Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tea Party revisited

Funny, I thought by now everyone understood what the Tea Party stood for, and what policies it supports.  But recent events have convinced me that this is not the case.

I cross-post many of my articles at the Austin Post (such as this one, which I totally expect to be rated about (-3) within 24 hours of its approval...this is Austin, after all), and that site has featured, in the last couple of months, multiple articles about the Tea Party.  But as I have not written for the site lately, I thought it might be good to have an article at the Austin Post about the Tea Party by someone who actually knows what he is talking about.

For example, a recent article on the Post's site made the following assertion in its very first paragraph:

The NAACP made a good stab at defining the values of the Tea Party by calling them racists. It’s a simplistic judgment but fair, considering that the Tea Party’s main activities are 1.) opposing every issue supported by a black president, and 2.) hating immigrants of color.

Do you see the logical fallacies at work here?

Let's start with point 1.  "I oppose President Obama's policy stances, ergo, I am a racist."  No, I'm sorry, it doesn't work that way.  (But then, we've heard this argument since before the presidential election.  Somebody ought to write about that particular issue.  Oh, wait:  someone did.)   Yes, I definitely oppose President Obama's policies; they represent an unprecedented-in-peacetime grab of power by the federal government.  But that certainly does not mean I am racist, or that I would not support any black president.  (I hear some people are trying to convince Herman Cain to run in 2012; having heard him talk about policy before, I could get behind his ideas.)  I would have been just as opposed to these policies if they had been implemented by Hillary Clinton, for example.  (But that would have made me a misogynist, wouldn't it, though of course all the people who so virulently hate Sarah Palin are never called that, except by conservatives, who of course have no standing to speak on anything.)

No, these policies include a quadrupling of our budget deficit (with similar deficit numbers over the next ten years) via countless stimulus packages that do not appear to have stemmed the tide of unemployment.  Remember when the unemployment wouldn't go above 8% if the first stimulus package were passed?  Neither do I.  But with unemployment firmly entrenched above 9%, our government continues to spend as if there is no tomorrow.  Since the federal government apparently hasn't the will to cut any government spending (except, of course, for defense), the only other way, in the minds of many, to raise federal revenue is to raise taxes.  A lot.  More on that momentarily.

The policies I oppose also include a healthcare plan that tells my employer exactly what has to be included in our health insurance plan, regardless of whether we want all of it or not.  It keeps people who have been using health savings accounts for years from using them for certain items.  It also does a bunch of other things that burden individuals and employers, including small employers in many cases; see here for more information.

Our president's policies also include, though it hasn't been passed yet, a cap-and-trade (referred to by many, including me, as "cap-and-tax") plan that would drive utility rates up quite a bit.  Don't believe me?  Maybe this will convince you:

And since we're talking about costs to the consumer, let's add taxes into this discussion.  Now, we could debate the Laffer curve all day and try to determine where the midpoint is for balancing tax rates and revenue growth, but the fact is that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts (referred to by most as the "Bush tax cuts") spurred growth and job creation in what was becoming a economic slowdown.  Let's see...we're in something a little greater than just a "slowdown" now; what do you think allowing these tax cuts to expire (in effect, raising taxes) will have on job creation?  Hmmm...

(Yes, there's still time for Congress to attend to the issue of whether they want to raise everyone's taxes...a few people have spoken about where we currently stand, including one Sarah Palin.)

Oh, and before you get the impression that I'm just a selfish so-and-so who doesn't want to help anyone, let me say two things:  1) I worked, and continue to work, very hard to get myself out of the debt I've run up, following (for the most part) the fairly simple ideas put forth by Dave Ramsey; and 2) I've addressed in a previous post (which did not appear on the Austin Post) what I believe my responsibilities as a Christian are to others.

Then there's the incredible government intrusion into the car industry under the guise of "saving" GM and Chrysler.  Word to the wise:  they weren't too big to fail.  If it had come to it, parts, or all, of the companies would have been sold to more profitable automakers, many of whom probably could have done a better job of running them.

And, of course, there is the federal government's stubborn refusal to do one job specifically given it in the Constitution:  to protect our borders.  Per Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

But instead of protecting our borders against illegal immigration, the federal government has sued a state that tried to solve their own problem.

And this brings us to the other main assertion made about the Tea Party:  that we "hat[e] immigrants of color".  Personally, I don't hate anyone, and I don't think anyone has a problem with immigration--as long as it is legal.  The author of this Austin Post piece, in saying that the Tea Party hates immigrants in toto, has made us into a bunch of white supremacists.  Far from it.  But there is a proper way to enter this country, just as there is a proper way to follow every law in this country.  How would the author of these defamatory accusations like it if I and, say, 12 million of my best friends all decided not to pay our taxes for, oh, ten years or so, and then we all held rallies to demand that our tax liability be totally forgiven?  No?  Then why should others be allowed to break existing laws with impunity?

And since the person in question also wondered why "the Tea Party can’t formulate a convincing argument why immigration is harmful" (I will assume he meant to say illegal immigration), I'll answer.  First of all, I'll refer this person to the article I wrote three months ago in which I pointed out the following:
  • Phoenix is the "number two kidnapping capital of the world" (Mexico City is #1).
  • Suspected human traffickers shot a deputy in Arizona.  Just the shooting is bad enough, but human trafficking is reprehensible.
  • Some other stuff.  Read the article.
What wasn't in that article was that I know someone whose family was affected by a kidnapping relating to a Mexican cartel.  Thankfully, the kidnappers in that case were totally inept, and so the person affected is fine now, albeit a bit shaken up, I would imagine.

I'm not gonna say any of the stuff that has been said for years such as "they're taking our jobs!!!!11!" because I'm all for people working.  But there is a correct way to do it.

In closing, I welcome discussion about these topics.  To borrow a phrase from the person who wrote the previous Austin Post article, get to know some tea partiers; they're great folks.

Or keep calling us names.  But just realize that it says a whole lot more about you than it does about us.