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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is there uni-tea in the protests?

Last week, I posted about the possible pitfalls of tea parties. Sure, there are distractions and side-shows, but in general these are genuinely frustrated everyday people who want the political class to slow down, shrink down, and become accountable to them.

The party in power and the media have largely mocked the protests -- they have some legitimate points, especially the fact that the protests were not occurring during the big spending Bush years. (Which also raises the question, where are all the war protesters from the Bush years?)

Though I wish the tea party attendees were hosting similar protests during the GOP spending era, there are a few notable differences. For one, the spending has continued to accelerate. The final months of Bush and the first months of Obama swept by like a whirlwind of massive intervention and spending. Each act was more brazen and more expensive than the one before. The anger that had been mounting, even during the Bush years, has now come to a head.

Another reason is that the average American is "rationally ignorant" of government activity. During the Bush years, no matter how much GW spent, media reports largely focused on how much more he could've spent and how "free-market" he was. Bush himself talked a limited government game. The message picked up on by the casual observer was essentially, "government isn't big enough because Bush is a conservative free-market type". I'm sure many doubted this, but without the time to look into it the average citizen wasn't really aware just how massive the government was becoming.

Contrast that with today's administration that rarely attempts to give free markets and limited government lip-service. Media outlets seem to gleefully report the massive spending. The message to the somewhat attuned citizen is clear, "government is growing huge and fast". It was during the Bush era too, but it wasn't clear to most people so they didn't have a visceral reaction.

That's no excuse for this to become a stupid partisan yelling match. The greedy, inbred, self-serving, deceitful and corrupt political class spans both major parties (as it would minority parties if they ever achieved any measure of power in the U.S.). It's government that we should be protesting, not the figure head associated with it.

Once again, Jack McHugh offers some wisdom on the topic. McHugh outlines the basic meaning and message of the tea parties:

"The Tea Party protest has become a broad-based “big tent”  because it is focused on a few simple things:


The complaint is chronic fiscal irresponsibility, now become acute fiscal extremism.


The target is an inbred, self-serving, self-perpetuating and bipartisan political class that no longer represents the will of the people.


The goal is to send that political class packing and restore genuine representative government, with whatever policy implications that entails.


What are those policy implications? A balanced budget amendment and honest government accounting are two strong possibilities. The effects of just those would ripple through the welfare state with surprising and healthy results.


It’s true that some Tea Party protesters are also passionate about other issues -- immigration, abortion, school choice, etc. It’s also likely that there are Tea Party protesters on both sides of those issues.


What unites them is the complaint, the target, and the goal described above.


“What do we want?”

“Representative government!”

“When do we want it?”



Not the most catchy chant, but its substance is just right."

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on April 14, 2009 in Economic freedom | Permalink


PS - Are there any protests going on in Canada? (obviously not themed after the Boston Tea Party) How much are Canadians holding their government(s) accountable for the financial crisis? How much should they be? How has it affected the Canadian economy? Politics?

I'm interested to know...

Posted by: IMM | 2009-04-14 10:07:59 AM

I certainly hope they get the selfish conspirators out of their government before it becomes a full blown dictatorship! The world has witnessed the biggest heist in history as government political officials rob the taxpayers money and take away liberties like free speech and attack the Second Amendment right before the world's very eyes! What a sick infected country! I wouldn't trust a single politician in that government to legislate a school Red Cross meeting!
They will keep stealing until the USA is as broke or broker than third world countries! Get your best honest lawyers and legally get those crooks out of there! We are on the Patriots side!

Posted by: M. Btok | 2009-04-14 10:22:16 AM

Heads up guys! The radical left group ACORN is planing to hold counter rallies and possibly send people to disrupt the Tea Parties. These people will show up with signs that are intended to make the partiers seem like right-wing extremists.

Posted by: David | 2009-04-14 3:30:51 PM

Tea Parties might energize what should happen next and that is the use of the recall mechanism to try to get rid of some of the congressmen and senators who are obviously touting abusive legislation.

Posted by: DML | 2009-04-14 11:32:07 PM

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