Marco Rubio eloquently clarified the role of the Tea Party in accurately describing it as a "grassroots" movement. It is not and was never intended to be a Washington based poltical action committee. Maybe that's why the media has encountered difficulty "pigeonholing" it. As was said about co-operative advertising in the eighties it's like "trying to put jelly on the wall with thumbtacks."
In short, there are "many strains striving for the same common objective."
This objective seems to be clear. "America must learn to live within her means, which translates to cutting spending." As Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul emphasized, "we do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem." Essentially, the idea echos Ronald Reagan's 1980 plea: "we need to reduce the cost of government."
History has taught us that whenever a decisive plan is introduced, there are critics. In most cases it is criticism without alternatives. Paul Ryan can vouch for this! From there it becomes tainted and even personal. Usually, there are slurs that border on "exhibitions of hyperbole." The best example of this is alleged racism. Referring to the Tea Party as "racist" is as accurate as describing John F. Kennedy as "a Mormon."
Predicably, when Tea Partier, Randy Paul introduced a serious proposal that would make a dent in the nations' 15 trillion dollar deficit, it was impugned as "extreme" and "radical." In reality, even this "extreme, radical" plan accounted for only one-third of the number. So, where would the rest come from? Medicare? Social Security? Defense?
The Tea Party has raised awareness regarding Americas' precarious financial position. While Paul's detailed reductions are appalling, they crystallize the true dilemma.
Liberals and Moderates alike ruefully acknowledge that "shared sacrifice" in the form of higher taxes are both necessary and imminent. Obama's bi-partisan commission said as much. It wasn't received with a red carpet. When Congressman Ryan put forth a plan to save Medicare, he received cold shoulders from Democrats and "R.I.N.O." Republicans.
Ryan's plan didn't touch Social Security. But Paul admitted during his campaign that "the age would need to be raised eventually." This is inevitable because at "time of inception, the average age was less than 65." People are living longer. Even those on the far left acknowledge this!
Let's assume that we adopted both Paul and Ryan's plans. Then we raised the age of social security to the levels proposed by Obama's commission. Wouldn't we still be short? It would appear without some increase in revenue, we would be! Or, at least, the experts would suggest such. However, there may be additional help in the form of new proposed legislation. Enter the "E" Amendment!
Hidden inside a decisive plan to improve literacy standards in America are numerous, money saving "offshoots" that would result automatically from the "E" Amendment's passage. They would be realized mostly at state level.
One of the greatest criticisms of Paul's plan was that it "placed additional financial burdens on the states." The "E" amendment removes existing expenses as fast as new expenses might be created! English only voting ballots would put the reins on aggressive Justice Department mandates as was seen in Cuyahoga County, Ohio in October 2010. English only drivers license testing would check efforts by free spending Governors such as Kentucky's Steve Beshear, to offer written drivers tests in multiple languages. No doubt you would hear "howls" from those crying "diversity!" But we are talking about "shared sacrifice."
A moratorium on "outsourcing jobs that utilized Americans' social security numbers" would take hundreds of thousands off the unemployment roles here at home. Of course, big business would complain! They would say that "profits would drop, stock prices would drop." But we are talking about "shared sacrifice."
Selling the postal service to private enterprise, then introducing a "residentual access tax on commerically oriented direct mail" would generate massive revenue. I can imagine what the postal workers union would say about that one! "What if U.P.S. got rid of our overfunded pension in favor or a minimal annuity?" It goes back to "shared sacrifice."
What about the direct mail companies? They never had a problem with their "bulk mailing permits!"
Striking Phyler versus Doe would remove masses of illegal aliens from entitlement rolls. "How heartless! How draconian," they would say! This "shared sacrifice" would impact children! Never mind that they are in the country illegally!
Would these provisions be enough to make up the difference? Possibly! It would be close enough to merit a study. Meanwhile, the average American would know that there were alternatives. Alternatives to a gasoline tax, an increased income tax, a "value added tax," or the elimination of a deduction currently enjoyed.
In essence, the Tea Party, a loosely constructed army of Americans from coast-to-coast, united in their quest for fiscal sanity would have their ordnance; in the form of the "E" Amendment. The "E" Amendment would quietly remove obstacles. These "obstacles" can be defined as dogmatic politicians and nuisance lawsuits that would attempt to protect an unsustainable system of spending money that we don't have.
The "unholy alliance" between the Tea Party and the left might actualize in the form of newly hatched "Eagles for America." The Tea Party advocates foreign military intervention only with Congressional authorization. This could translate to "no nation building, no foreign give-a-ways." Establishment Republicans wince at this thought. "Eagles" are on board with it and go one step further: "after we balance the budget, return any surplus to the states on the condition that the money is used to facilitate four-year public higher education for qualified students."
The idea is based on "charity beginning at home." While we may be investing in countries for the purpose of "protecting our national interests," the question becomes, "what" is defined as "our?" Americans may have different ideas regarding our "national interests." To many, affordable higher education at home may take on a higher priority than substidizing a foreign government.
Thus, the Tea Party becomes more than a "fringe element" of the Republican party. In effect, we are seeing a formitable coalition emerging that strives for fiscal sanity coupled with the notion that all Americans are "relevant and significant."
It puts one in awe to imagine how fast this thing could develop.
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