Monday, August 6, 2012

Is the Tea Party Selfish and Bigoted?

Recently an acquaintance  wrote a Blog entitled: Who's Sorry Now.  In the Blog the writer begins with some statements that are allegedly attributed to the "Tea Party" and then goes on to state that their views on who makes up the tea party and their motivations.

Below is my point by point response to their allegations.  Tell me what you think.


I have a different take on your characterization of the tea party. 

In your post, you begin by stating, “The Tea Partiers have a lot of interests, most of which consist of things they are against.”

This is not how I find people who support the tea party.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I find members of the tea party to be genuinely for principles of liberty and the values embedded in the constitution.  In fact, this is it’s mission statement taken from the website…

The Tea Party movement is a grassroots movement of millions of like-minded, Americans from all backgrounds and political parties. Tea Party members share similar core principles supporting the United States Constitution as the Founders intended, such as:
• Limited federal government
• Individual freedoms
• Personal responsibility
• Free markets
• Returning political power to the states and the people

You claim the “They are against government”.  I disagree, as noted above they are for limited government which is something quite different from “against government”.   You state that they “aren’t all that concerned over its regulating Wall Street.”  On this one, you may have a point.  But you see it is not because no one cares about the corruption and self-serving actions taken by individuals during the Wall Street meltdown.  Rather, the tea-party is for “Personal Responsibility” and holding those individuals who contributed to the meltdown accountable for their actions.  The best way to do this is to have a vibrant court system in which injured parties have the right to recourse.  In addition, where federal and state laws have been broken, those responsible should be brought to justice.  Additional regulation makes companies and institutions beholden to bureaucrats rather than clients and customers.  An environment where bureaucrats  hold significant sway on businesses and business decisions often leads to inefficient responses to customer needs and higher costs to meet the regulations which we the consumer then pay for.  Further, and perhaps more dangerous, is the risk that what may start out as a well-intentioned program with well-meaning civil servants evolves into a corrupt system in which government bureaucrats become susceptible to bribes and other forms of corruption so that companies yield to a temptation of focus on achieving influence rather than serving customer needs.  This is the dark side of regulation.

You said, “ They’re against immigration”. First, I go back to the mission statement and ask, in what part do you see anything that has to do with immigration?  What evidence exists that they are against immigrants.  The tea party members that I know don’t hate immigrants, they respect and admire immigrants.  A mantra that is shared with the tea party is one that is on all of our money, “E Pluribus Unum” , “Out of many, One”.  This is a uniquely American principle that says, the rights embedded in our constitution are available for all regardless of blood line or ethnic background.  Yes, we may have come from many different backgrounds but regardless of our ethnic heritage, we are all Americans and have a common creed that binds us such that any individual is free to pursue happiness in their own way.  Finally, I personally have enormous respect for those who came to this country and properly pursued citizenship.  A wonderful couple I know have shared with me their long a arduous journey to citizenship from their native Nairobi.  My respect for them is unbounded.  Regardless of your stance on the issue of immigration, I simply think that is unfair that this wonderful couple invested themselves into the legal immigration process while others simply cross the borders and take up residence.  What is fair about that?  Either we should allow all people from all countries to come to the US without regard to any standards or immigration policy or we respect the need for a rationale policy of how we manage the process of integrating those from other countries into our society.  It is absolutely unfair to single out one group, primarily from one country and provide them with a special standard that is not applied to others from the rest of the world.

You said, “They don’t like paying taxes, but don’t seem to care much one way or the other about high income tax cuts or other benefits like the multitude of loopholes that benefit the very rich.”  The issue here is one of free markets vs government solutions.  First, it is well documented that the top earners in our country already pay a disproportionate share of taxes.  According to the National Taxpayers Union, The top 1% of all Adjusted gross earners pay 36.73% of the Federal Income Tax.  The top 5% of AGI pays 58.67% of the Federal Income Tax.  Now you apparently feel that is not enough.  My question is what do you think is the right % that the top 5% should pay?  Nearly 60% is not enough????????  From my point of view, this a a grossly unfair burden on a very limited number of individuals and makes us as a nation even more dependent on the success of these individuals for our total tax revenue.  This seems like a risky proposition to me.  Our revenue fortunes rise on these individuals success.   With so much of our present revenues dependent on the success of these individuals, wouldn’t it make sense to encourage even more success for them as this would translate into higher government revenues?

You said. “They dislike people of color on general principle” again, where do you find that in any of the tea party principles?  This is not my experience at all.  Have I ever seen a nut who claims some tea party affiliation ever rant in a thoughtless bigoted manner?  Simple answer yes!  Still that is not an indictment of the entire group.  Evidence of bigotry and stupidity is something that is not limited to a few kooks who claim tea party affiliation.  I see evidence of crazy bigoted behavior on all sides of the spectrum.  (I can send you a you tube link that documents clearly racist behavior against a group of white supporters of a candidate in the Richmond, VA area from the last election cycle, while police simply looked on with little regard)  My point here is that the bigoted and senseless behavior of a few should not indict an entire group.

Finally, you state, “Most of them don’t care about outsourcing jobs because their number is currently top heavy with pensioners”.  I have a different interpretation, going to the principle of free market ideals.  Another way to describe outsourcing is “free market” of capital and labor.  If a shoe manufacturer is forced to maintain a US work force and the labor costs are much more that a competitor, then the finished goods for each will have different prices for similar quality shoes.  The US company must either charge higher prices to maintain margin and therefore lose share or they choose to charge the same price in which case their margins are squeezed.  In either case, this ultimately leads to the shoe manufacturer going out of business and then all of the jobs are lost.  That is not how to create jobs my friend.

Ok, that is enough for today.  Thank you for letting me offer you my point by point response to your provocative post.  I welcome your respectful response back.