Tea Partiers: Be Careful What You Wish For

The Tea Party has no shortage of colorful rhetoric -- from grizzly bears to painting every policy as a tax -- but I can’t help but wonder how this attention-grabbing imagery would translate into governing policy. 

What if the Tea Party actually got what they wanted? What if they really did succeed in dismantling the government they loathe?

I realize anti-government rhetoric is popular these days, but if this speechifying actually becomes a blueprint for running our country, things could get rough for average Americans. Let’s take a look at what it would mean if some Tea Party sound bites became a reality. 

Reality #1: No New Safety and Health Standards (Don’t Eat the Eggs)

A few weeks ago, Tea Party darling Senator Jim DeMint introduced a bill that would require both houses of Congress and the White House to approve every major rule set by the EPA and other federal agencies. Since Congress can barely agree on post office names these days, DeMint’s bill would effectively create a government shutdown, turning technical matters about standards into ugly political brawls. Most new regulations won’t survive the trip through Congress. 

 

What would this look like on the ground? It is one thing to complain about government overreach from the stump, but it’s another thing to read that before salmonella killed several Americans, “barns of egg producers were infested with flies, maggots, and rodents, and had overflowing manure pits.” The only reason the farmer responsible for the latest outbreak is cleaning up his act is because the federal government is bearing down on him. 

The federal government actually has a job to do, and if we tie its hands, it won’t take long to feel the consequences. Who do the Tea Partiers think is trying to prevent the next salmonella outbreak? Who do they think stepped in when Toyota cars were malfunctioning? Who do they think is keeping Houston’s air from looking like the dirty soup of Beijing skies? 

If the Tea Party succeeds in blocking future regulations, I wouldn’t eat the eggs if I were you. 

Reality #2: No Federal Spending (Keep Your Eye on Your Tap) 

The Tea Party has turned government spending into a dirty word. But let’s reflect on the fact that not all government spending is pork. Some of it keeps our families safe and our communities operating. Take our water infrastructure. America’s aging system is in desperate need of investment. The EPA estimates we would need to invest $334 billion over the next 20 years just to ensure we comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act -- the law that protects us from raw sewage and water-borne diseases. This isn’t a talking point about spending; it’s about what comes out of your tap. 

Reality #3: No Plan for Climate Change (Too Bad China Will Get Our Jobs)

Almost every Tea Party candidate running for office either denies the science of climate change or believes that America does not need to take action to stop it. If they get their way and continue to delay climate solutions, America is in store for some serious consequences. Remember how scientists called 2010 the worst summer on record because of the heat waves, droughts, mudslides, and floods that sent millions of people from their homes? Get used to it. 

And get used to watching jobs drain out of America and reappear in China. According to a recent report issued by the Small Business Majority and American Businesses for Clean Energy, China and other nations have “gained more than $$11 billion in job-creating clean energy investments” in the two months since the Senate failed to pass clean energy and climate legislation in July. The analysis shows that nearly 2 million jobs have been lost as a result of this failure. 

The truth is the Tea Party has not explained what their policies will mean for the functioning of America. We have budgets for a reason. The government spends money for a reason. 

I want an America that works. I want bridges that stand firm, pipes that bring clean water, and schools that educate our children. I want a Congress that can function and pass a bill every once in awhile. And I want an economy that invests in clean energy and climate solutions. These things mean far more to mean than catchy campaign slogans or three-cornered hats ever could. 

 

 

 

Tags: NRDC Action Fund, Tea Party (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

The age of the 1% countries of the world i.e. Mexico, Brazil, China, and the USA
The USA--A World of the 1% Owners

Good thoughts...you could name at least 50 areas where the Tea Party would shutdown part or all of the Federal governments oversight and its spending.

What the Tea Party and Mr. DeMint describes as I see it is Mexico North of the Rio Grande about 2030.  The backers of the Tea Party/the GOP/the rightwing media conglomerates will have given us by 2030 or so is a system very much like Mexico, Brazil, China. I call these 1% countries because all forms of basic services and commerce is owned by 1% of the population.  We are very close to that now-- in 2010 about 10% of the population own 85% of our assets as a nation.  I like to use Mexico because I have lived there and I have viewed its degeneration into a country which has a small cadre of billionaires and then a huge number of very impoverished people. It has a tiny middle class.  Its social structure has its richest citizens who live away from its poverty--mostly they live on mountain top estate guarded 24/7 by the Mexican Army.  They only care about increasing their own wealth. The overall GDP in Mexico is of no consequence to them (in fact Spain and Mexico had the same GDP level in 1980--now Spain far outstrips them in all categories except perhaps value add mining / extraction industry).  On the economic level, Mexico's richest billionaires i.e. Carlo Slim own all the essential "low-tech" industries i.e. water supply, electric gas/oil utilities, and food distribution. They care nothing for any high tech industrial or scientific base--they couldn't support it in any case because that would require them to support a heavy investment in human capital and education which they will NOT do. In fact the Government in Mexico exists as the protector of the 1% billionaire class only--everyone else gets little from it. You might have noticed that G W Bush was very fond of Mexico. It's his kind of place--he is an elitist whose whole life is/was dedicated to enriching "his" kind of people. Look around the USA and you see this happening. Who owns the basic industries and assets in the USA. The Bass brothers are the biggest owners of water in the western US.  The Koch brothers own  or direct much of the pipeline infrastructure. The list goes own--T Boone Pickens owns huge supplies of natural gas.  The picture of this path we are on is a grim one. The monied supporters of the Tea Party and of the GOP look at the last big player in the game--the player with huge amounts of money and riches--that would be the Federal government. They want those riches for themselves. Don't ever believe that Bush wanted to knockoff Saddam because of his daddy. Saddam controlled over 800 Billion barrels of oil and Bush and his oil buddies used our Army to steal it.  The same hold true in America. The United States has huge untapped reserves of everything--oil, coal, wind, gold, silver, land...the 1% Gang feel its their natural right for them to get it (for free like they did in Iraq) and then turn it over to the rest of us for a huge profit.

So then, where do we go from here. I would propose that at some point the citizens would arise and nationalize all mineral and base production of goods--i.e. pipelines, highways, airlines, oil companies, etc. but we are past that point I fear.

What about the political side. Well, when looking out there, I now see the same players that we had on the GOP side as in 1999. Karl Rove's American Crossroads just gave out $4.5 mil. in advertising. That will buy a lot of loyalty from the new generation that will arrive in the new Congress of 2011. And to that I say to you --- "I give you the nominee for President for the Republican Party of 2012--Jeb Bush of Florida".

Jeb's a full fledged cardcarrying member of the 1% club of the

by hddun2008 2010-10-09 12:22AM | 0 recs

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