Social Question

weeveeship's avatar

What is your impression of the Tea Party movement?

Asked by weeveeship (4610points) October 16th, 2010

The Tea Party movement won some of the primary elections in the US. What is your impression of them?

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77 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

Far-right low-information mal-informed people intent on dragging us backwards to an imaginary golden age where the USA was uniformly prosperous and white.

kenmc's avatar

The Tea Party movement is a red herring. I’m for 3rd parties (even extreme ones) to break up our shit 2 party fapfest. But this is in the same ilk as the Know-Nothings. Racist, yet in denial over it. I mean, where were they when the Patriot act was being signed? Or trillions of dollars for unnecessary wars? They’re just a distraction from actually getting our gov’t to fix shit.

skfinkel's avatar

I have a very low opinion of those who are following the Tea Party. I think they are blindly following some pie in the sky ideas. And I have a sense that they are not intelligent—and having people in a position of power who are not really smart always give me the jitters. (Our last president Bush fell in this category for me—ie not smart and had power.)

jrpowell's avatar

If Obama was white they wouldn’t care.

I also wonder why they don’t run as a party. They run as Republicans. If they are new and awesome why not run as a member of the Tea Party? We have people run as third parties all the time. Green, Constitution, Libertarian, and Socialist. Why not just put your name on the ballot under Tea Party?

That sane Republicans allow these idiots to be on the ballot as a Republican baffles me.

jaytkay's avatar

If Obama was white they wouldn’t care.

I don’t doubt there is a lot of racial resentment involved, but the same people freaked out when Bill Clinton was president.

I think the president has to be a Republican spouting Jesus talk to placate them, otherwise they get frightened and lash out.

airowDee's avatar

I think a lot of the people who are intrigued and supportive of the Tea party are the type of people who are angered over the economy and the lack of employment and the amount of taxes they are paying to the government. These people are used to are more or less comfortable way of life, they are upset their standard of living is reduced.

I think they have legitimate reasons to be angry, but I also feel they are not very open minded, or they choose to be ignorant about the many reasons behind the cause of mass unemployment and they are insensitive to the fact that many poor Americans have it even worse and they rely on government stimulus to put food on their table.

The Tea Party movement is created by elitists with a sense of entitlement and their goal is to inspire contempt, homophobia, racism, sexism and all kind of ism that divide the human kind and promote the dark side of human nature (but many of the followers of the Tea party are not necessarily racist or hateful)

I also think many of the liberals who like to label the tea party movement being full of racists are not necessarily in touch of reality either, the debate about tea party is more or less a show for the pundits and poor people and other marginalized groups are being silenced while the small time elitists and the big time elitists argue with each other and pretend to speak for the whole of America.

josie's avatar

It is what happens when the makers start to resent the takers. Not taking sides here but there are plenty of precedents in history.

talljasperman's avatar

no different than any other…. now if it were to start a revolution (and actualy make change) then we have a different topic

Nullo's avatar

I see them as people from a broad cross-section of society who want small government. Their previous inaction I chalk up to a lack of critical mass. The claims of racism are merely attacks, “racist” being the most pejorative Leftist epithet.

I found this essay likening Tea Partiers to LBJ-era hippies. Thought that it was fairly interesting.

jaytkay's avatar

@Nullo …people from a broad cross-section of society…

While they like to think they are independent, poll after poll reveals they are Republicans. Far-right Republicans. You will not find a significant number of Democratic teabaggers.

josie's avatar

@skfinkel I have voted for both parties since I reached voting age. By my observation neither major party is loaded up with intelligence. But you say the tea party movement members are not very intelligent. So the way I see it they are business as usual. What is your point?

Nullo's avatar

@jaytkay It’s hardly the Republicans’ fault that the Democrats happen to like big government :\. There are quite a few Libertarians in there, too. I gather that the Republicans who count themselves as Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republican as well.

In any case, I was thinking in economic and “racial” (for lack of a better word) terms, not party-affiliation terms.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I think it’s a formerly not-retarded Libertarian movement taken over by moronic right-wingers.

And as for their demographics, not only are they mostly Republicans, but they’re overwhelmingly white, male, college educated, and upper-middle class. Poll after poll has repeated these findings.

josie's avatar

@incendiary_dan I have voted for both parties in presidential elections but I usually vote democrat. I am intrigued by the Tea Party movement. Does that make me a moron? Would appreciate a response.

mammal's avatar

They are former Klan members who now feel it safe to disrobe and come out.

Qingu's avatar

The Tea Party movement is a rebranding of the Republican Party.

“Republican” doesn’t poll well after Bush, so Fox News, the Koch Brothers, Dick Armey, Sarah Palin, and other GOP partisans organized the Tea Party. Meanwhile, members of the Tea Party repeat the lie that it’s a “grass roots” organization so often that it becomes true to them.

Their ideology is identical to and every bit as ignorant and selfish as the GOP’s platform.

Qingu's avatar

@airowDee, I don’t think these people are genuinely or honestly angered about taxes—because, of course, Obama actually cut their taxes. He did so in the hated stimulus bill (which I would wager most tea partiers know nothing about, or think is the TARP bill).

Rather, tea partiers simply repeat what they are told, and feel the emotions that they are told to feel by Glenn Beck and the rest of the GOP-aligned media. It has absolutely nothing to do with reality.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Qingu I love the way you worked in a Goebbels quote :)

Qingu's avatar

Did not know I was quoting Goebbels… what’s the quote?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@josie Well, since you asked so politely. :)

I can’t say whether or not you’re a moron just from that. If you’re simply interested in the movement and its original stated goals, probably not. If you act like the majority of them have been for the past year or so, you probably are. Since I expect others to reserve judgement until they’ve seen a wide representative sample of my intellect and philosophy, I extend a similar reservation to most people.

I was actually interested in attending some of the events in Providence back when the whole Tea Party thing first started as basically a tax day protest, but when it grew into a giant flustercuck I quickly lost interest.

Paradox's avatar

Phony Libertarian wannabees. Just another disguise from the far-right. Where were they during Bush?

FutureMemory's avatar

@Qingu “Tell a lie often enough and the people will begin to believe it”

Something to that effect.

Jaxk's avatar

In reading through the posts so far, there is a common thread that sticks out. Those that don’t like the Tea Parties call them morons or stupid maybe idiots. That is an assumption based on a lack of information. They are in fact better educated than the average, The ill informed piece is that they are Republicans. They are in fact fiscal conservatives. Since there are few if any fiscally conservative democrats, there are few democrats in their ranks.

The tea parties have in fact had several clashes with the Republican leadership. Those Republicans that have shown they are not fiscally conservative are opposed by the Tea Parties. And in many cases, have been thrown out.

The other argument I hear a lot is that they want to reduce spending but have no plan. That they are unwilling to cut Social Security or Medicare. That is a distraction. The government has grown to astronomical proportions. And maybe these programs will have to be adjusted (I don’t assume that’s the case). But that is not where you should start the cuts. You start with the waste and abuse. Then move into the overlapping bureaucracies. The multitude of agencies that do what other agencies already do. And you get rid of those functions that are already handled elsewhere such as in the states. Those thing will get you quite a ways towards a balanced budget. The last budget under Bush was $2.9 Trillion. The first budget under Obama was $3.8 trillion. And nothing has improved. That’s a quick $trillion we could get back.

Needless to say I support the Tea Parties wholeheartedly. And if the best argument you can mount against them is name calling, I doubt you carry the wisdom of the ages within you.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Jaxk “Education is no substitute for Intelligence” – Frank Herbert

airowDee's avatar

If tea party supporters are simply fiscal conservative, they need to stop inviting Sarah Palin and Masturbation is a Sin Christine o Donnell to their tea party.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The level of misinformation on here is frightening. I am a member of the Tea Party Patriots and I know for a fact that they are not racist or any of the other vile things you have been calling them. They are American voters who are sick unto death of excess government control, illegal immigration, government giveaways, higher taxation, and ever bigger government.

mammal's avatar

@Jaxk fiscally conservative is a Euphemism for tight fisted, it’s the me, me, me fucking me first, me second, third, forth and fifth, it’s the what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is fucking mine, culture.

Pay fucking taxes like every normal fucking country, Get it? that’s how a country functions on a civilised level, that’s how people get educated, crime is moderated, transport systems run, health services operate, blah, blah blah. But most of all tax those fucking idiot multi-nationals infesting the globe, peddling their uncultured, unnecessary garbage into Fucking extinction and do the world a favour.

The banking system was flawed, credit on that scale is flawed, but trillions were found to supplement it. If there is the risk of national bankruptcy it is the fault of an over inflated unregulated capitalist system. It isn’t the fault of some fictitious Socialist style government. Or gays or blacks or minorities, or immigrants, or feminists.

i’m so sick of this neoconservative bullshit, kill fox news and move on, get a life.

Sarcasm's avatar

1) I cannot see a single point in which the Tea and Republican parties do not agree. They’re pro-religion pro-Christianity, pro-war, anti-gay, anti-choice, pro-business, anti-education.
2) I’m pretty sure their original point was entirely economic. “We’re fed up with taxes.” In order for me to have even an ounce of respect for them, they would have to move back to that issue, instead of completely mirroring the Republican Party’s beliefs.
3) They say they’re against big government spending, but I haven’t heard them complaining about the billions spent for our military.
4) They say they’re against big government power, but I haven’t heard them complaining that it was too much power for government to say whom we can marry, what we can put into our bodies, or what we can do with our bodies.
5) I find it hard to believe a claim that any movement that is so closely related to Fox News (The #1 news channel, according to themselves) is against the “elites”, or that they’re a “grassroots” movement, when Glenn fucking Beck is organizing their rallies.
6) Members of the movement consistently prove themselves to be ignorant. I’m ashamed to admit that one of my friends (and his parents) is a Tea Partier, as well as a few more acquaintances.
7) They spout the horrors of Socialism, but still seem to enjoy the…Aw hell, I’ll just leave this here.
8) I’m of the belief that the Teapublicans are so pro-business because they’ve still got the “American Dream” delusion stuck in their head, and believe that each and every one of them will become a millionaire businessman.

Ah, shit, this wasn’t a “why do you hate the Tea Party?” question. Sorry, to answer your question, my impression is that they’re angrier-than-normal hypocrite Republicans.

Qingu's avatar

There is nothing “fiscally conservative” about the Tea Party.

They want to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires,

This is also why people call the Tea Partiers “stupid” and “morons” and whatnot. These are the people simultaneously bitching about the deficit and clamoring for infinite tax cuts.

FutureMemory's avatar

@mammal That’s a lot of fuck in your post.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, you are simply incorrect, and this is exactly why people laugh at the Tea Party’s “plan” for cutting the deficit.

Your plan is to “cut waste,” without specifying what that waste is. That is not a plan. Do you even realize what the biggest parts of the budget are? National defense, social security, and medicare. Oh, and the Bush tax cuts.

Do you even know how Obama increased the deficit? Like, do you realize that much of the stimulus bill was tax cuts, which is why the deficit increased? Do you understand that we are in a recession, in which many people are unemployed, and thus demand various social benefits, which also increases the deficit? When you talk about “reduce spending,” are you talking about cutting unemployment benefits and Medicaid?

Your post is a good example of why people think Tea Partiers are a joke. You say you want to cut “government spending” and then fail to point out a single specific area that you’d like to cut—besides “waste,” and “beauracracy,” which is so vague as to be meaningless.

The fact that the Tea Party has no actual governing plan is not a “distraction.” You don’t have a plan, you have vague complaints about “big government” and “spending.” And I doubt you even know why you don’t like these things.

weeveeship's avatar

Interesting responses, folks. I think I’ll be moving this to the social section to allow for a wider range of responses.

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, how many of your fellow great American patriots sick of government giveaways are on Medicare or social security, or were ever on welfare?

In my experience the people who are “sick of government giveaways” tend to be the ones who already have theirs and don’t want to share.

mammal's avatar

And another thing if you cut taxes who is going to pay for all those fucking wars you love to watch on TV?

Maybe you could have pay for view patched into the video consoles of all those courageous Drone pilots, see shit get blown up, unedited, uncensored. totally cool.

Qingu's avatar

Here’s a list of our government’s expenses. (rounded slightly)

• Military: $900 billion
• Social security: $750 billion
• Medicare/Medicaid: $750 billion
• Safety net programs: $580 billion*
• Discretionary: $520 billion*
• Vet benefits: $70 billion
• National debt interest: $250 billion

* Safety net programs include things like food stamps, unemployment, school lunch programs, tax credits for poor families, etc. Discretionary spending here includes things like the Department of Education, transportation and infrastructure investment, and scientific research.

Sources: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258
http://www.wallstats.com/deathandtaxes/

Tea partiers, have at it. What specifically would you like to see cut? And remember: tax cuts increase the deficit, not the other way around!

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

Let’s see if you’ve got anything in your bag besides the bluster we’ve seen so far.

The department of education has a $50 billion budget. Education is already handled by the states. The department of education began operation in 1980 and at that time we were the most highly educated country in the world. Since that time we have dropped to about 10th. The department of education is redundant and only causes a bureaucratic mess, it should be eliminated. There’s a $50 billion savings. There is another $50 billion spent on education outside of the DoE. I would look at that after the DoE is gone.

Farm subsidies were $15–17 billion last year. Get rid of them. They do more harm than good and are a complete waste of our money.

According to a recent study by the GAO, there were estimated $10 billion in over payments for SS disability. That’s just the disability portion. Out of 7,000 government employees collecting SS disability 1,500 were fraudulent. Nothing nebulous about that.

These are just a few of my favorite things.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

You tend to look too close to the surface. First tax cuts don’t increase the deficit they grow the economy. Economic growth creates more government revenue. That’s how you pay for tax cuts.

Keep in mind that extending unemployment benefits extends unemployment. Workers tend to look for work (or get serious about it) the last two weeks of unemployment. If you extend payments for 99 weeks that delays the end date considerably. To make matters worse, the longer you are unemployed, the harder it is to get hired. It’s a conundrum. We are making the problem worse not better.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
augustlan's avatar

@Jaxk Do you have statistics to back up your contention that people on unemployment don’t get ‘serious’ about looking for work until the last two weeks of benefits? I just don’t see how anyone can live coasting along on unemployment benefits. When my husband was laid off, he received the maximum benefit allowable in our state, a very small number. He was our sole breadwinner, and the unemployment payments were less than half of his salary, which wasn’t very high in the first place. Both of us humped our asses looking for jobs, with no success. We both have management backgrounds, and we couldn’t even get jobs as clerks at the grocery store, here. There was never any point at which we thought, “Oh, this is nice… we’ll just live on these tiny unemployment checks until they run out. No need to look for a job while we’re living this life of luxury!”

Thankfully, his benefits were extended once, or we’d have lost our home (which is fully paid for – we just couldn’t pay our property taxes, after food and medicine). During his unemployment, we went through every bit of money we had, and some we didn’t have, just to survive. Wiping out our 401k, maxing out lines of credit, borrowing from a friend, defaulting on emergency hospital bills (no insurance, you see). I got to see my stellar credit rating shot to hell. What fun! ~

He finally got reemployed at a $15,000/year pay cut, and now, two years later, I finally have a job, too. We are just now digging our way out of that hole. In fact, if I can’t pay $1900 worth of property taxes by November 1st, we still might lose our home. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make that payment, but we might not be able to eat very well for a while. Yeah, those unemployment benefits sure do make life easy on lazy bums like us. ~

Jaxk's avatar

@augustlan

Anytime someone suggests that unemployment would be lower without the extended benefits, the assumption seems to be that they are calling those on unemployment lazy. That’s not the case. But there is significant data to back up the premise. this article shows that unemployment would be 1.5% lower if we had not extended the benefits. And gives a pretty good description (although fairly technical) of why. Here is an article from Time Magazine that gives less detail but more plain English.

ucme's avatar

They should all go to Buckingham Palace & have it out on the Queen’s lawn. Should get along like a house on fire, i’d imagine.

augustlan's avatar

@Jaxk I see some merit in the Time article, as it says that folks might hold out for a better job rather than accept a big pay cut, or a job out of their field, early on in the unemployment cycle. I just know that wasn’t the case for us… I couldn’t even get an interview, much less an offer. My husband got several interviews, but not one offer.

Deja_vu's avatar

Tea Party ? Will the Mad Hatter be there? Is it Christine O’Donnell’s Unbirthday? It must be nice in Wonderland. The best sense is nonsense, I like to say. Will there be crumpets? Some nice lemon curd?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Rant and poke fun all you want. The Tea Party Patriots are going to OWN this election whether you like it or not. I suggest you either learn to live with it, or find somewhere else to be.

Deja_vu's avatar

@CaptainHarley Whether it’s the far right or far left, there are flaws.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Deja_vu

Oh, I most heartily agree!

Deja_vu's avatar

@CaptainHarley If only there can be the best of both worlds?

CaptainHarley's avatar

There can be, but apparently not with this cumbersome, overburdened, special-interest-owned, two-party system.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, first of all, wanting to abolish the department of education is, in fact, an extreme position. Just to let you know.

Second of all, I could get into why I disagree that we should cut these programs, but I’m more interested int he fact that your cuts only total about $70 billion—theoretically.

That is a drop in the bucket in terms of the deficit. So I ask again: do you have any actual plan to cut the deficit?

(I’m reminded of when Republicans repeatedly asserted that “tort reform” by itself could solve the health care problems in America)

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, you said “tax cuts don’t increase the deficit, they grow the economy.”

This is a fairy tale.

I mean… I don’t even know where to start in responding. Perhaps we should compare economic growth and deficit spending under Bush (with his massive tax cuts) vs. under Clinton?

Or maybe we can just examine the absurdity of the statement on its own. Tax cuts pay for themselves… because if people aren’t taxed, they make more money… which the government can get… through taxes. That you cut. Do you also believe in perpetual motion machines?

Or maybe you’re referring to the Laffer curve, an economic theory that says tax cuts, under certain conditions, can cause extremely limited economic growth. (It certainly doesn’t say they pay for themselves.)

jerv's avatar

My opinion is that there are a lot of wingnuts out there who finally got organized enough to start a real movement. And I am not talking about the original Tea Party that @Jaxk is referring to; I am talking about what it has become.

They are a bunch of crazy people who took a well-intentioned political movement and turned it into a laughingstock parody of itself and giving intelligent Conservatives a bad rep in the process.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

Fine let’s compare. First you need to realize that there was a Dotcom boom in the 90s. Whole new industries were created that didn’t exist before. In 1990 very few people even owned a computer, mostly geeks. By 2000 over half the population not only had a computer but Internet access as well. And business was virtually impossible without one. That’s what created the boom in the 90s. Not taxes. The economy actually grew too fast, which is why we had a recession in 2000.

Bush had to deal with the recession of 2000 and was immediately hit with 9/11 which was a second blow to the economy. His tax cuts in 2003 turned it around. As you can see from the graph, revenues immediately began growing and the rate of increase was as good if not better than the Clinton era. The deficit also began to shrink. The Laffer Curve is a good representation of the idea that when taxes are too high or too low the tax revenues suffer. What we are haggling over is the optimum. I say taxes are too high, you seem to say they’re too low.

We are spending over half our entire GDP on government spending. HALF!! When you look at government spending you have to look at all of it, not just federal. You can see that here. European countries do not have the structure we have in government. They are primarily federal and local. We have an added layer of the states. That wouldn’t be a major problem except we continue to add more and more to the federal. as we do that it adds a redundant layer of government and added costs. the DoE is merely one of a thousand such redundant agencies. And in his short term as President, Obama has added hundreds more. It is this overlap, this redundant layer, that is responsible for a tremendous amount of wasted expense.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

Just for exercise, see if you can restate that without the generalities and name calling. That way I may be able to respond or clarify.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I think the Tea Party members have not clearly thought out the end results of some of the policies they are touting. Catch phrases rarely make for enforceable laws & rarely create genuine reform. They seem to be driven by fear of people who are not like themselves. There seems to be too much extreme religion involved in the various platforms upon which the Tea Party stands. Too much religion is NOT a good thing.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I can only really answer based on experiences and observations, and I discount some of those observations since I know that the media likes to sensationalize stuff so I rely more on personal observations than anything I see/read.

Most of the Conservatives I know personally share my opinion of the Tea Party; they are over the top and not at all what they started out as. They want some of the same things that Conservatives traditionally stand for, but some go beyond that.

There are always schisms within virtually any group/organization, and I have had the misfortune of having every Tea Party member I’ve met personally fit the stereotypes you see on the media. In fact, if it wasn’t for people like you and one other Flutherite, I would assume that the entire movement (or at least the majority of people in it) is batshit insane based solely on the weight of evidence. As it is, I have a hard time dispelling the notion that you two are statistical anomalies, again due to the weight of evidence.

It is hard to avoid what may be considered “name calling” when discussing a group that you feel is irrational and extremist, but I am not the type to sugar-coat things. Besides, the question is about opinions, and not all opinions are nice or politically correct.

I don’t consider it a generality if it fits in with >95% of the data available to me. To my mind, generality is calling all Muslims “terrorists” based on the actions of Al Qaeda.(A small minority). But I would rather not digress on a semantic argument over the definition of “generality” if it’s all the same with you.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I’m glad you’re willing to get into the nitty-gritty of this discussion.

However—what a double standard! Clinton’s revenue growth doesn’t count because of the dot-com bubble… but growth after Bush’s tax cuts does count despite there being an even more massive housing bubble?

And the Laffer curve simply does not support your argument here. The only empirical studies that support the idea say that revenues only start to get affected at tax rates at or above those of hte Clinton/Obama administration. Some studies say that only tax rates of 60–70% should apply! We’re not “haggling” over the optimum. You have zero data in support of your claim!

The rest of your post is simply more vague complaining about the amount of debt. You still haven’t told us what you want to cut! The DoE? That’s like a miniscule fraction of the deficit. I’ll ask again: do you have any serious ideas about how to control the debt?

Qingu's avatar

Also: were you okay with Bush and Reagan expanding the deficit? (Your graph shows clearly that Bush did so; I’ll be happy to provide evidence that Reagan did too).

I think it’s important to control the deficit, probably for the same reasons you do. However, I also think it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that its citizens don’t suffer in a recession, that they have enough food if they can’t find a job, that they aren’t homeless because of circumstances beyond their control. Keynesian economists have been proven right when it comes to recessionary economics and they unanimously recommend government spending to sput demand and offset the recession.

I think this is much more important, in the short term, than fighting the deficit. Our country is in an emergency.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

Maybe you should read your own links. From the link YOU posted.

“Laffer has presented the examples of Russia and the Baltic states, which instituted a flat tax with rates lower than 35% and whose economies started growing soon after implementation, in support of the Laffer curve. He has similarly referred to the economic outcome of the Kemp-Roth tax act, the Kennedy tax cuts, the 1920s tax cuts, and the changes in US capital gains tax structure in 1997.”

“The Adam Smith Institute stated in a 2010 report that “The 1997 Budget in Ireland halved the rate of taxation of realized capital gains from 40% to 20%. The then Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, was heavily criticized on the grounds that this change would reduce revenues. He countered by predicting that revenues would rise substantially as a result of the lower tax rate. He was proved entirely correct. Revenues rose considerably, almost trebling in fact”

Hell, that doesn’t sound like zero evidence and I didn’t have to use anything but your own link. You may want to read your own posts, it may help to answer some of your own questions. I’ve already shown you where our spending is topping 50% of GDP.

As for the additional cuts let me throw in one other point. The last Bush budget was $2.9 trillion. The first Obama budget was $3.8 trillion. We should go back and hold to the 2008 budget. That’s another $900 billion.

As for the spending under Bush, no I was not OK with it. The excess was one of his greatest failures. Democrats screamed bloody murder about the deficits but when Obama tripled them, they loved it. A bit hypocritical.

As far as you concern for the citizens, it is misapplied. When Clinton cut Welfare, the number of people living below the poverty line declined. I’ve already shown (above) that extending unemployment benefits actually increases unemployment by 1.5% and extends it by over a month. We’re not addressing our problems with this approach we’re making them worse.

And finally, when Obama decided he needed some spending cuts, he asked his cabinet to cut $100 million from the budget. I think I’ve done better than him by an order of magnitude.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Help me out here..aren’t they the ones who say Obama is a Muslim? Aren’t they the ones who insist he wasn’t born in America? Aren’t they the ones who say Obama’s health care plan is really an evil plot to kill off the old people? Aren’t they the ones who pass around nothing but slanderous and untrue rumors? Aren’t they the ones who think Sarah Palin would be good president? I guess that about says it all for me.

Here is a hilarious video staring Jack Black. It’s what the tea party folks were like as little kids. :)

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Which unemployment figures are you going by anyways? There is little agreement over the actual figures, and a variety of methodologies. If you only count those collecting unemployment, you get a lower figure than you do when you add in those that have exhausted their benefits, which is lower still than those who have just given up after a couple of years of nothing. In other words, you can make the numbers look a lot better (about half the actual figure) if you leave out certain demographics.

As for the deficits, I think we could save a shitload if we just pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan entirely. I mean, how big a slice of the budgetary pie are those two things getting?

Bailouts were probably a bad idea, at least (especially?) as they were done, and I’d like to know what would’ve happened had we just let Capitalism weed out the weak like BoA and some automakers. It would’ve hurt like hell, just like ripping off a band-aid, but the stinging would go away instead of prolonging the agony.

How much are we spending on Homeland Security compared to the actual increase in security? I see a lot of pork and inefficiency there, so let the bean counters have a field day.

I said a while back that I feel that the optimum (personal income) tax rate for the top brackets is around 40%, but I would revise that downwards considerably if we could get some money from the corporate side rather than drive all the big boys into tax shelters overseas (screwing small business owners like you) and make the tax rate truly progressive even for the top 0.1%.(Looking at a link you posted elsewhere, I noticed a dip in the marginal tax rate at the high end that could translate to some big dollar figures and ease the burden for the merely wealthy and middle class.) And we could ease the burden across the board if we cut spending in the right places and stopped trying to solve certain problems by throwing taxpayer money at them.

@Dutchess_III I guess the Tea Party is a diverse lot. Every group has it’s lunatic extremists, so why should the Tea Party be any different?

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, the example of Russia and the Baltic states has to do with the adoption of a flat tax, not with the reduction of taxes as a whole. The example of Ireland has to do with the capital gains tax.

Now, you say you want to go back to the Bush budget. Guess what? Obama’s budget increase includes tax cuts from the stimulus bill. Do you want to get rid of those?

Do you want to get rid of infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill and increased funding for scientific research and education? Okay—that’s a few billion. Still not close to closing the gap.

The rest of the budget increase, as my sources up there note, largely comes from increased spending on things like unemployment due to the recession.

The argument that failing to extend unemployment results in a decrease in unemployment is a classic example of correlation without causation. If you’re saying you’d like to cut unemployment benefits, I’d love to hear the chain of reasoning and specific ways in which you feel this would “benefit the citizens.” You seem to believe that it would magically cause unemployed people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

You’ve done “better than Obama” in cutting the deficit… by cutting the Department of Education and abolishing unemployment insurance. Congratulations, you’ve basically fucked over the lives of poor people in America. You still haven’t come close to suggesting an actual solution to the deficit.

Qingu's avatar

The TARP bailout did not contribute to the deficit. It was a loan, and we have since been repaid the vast majority of that money back.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jerv But the “lunatics” seem to be in the majority in that movement.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

I’m not sure how much of this you understand and how much is simply bleating against the tea parties. The money that you talk about, the tax cuts, the infrastructure and so forth has already been spent. It is no longer deficit but is now debt. Hopefully you know the difference.

At least most of it. And no I don’t want to do it again. What is left as a budget (we only have his proposal since the Dems didn’t pas another budget) is still sitting at $3.8 trillion. Most of this excess is from the expansion of government. Hell, the IRS alone is slated to hire about16000 new agents. The Omnibus bill expanded budgets across the board 10% and he did it again this year. That’s in addition to the budget expansions they got under stimulus. I’ve given you almost a $trillion in cuts. Once we’ve absorbed that we can go after the additional $300 billion that is left in his projected $1.3 trillion defict.

As for the chain of reasoning for the unemployment, I posted this above but maybe you didn’t see it or just didn’t read it. It explains in detail how it works.

Nobody said abolish unemployment. If all you can do is rebut with Nah-uh, I’m not really interested in going much further.

Paradox's avatar

@jerv They are a bunch of crazy people who took a well-intentioned political movement and turned it into a laughingstock parody of itself and giving intelligent Conservatives a bad rep in the process. Bingo!! I was actually a member of a conservative Q & A before joining Fluther and you are right. Intelligent conservatives have been thrown out of the Republican Party and this new extremist Tea Party movement. These so-called non-partisan “fiscal conservatives” have brought alot of other agenda with them. They do not represent us Libertarians or at least what most of these Tea Party organizations have become. Again where were they during Bush? I guess when you blow taxpayer money in the morally correct way it’s ok. And you Ann Coulter stay far far away from Ron Paul.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I’m using the actual unemployment figures from the Dept of Labor, currently 9.6%. Trying to use underemployment or those that fell out of the employment pool gets a bit too nebulous for me.

It is interesting that you think the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would save a shitload of money. The numbers are fairly easy to find. We’ve just topped a $trillion since 2001. That works out to just over $100 billion/yr. Of course the war in Iraq is winding down so that should eliminate that cost by next year. We should be cutting the spending in half at that point.

Your right about the dept of Homeland Security. It has been a monumental mistake and should be undone. It would take some close scrutiny to weed out the excesses.

As for the drop in taxes at the top .1%, that is a mixed message. Remember that those in the top brackets purchase the lion’s share of bonds. A good portion of which are municipal or state bonds. Those are tax free and because they are the interest rate is less than half what the states would have to pay otherwise. So if you eliminate the tax free part, you also increase the cost of doing business for the states. And of course, they would have to raise taxes on everyone to compensate. Once again, there’s no clear winner in that.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk So, you are using the U3 numbers, eh? Well, since working the fryolator 20 hours a week doesn’t allow you to live indoors and eat without government subsidies, I consider that number to be rather candy-coated, though you are correct that it gets a little nebulous once you get into the U4, 5, and 6 categories. FWIW, the figures I’ve seen I’ve seen places the current unemployment rates (both U3 and U6) at about where they were in 1930; U3 at 9.6% and U6 around 18-ish, or about half of what they were during The Great Depression.

While you raise a good point about the bonds, they way I see it, the state governments are like the feds in that they always find a way to spend more, and they always find a way to increase taxes (look at the price of a bottle of whiskey in WA State!) so it’s not like the average person isn’t going to get bent over the barrel either way.

@Paradox I figured they all went off the deep end after they kicked Colin Powell and John McCain out for being too Liberal. IMO, if you think your party is too Liberal (or Conservative, or just plain fucked up), make your own damn party rather than hijacking one! Capitalism applies to votes just as much as it does to dollars. Let the marketplace decide, and if you can’t offer what the consumers/voters want then you have no business in the business. As it stands, all that is really happening is that many Conservatives are being driven away from the Republican party, or at least seriously considering Democrat and Third-party candidates.

Paradox's avatar

@jerv The Republican party was hijacked some 40 years ago by the far-right and now the Tea Party has been hijacked by the hijacked Republican Party. What an interesting paradox. There is already a political party that is fiscally conservative and is truely concerned about government spending, they are called libertarians. There was no need to form a “Tea Party”, all of these citizens concerned about government spending could have voted for Libertarian candidates.

Yes I’ve brought this point up as a member of a Tea Party forum before joining Fluther and it didn’t take long for the America hating, liberal trash labels to be installed on me even though I’m a veteran myself. True fiscal conservatives need to support more Libertarian candidates, not form a bogus front. We already have the Libertarian Party, there was no need to form Tea Party groups. It really does come down to social issues here with the majority of these people.

Jaxk's avatar

@Paradox

I was a registered Libertarian for years. The problem was every time I went to vote, the Libertarian candidate was an idiot. So I voted for the most conservative candidate that had a chance to win. That was not the Libertarian candidate.

The Republicans have been saying they are fiscally conservative for decades. But they have not acted that way. All the tea parties want is for them to act the way they say they will.

In any respect the party is what the membership says it is. Or at least it is supposed to be. Nothing wrong with voting or supporting candidates in your party or any other that indicate they will support the issues most important to you. And nothing wrong with voting or supporting an opposition candidate when the guy you put in office last time didn’t live up to your expectations. There were many Democrats elected last time on a very conservative platform (remember the Blue Dogs). Those guys are facing reelection and they didn’t live up to their promises. So in a lot of races, the old hasn’t lived up on either side, put in someone who will. that’s all the tea parties want.

Paradox's avatar

@Jaxk Ron Paul is very similar to a Liberatarian though he is a Republican. I would hardly call Ron Paul stupid. I didn’t see these tea party protests when Bush ran up a record debt. Whenever I would bring this point up it was the same old bullshit like “well Obama spent more money in a single year than all of Bush’s 8 years”. I’m not buying it.

There are currently several big government Republican candidates such as Huckabee who will probally be on the Republican ticket in 2012. I guarantee you these tea partiers will magically disappear if a Republican candidate wins despite how much they spend. There are many of these tea partiers where I live that enjoy writing Obama bashing letters to the newspaper editor but I didn’t see even one, no not even one when Bush was in for a full 8 years. Whenever someone like me would write a letter critising all the spending by the Bush Administartion and Republican controlled Congress for 6 of the 8 years of his presidency these same “concerned citizens about government spending” would bash the living hell out of me for criticising the Iraq War and all the other “politically correct type of spending”.

I’m as non-partisan as you can get. Realistically to me the Tea Party is just another front for Republican agenda. They do not stand up for true fiscal conservatives such as myself so I wish they would stop labeling themselves as such.

Jaxk's avatar

@Paradox

I have no idea how conservative you may be. Nonetheless, the tea parties actually started as a reaction to the TARP program. It was a massive shock to the system. I complained about the excess spending all through the Bush years but it wasn’t until the massive spending that I realized how bad it could get. Nobody expected that. and the follow up spending was just as massive.

Libertarians are a far cry from conservative republicans. I can’t support their entire agenda even though I agree with most of the fiscal ideas. Libertarians would completely do away with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Unemployment insurance would completely go away as would welfare (not all bad). International affairs would be none of our business, complete isolationist policies. In general, I’m not willing to go that far. Ron Paul is a good voice to have in congress but I wouldn’t want him as a majority. And I wouldn’t vote for him as President.

Frankly I consider myself very conservative. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say anyone that doesn’t agree with me on everything can’t be a conservative. That seems a bit self righteous.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, you actually think Tea Party members are consistent or honest enough to demand their elected officials act the way they want?

I mean, look at yourself. You haven’t been able to give any significant way to decrease the deficit that the Tea Party is bitching about. You suggested cutting the DOE, which is a fraction, and you suggested reducing the budget back to where BUsh had it, which was (1) still insolvant, (2) did not reflect the cost of wars, and (3) did not reflect increased mandatory spending from the recession.

You, arguably the most intelligent conservative on here, have not been able to detail how you would reign in spending. Most Tea Partiers are far less intelligent than you. I would wager that most Tea Partiers do not even know what mandatory or discretionary spending are, and a good portion probably want the government out of their Medicare.

The Tea Party is outraged about government spending because the Republican media apparatus has told them to be outraged about government spending. It’s “talking points.”

Your hopes that the Republican party’s new constituents will make them newly fiscally conservative seems naive. Especially since these “new constituents” are simply rebranded old constituents, the same exact people who voted for Bush and (if they were alive) Reagan.

Paradox's avatar

@Qingu The Tea Party is outraged about government spending because the Republican media apparatus has told them to be outraged about government spending. It’s “talking points.” Yes very true it seems. I can smell a rat myself here.

@Jaxk Where I am getting at here is the very fact I use to write letters to the political section of my local newspaper and being in a bigtime conservative area whenever I would bring up about the excessive spending of the Bush Administration (even back when the repubs controlled congress yet) all of these so-called “fiscal conservatives” would criticise me, call me names and even threaten me. All of a sudden Obama takes office and these Tea Party fanatics come out of nowhere, many of these same fanatics were the very same ones that never criticised Bush when he was in office. I am talking about local Tea Party organizers I knew personally.

You are missing something else it seems, I though the main focus of the Tea Party was supposed to be about excessive government spending so why would a member of the Tea Party such as yourself criticise Libertarian cutbacks on government programs? I thought the Tea Party was supposed to be a non-partisan group concerned about government spending, something different from so-called neoconservatives of which 99% of are big government themselves. I thought the Tea Party was supposed to be different from the Republican trend but I do not see this. It is just a regurgitation of the same old through a different label.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu and @Paradox

Sorry I don’t have a lot of time but I feel some response is in order. I can’t comment on any local editorials or even speak for everyone but I know I’ve been complaining about the deficits for quite some time. Fairly vocal about them since about 2003.

There was however reason to believe that they could be controlled. The wars were not expected to last forever and the deficit was shrinking year by year. Still the debt continued to climb.

When the $700 billion TARP program came along, it was a slap in the face. A huge deficit. The country had never experienced a $trillion program and it was startling. And it was followed by several other $trillion spending programs. Stimulus and health care, not to mention Omnibus at half a $trillion and numerous multibillion dollar programs like the housing bailout and cash for clunkers, extended unemployment, it looked like the spending would never end. Still does. There was absolutely no plan or even mention of a way to pay it back. When Obama asked his cabinet to cut $100 million from the budget, it was viewed as an insult.

Of course on the other side, the Democrats had been screaming about the excessive spending all through the Bush years. Once Obama came in somehow that changed and spending was OK. I’ve never understood that either.

You complain that the tea parties are just supporting Republicans, but when they throw out the old guard Republicans (for being excessive spenders) you complain about that as well. I see the tea parties as being very consistent in their message that if you supported excessive spending in the past we don’t want you. We’ll gamble on someone new that says they won’t.

And just for @Paradox I’m not looking to eliminate either SS or Medicare but rather fix them. Unfortunately we have a lot of people that have been promised too much and their lives have been based on those promises. Libertarians I think go too far and that’s why I don’t support their entire agenda. Although I do think it is much better than what we have right now. If it was a decision between Libertarian and Democrat rule, I would pick Libertarian. Thankfully I have a choice that is in between those extremes :)

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, the TARP program has been almost entirely repaid. (Also, Bush enacted it, not Obama.)

The stimulus was recommended at the urging of a huge number of prominent economists. And a large part of the stimulus’ costs was… tax cuts.

The health care bill does not increase the deficit, it actually decreases it, so I’m not sure why you even brought it up.

_____________________

As to why Dems don’t complain about spending now, after complaining about it during Bush: let’s compare. I’m going to leave out the wars.

During a non-recession time, Bush vastly increased the deficit with (1) Medicare part D and (2) massive tax cuts. Neither of these programs were paid for. Neither were in response to any sort of economic emergency. In the case of Medicare Part D, the program is going to cost $727.3 billion over ten years. Despite your belief that tax cuts magically pay for themselves, Bush’s tax cuts obviously did not.

Now fast forward to 2009. The economy is in freefall. Unemployment is soaring. High unemployment plus bad credit creates a tremendous vicious cycle. Nobel prize-winning economists urge the administration to create demand by pumping money into the economy—state jobs, unemployment infrastructure projects, and tax cuts for people who would likely spend the money rather than save it (i.e. non-millionaires). This creates a huge deficit, but the alternative—continued economic freefall and worse unemployment—would not only create significantly more suffering but would also lead to a deficit. This is precisely what happened in the Great Depression and in Japan during the 90’s, both of which got much worse when government spending pulled back.

The reasons Democrats support the stimulus while decrying Bush’s running up the deficit is because we think the stimulus’ deficit was obviously the lesser of the two evils. I have yet to see a single worthwhile argument to the contrary; I have seen a lot of conservatives claim the market—their sacred cow—will magically make things better if only we let it work its voodoo.

Qingu's avatar

Also, every Republican currently in office campaigned against “big spenders.” Newt Gingrich’s whole contract with America had the same anti-spending flavor that the current Tea Party does.

But obviously all of those older Republicans were lying, unlike the pure and honest Tea Party dunces.

The reality is that both political parties bitch about government spending and deficits when the party in power spends money on things they don’t want. In the Republicans’ case that includes social safety net programs. In the Democrats’ case that includes unnecessary tax cuts and wars.

Meanwhile, the public hears “government spending” and thinks this is always bad, despite the fact that they actually support most government spending—like you do.

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