Tea Party Anyone?

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Tea Party Anyone?

August 2, 2010 By Economist Dr. James Glenn
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Hello Friends,

My latest for your perusal. Please pass it on to known
members of the Tea Party. I would sincerely welcome a reasoned and thoughtful
rebuttal(s). I hope you all are having a great summer.

Through The Looking Glass

Dr. James Glenn

7/22/2010

“Patriotism is the last bastion of the scoundrel.”

Mark Twain

I watched “Alice In Wonderland” the other night after a
phone conversation with an ardent Tea Party member, and the surreal nature of
the movie and the central role of tea parties, combined with the conversation,
created an imagination cocktail that got my cerebral cortex humming like a high
voltage wire. It got me thinking seriously about the latest populist uprising
called “The Tea Party.” For from where I, and many other Americans stand, the
party not only stretches credulity (kind of like the movie), but strains the
imagination. Who needs fiction, or fantasy, when you have the Tea Party? I’ll
explain.
My beef is not with their fixation on deficit reduction. Who could argue with
that? I have been writing for a decade on the pernicious political, social, and
economic effects of deficit spending. They are preaching to the choir on that
score. My concern is with their funding, timing, and composition, all of which
are highly suspect at best in my opinion, and nefarious, nay, diabolical at
worst. For example, this supposedly “grass roots” organization is funded almost
entirely by right wing elites. The same elites who brought us the Heritage
Foundation, Fox “News” (news?-you’re kidding, right?), and Rush Limbaugh. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18677 (Article:Why Are corporate groups funding the tea party?) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Tea_Party_movement_funding (Article: Why conservative groups are funding the tea
party)

Likewise, deficit spending has been with us since Reagan ran
up the first 3 trillion in debt under his administrations 30 years ago, and
this was quickly followed by Bush I who tacked on another 2 trillion, and
finally by Bush Lite who more than doubled the national debt from 5 trillion to
11 trillion. Nearly 90% of our currently 13 trillion dollar debt has been rung
up under Republican administrations. So I ask my friends and detractors on the
right, “Where has the Tea Party been for the last 30 years, especially the last
10?” As a percentage of GDP these deficits are not as bad as many times during
our history. www.edgar.gov
(Federal Reserve database)

http://www.federalbudget.com/ (everything you ever wanted to know about deficits, and
then some)

IF they are so concerned about deficit spending where have
they been? The timing of this so called “uprising” is highly coincidental isn’t
it? And therefore suspect. From where I stand, it’s just another great example
of the hypocrisy of the right wing, who inevitably, and oh so predictably,
resort to flag waving and apple pie to sell their histrionic, and often
vitriolic messages. This hasn’t changed over the years either. Mark Twain, one
of America’s most prescient, and amusing social observers noted it over a
hundred years ago (quote above). That is, politicians and some pundits
preference for wrapping themselves in the flag to sell questionable messages.

Indeed, if anyone is a master of creating an illusion
of wealth and prosperity, by creating mountains of debt and exploding deficits,
it’s Republicans. And their story line hasn’t changed in over 30 years, for
these poor sops really have no imagination. “Cut taxes for the wealthy and the
economy will boom”, has been the monotonous refrain from the right. Remember
“trickle down” “Supply side”? Couldn’t they change this up once in a while?
Just for grins and tired ears? The problem with their one and only solution for
everything is that all it does is blow holes in our budget, and deprive those
who need help the most of critical social services, and a semblance of a safety
net (like unemployment and social security for example). And predictably they
are calling for an extension of the Bush tax cuts. That’s great. Let’s use more
of the same logic that got us into the hole into the first place to get us even
deeper into the hole. What nonsense.

On a naïve and simplistic level it has some intuitive
appeal, I have to admit, but increase revenues by cutting taxes? Please. There
is neither empirical or anecdotal evidence, ANYWHERE, showing that this works,
despite what Larry Kudlow, Limbaugh, Reagan and Palin say/said. Saying it,
hardly makes it so, but repeating it often enough, as Goebbels said, will get
many to believe it, that is, that cutting taxes is good for the economy. The
middle class in this country, and our economy were the strongest they have ever
been between 1945 and 1970 when we had individual marginal tax rates of 90%,
and corporate tax rates of over 35%, FYI.

http://www.edgar.gov
(Federal Reserve Database)

Indeed, what economics tells us is that the
propensity to spend goes up as incomes rise, and the rich ARE very good at this
(shopping).  What the rich do with their tax cuts is buy imports, as
witnessed by our ballooning trade deficits, buy second homes, and create asset
bubbles with all that excess liquidity provided by an accommodative Federal
Reserve, and their increased wealth. This does nothing for hard working
American families, except shift an increasing tax burden onto them, and leave
the unwary holding the bag when the bubble bursts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marginal_propensity_to_consume (Economics)

To point three above, the composition of the Tea Party is
remarkably homogeneous. (90% white for example, and skewed right in political
affiliation). Read the link below for more information than you ever wanted
about the tea party.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_movement#Composition_of_the_movement

This is as much a concern to fair and open minded
Americans as the funding, and timing issues discussed above. It’s not just the
NAACP, but huge swathes of Independents, Democrats, and people of color who are
alarmed by the shrill, and often bellicose and hysterical nature of these “tea
party” rallies. Placards of the President with a bone through his nose?? As
Time Magazine, and other observers of the party have noted, a huge portion of
the membership is comprised of angry, uneducated white guys between the ages of
30 and 60 who have been economically left behind by the deregulation,
privatization, outsourcing and globalization championed by primarily right wing
think tanks, multinationals, and politicians of the last 30 years who they
helped put in office by consistently voting Republican, and against their own
economic self interest. Sadly ironic isn’t it? My heart goes out to this
demographic, but my mind says, ‘serves you right.” What we are witnessing with
the collapse of our economy, the dollar, and much of our society is nothing
more than 30 years of Reagonomics coming home to roost. Deregulation of the
financial sector has predictably led to the cowboy capitalism under Bush and
the ensuing financial calamity(s), and extortion by financial elites of our
treasury to the tune of trillions of dollars. Globalization and lousy trade
deals ala NAFTA and CAFTA have sent jobs overseas and gutted our manufacturing
base. Other “neoliberalist” policies promulgated, and perpetuated primarily by
right wing elites, neocons, and the “investing class” have allowed hedge funds,
and Wall Street to operate indiscriminately, and take over larger and larger
parts of our now “financialized” economy. All this has left a lot of pissed
off, primarily white, and un-college educated, screaming for a scapegoat. Enter
Barack Obama, the perfect foil. Smart AND black. You know how the right loves
to vilify intellectualism, and use race as a wedge. They’ve been doing it since
the Civil Rights Act.

http://methodius.blogspot.com/2007/06/liberalism-neoliberalism-and-neocons.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

Now, somehow, problems created by 30 years of
Reagonomics, or more appropriately Voodoo Economics, has become his fault? Only
the right wing could rewrite history like this. Or try to. Most of us know
better, and many understand their game. From the fulminating, posturing, and
bellicose antics of Rush Limbaugh, to the moronic platitudes of Sarah Palin,
the tea party is now in full swing. It’s life being better than fiction
friends. It’s laughable.

So, hmmmm, if it’s not really deficits that’s creating all
the fuss (for clearly it can’t be-we’ve had them for decades) than it must be
taxes?? Actually no. Can’t be taxes
either. Taxes for the rich have never been lower, and the income
disparity between rich and poor greater. Just follow the convenient links
below. As Warren Buffett, the now 3rd richest man on earth has so
often lamented, he’s in a lower tax bracket than his secretary! He pays 17% of
his income in taxes while she on the other hand is in a 30% bracket. An excerpt
from a recent article:

“Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made
last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary,
who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/tax/article1996735.ece . Corporations likewise, which accounted for 45% of all tax
revenues in 1945 last year accounted for just 7% of the total tax take. Don’t
believe it? Check out the links below.

http://www.IRS.gov

http://edgar.gov

You see friends, we’ve had socialism now for decades.
Socialism for corporations that is, where losses get socialized, and profits
privatized. Moral hazard extremis. The recent fiascos in the banking sector
(Lehman, Citi, Bank of America), insurance (AIG), autos (GM) ad nauseum, are
all perfect anecdotal evidence of where we have come to as a nation. Where we
routinely have corporations drafting public legislation (bankruptcy bill,
energy bill, health insurance bill etc. etc. etc.) and bailouts for everyone
EXCEPT those now paying the bulk of the taxes, middle, and upper middle class
families. The extreme rich ($250k+/yr) control more of the national wealth than
ever and pay fewer taxes than the middle class as a percentage of their income,
as noted above. This is most definitly NOT a progressive system. http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html (Article: Wealth distribution in America)

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see socialism for
individuals for a change? So working people would not have to worry about
catastrophic illnesses wiping out them and their loved ones? Where corporations
could compete worldwide on an even footing, with EVERY ONE of our major trading
partners, ALL of whom have some form of a nationalized health care system. Now
that’s just crazy talk! Isn’t it! http://ezinearticles.com/?German-Healthcare-Cost-Controls—Global-Competitive-Advantage&id=3935215

God, how the tea party demographic allows themselves to be
used as tools of the rich and powerful. It just blows my mind how incredibly
dumb they can be sometimes. Right wing tools, once again, voting against their
own economic self interest. The recent fulminating on the right over the Health
Care Bill is yet another great example of their myopia. It’s so incredibly sad,
and ironic. The people needing it the most are whipped into a frenzy to try and
defeat it, by those who need it the least, the wealthy and corporate elites,
who at last count, were throwing about 3 billion a day at the “problem” to get
it defeated. “Death panels?” Please. How utterly stupid.

Well, if it’s not really deficits, and it can’t be taxes,
the tea party must exist for one of the oldest reasons on earth, power. The
right wing, and plutocracy lost, and lost BIG in 2008, and they are terrified.
As Franklin Roosevelt said, “It is the forces of wealth and privilege within
our own borders we need to fear”, not those from without. Those same forces of
wealth and privilege are very much alive and well in our country. As a matter
of fact, thanks to their puppet, George the younger, they have never been more
powerful. Hell, they’ve even burrowed into the Supreme Court as witnessed by
their latest decision to allow UNLIMITED corporate donations in public
elections. It doesn’t get any closer to fascism than that friends. The
political system working hand in glove with the corpotocracy.

The right wing had a big problem after eight years of total
Republican rule under George II however. It had destroyed the nation and
drained the treasury by getting us involved in not one, but two foreign
misadventures and experiments in nation building, laissez faire government,
deregulation of the banking sector, unbridled and unchecked corporatism,
exploding deficit spending, and rampant cronyism in government, and industry.
Republicans were reviled, and despised by just about everyone, except the very
hard core right (20% of the population), and Cheney’s popularity was at 10%.
Clearly, something drastic had to be done to regain their power, but it had to
be done so that people wouldn’t initially recognize it for what it was. Voila!
The Tea Party was born. Very tired, and dog eared, and thoroughly discredited
ideas wrapped up in the American flag, with a fresh and pretty face. Sarah
Palin anyone?

You would have to be “mad as a hatter” to put the same
neocons (yes, they’re exactly the same) back in charge of our nation after what
we all saw them do under eight years of TOTAL Republican rule. They doubled the
deficit, cratered the dollar, finished gutting our industrial sector, kow towed
to every special interest in banking,  insurance and health care,
outsourced everything except baby sitting and lawn care services, made a
mockery of “regulating” any industry for the public welfare, turned the
treasury into their private bank account, and destroyed the lives of tens of
millions of Americans by approving trade deals that encouraged disinvestment in
our country, and turned political chicanery and malfeasance into an art form.

Are you insane? I incredulously ask this question of people
who want to bring them back into power. The definition of insanity, as most of
you probably know, is doing the same thing over and over again (voting
Republican) and expecting different results. Insanity.

In closing, let me make a few predictions about EXACTLY what
you can expect if somehow, the American people are foolish, and gullible enough
to put these people back into power.

  • Trade
    deficits we can’t even imagine
  • A
    dollar crisis
  • The
    destruction of the middle class through even higher taxes
  • The
    gutting of any form(s) of social safety nets like unemployment insurance
    and social security
  • A
    collapse in public education and health care
  • Unbridled
    crony capitalism
  • A
    financial meltdown that will end the country as we know it
  • Runaway
    inflation
  • An
    unparalleled degradation of the environment
  • Selling
    of most of our national parks to the highest bidder
  • Fraud
    in government hard to imagine

This all sounds a lot like the eight years under Bush,
doesn’t it?

Tea anyone?

Good night friends. Jim