter by a liberal/progressive in Macon County tries to define what a member of the tea party believes. Truly incredible!

(Portions of the letter are in bold type to highlight some of the more ridiculous claims made by the author.)

Core values of Tea Party movement do not hold up

A recent letter posed the question: “… are we a nation unable to deal with complex problems, where only simplistic answers are common?” I agree with the writer. It appears that the Tea Party has only simplistic bumper-sticker answers to hard questions. Here are a few examples.

“Cutting spending is the only way to reduce the deficit.” Virtually every serious economist agrees that any plan to reduce our huge deficit must include increased revenue. Here is another bumper sticker: “Unions are bad.” Unions helped create our great middle class, and with their loss of power, the middle class is disappearing. Germany is heavily unionized, and is doing just great.

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“Our taxes are too high.” That’s easy to fit on a bumper sticker. The truth is, income tax rates are the lowest since the 1950s.

Here is another slogan: “The Stimulus Plan failed.” Even many Republican econ- omists agree that it saved us from another depression. How about: “Obamacare is a socialist takeover of health care.” The health care law was a Republican idea and it depends on private for-profit insurance companies to cover most Americans.

These Tea Party slogans are symptomatic of their core beliefs and a yearning for a simpler time when Robber Barons enjoyed “Pure Capitalism.” So, besides not tax ing the current crop of Robber Barons what are some of their other core beliefs?

Lets start with a hatred of government. Gov. Rick Perry in his new book, Fed Up, maintains that America’s entire social safety net is unconstitutional.He would abolish Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, worker’s comp and child labor laws, for starters. Of course, no politically savvy Tea Party activist would say any of those things in public, but they love Perry, who has become their leading candidate.

Along with anti-government feelings is the belief that anyone taking public assistance is taking money out of their pocket. Welfare queens and those taking unemployment enrage them. If it were their grandmother on the public dole, that becomes a different story.

Another Tea Party belief is that the government has no roll in stimulating the economy. Basic economic theory holds that in a recession the government must use every means possible to get that economic engine running again. Put people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, loosen credit and give tax breaks to the middle class. Then new demand will create tax revenue and jobs.

It is hard for me to see how Tea Party leaders can solve the complex problems we have today. They don’t believe in government. They don’t believe people should be given any assistance. They don’t believe in basic economic practice and they surely don’t believe that tax money should be used for anything except buying weapons to fight our next war. It seems to me they don’t believe in the country they live in.

Louis Vitale – Franklin, NC

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