The following are the next five (the first five covered in Part 1) of 15 "non-negotiable core beliefs" the Tea Party holds, according to www.teaparty.org (with subsequent responses):
"Six. Government must be downsized."
Government has already been downsized if deregulation is considered. Initially pushed under the Reagan administration, deregulation has made inroads. Corporations have become untamed in contributing to the gutting of regulations beneficial to the public good, whether dealing with the environment, labor or social services.
Private monopoly has expanded through an out-of-control financial sector that offered special enticements like derivatives, hedge funds and subprime mortgages from investment banks and brokerage firms, creating wild speculation over the years which, as a consequence, led up to the 2008 Great Recession (the documentary, "Inside Job," by director Charles Ferguson, gives the sordid details).
There has been the existence of a private corporate bureaucracy with close ideological ties with the government where politicians become corporate consultants and vice versa in a politically-incestuous relationship.
There have been threats by GOP members to cut the funds to the Environmental Protection Agency-or to eliminate the department altogether; as well as to Social Security, OSHA and unions serving the public's interests.
This is a Tea Party version of downsizing. Meanwhile, the military and intelligence budgets are hardly affected, if at all.
"7. The national budget must be balanced."
Anyone would agree on this, but it's a matter of how it's done. Cutting/gutting social programs, the EPA, OSHA, etc. and leaving the military and intelligence budgets untouched, or actually raising them further, as with point six, sounds like a Tea Party policy. One could say, war prioritized over peace, like the Orwellian motto, "war is peace."
"8. Deficit spending must end."
Another issue people could agree on, but, once again, it's a matter of what is prioritized, as with point seven. If Tea Partiers voted for George W. Bush Jr. for president, and yet they want to end the deficit, it's a crazy contradiction. Under the Bush Jr. administration, the deficit reached record highs, with an "orgy" of borrowing and spending.
Starting with a surplus of $27 billion inherited from the Clinton administration, Bush Jr.'s administration started and continued running up an increasing deficit each year until 2008, the end of Bush Jr.'s second term with a loss of $-459 billion. (www.davemanuel.com) Barack Obama inherited the Bush Jr. deficit, where by 2009, it totaled $1.4 trillion. (Murse, "10 Biggest Budget Deficits, www.about.com)
Looking at points 6 - 8, Tea Party goals, and how they would be potentially implemented in relation to government practices, wouldn't be ethical or efficient.
"9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal."
What "commoner" wouldn't agree on this? President Obama talked of protecting Main Street against Wall Street in his 2008 presidential campaign. But that quickly evaporated when his economic advisor Larry Summers headed the efforts for a bailout (Bush Jr.'s administration contributing before that) for Wall Street, the banks, etc. If corporate/banking/investing behemoths build up private monopolies, while decrying government interference in those monopolies, then government shouldn't bail them out when a recession, or even a depression, strikes.
Bail out Main Street. Do Tea Partiers agree with this? Or do they adhere to the GOP economic agenda? Probably the latter. However, given the loose association of Tea Party chapters, there could be disagreement on this issue.
"10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must."
The working class pays the vast majority of income tax. Corporations are further down the list. It should be the opposite. But Tea Partiers think that the rich would be treated unfairly. No. Tax loopholes and offshore tax havens provide the rich ways of not paying the taxes they should pay, thus, stealing money from U.S. taxpayers.
A flat tax has been favored by the right, but an across-the-board tax percentage would not work since there is gross economic inequality. The 1% already have an advantage. A flat tax would give them more of one.
Part 3 will present the last five beliefs of this Tea Party agenda.
David Starr writes on social and political issues, both national and international.