Tea Baggers have it correct but wrong
December 1, 2009
by Ben Emery
The recent Tea Party movement is a populous one that has great justification. I went to both Town Hall meetings in Grass Valley and passed out flyers and spoke to many Tea Baggers. We agreed on just about all the problems with the country but disagreed on just about all the solutions because of one underlying problem — the confusion of cause and effect.
The downfall of our country didn't happen in the last year or two, but in the last 30 years. What we are experiencing today is the product of the biggest threat to democracy in America — the accumulation of wealth, power and corporate personhood.
The founders of our country fought against such a country where a small few controlled so much of the country's wealth and the government's policies. The Tea Party movement is correct in blaming our government for the downfall we are experiencing. But our government was set up for “We The People” to be the government and “We” have elected and supported the neutering of our powers to control our own policies, which threatens democracy and breeds fascism.
The Boston Tea Party was in fact a rebellion against a corporate tax cut. Grass Valley Tea Baggers (GVTB) insisted it was about “no taxation without representation,” but that was the reaction to the Stamp Act of 1765 and carried through the revolution. The Boston Tea Party was, in essence, American colonists saying “Hell No” to Wal-Mart, Exxon, Goldman Sachs and other major corporations of the period. East India Trading Company was one of the first of these types in modern history. The Tea Act allowed EITC to undercut the local tea shops in the American colonies, putting them out of business. It works much like a big corporation today that receives huge tax breaks and land subsidies, giving them an unfair advantage over mom and pop shops who can't compete and eventually go out of business.
Since the Ronald Reagan's administration, we have been told that the private sector knows best and “We The People” are the enemy — the nine scariest words in the English language are “I'm from the government and I'm here to help.” So we elect those who campaign against government and they, in turn, show us how bad government can be run.
In 1980, America was No. 1 in the world in exports of finished goods, importer of raw materials and the biggest lender in dollars to foreign nations.
Today, America is No. 1 in importer of finished goods/ exporting raw materials and the biggest debtor nation in world history.
Before the modern conservative movement or supply-side economics, our national debt was manageable. In 1980, America had a national debt of $909 billion, mainly leftover debt from the Vietnam War. The Carter administration had reduced our national debt by 3.2 percent over four years while increasing the U.S. GDP by 9.4 percent.
From Jimmy Carter's first fiscal year records to George W. Bush's first term fiscal records, we have seen the Democratic administrations increase federal spending by 10 percent, national debt by 4.2 percent, and GDP by 12.6 percent.
Compared to Republican administrations, we experienced increases in federal spending of 12.1 percent, national debt of 36.4 percent, and GDP by 10.7 percent. We are in debt almost $12 trillion today. The Reagan/ Bush administrations are responsible for 92 percent of it — just over $11 trillion.
As of 2009 “We The People” have almost no control over our government and need to balance a budget and pay our way out of this crippling deficit.