Tax Analysts Blog

Tea Party Trash

Posted on Aug 9, 2010

Here is the formula: Somebody in the Obama Administration once said X. This reveals the true nature of the Obama agenda to destroy the Constitution and take away our freedom. This is a fundamental threat to our way of life and we should be extremely angry.

As bad as this tripe is, it is less grating than that publicly-financed, donor supported, commercially-sponsored nerd drone from NPR. Doesn't anybody in that organization realize or care how out of touch they are with regular working people? I think the biggest mistake liberals and Democrats make is assuming that because they are for redistribution of wealth they somehow get an automatic free pass on winning the populist vote. The cultural tone of conservative talk radio is calculatedly working class. And so it has a huge--often insurmountable-- head start on the libs in capturing the hearts and minds of middle America.

Why do I say talk radio is "unintelligent"? Because there are unending calls for tax cuts and lower deficits (and sometimes even balanced-budgets). Logically this is impossible without draconian spending cuts in the order of magnitude of $500 billion to $1 trillion per year. When they are spelled out--massive cuts in military, space exploration, Medicare, and Social Security--only a few guys living in cabins in Idaho really would want them. At any rate, they are an absolute political impossibility. We must reduce our deficit. A long-term deficit reduction package that includes major tax increases is the only responsible course of action.

"Unintelligent," part II. Tea partiers and talk radio hosts repeatedly make economic assertions like "the stimulus did not work" and "only tax cuts will promote economic growth." These, especially the first, are by no means sure bets. Challenge: If tax cuts are so wonderful, why don't we just cut everybody's taxes in half?

Why do I say talk radio is "mean-spirited"? Tea partiers and the like seem to have zero appetite for compromise. And, by exaggerating the threat of their political opponents, they stir up our natural response to threats: fear and hostility. Many feel pure hatred is justified because the Left is evil. It would be much better for the nation if Tea Partiers vigorously defended their ideas, but from time to time had a willingness to compromise in recognition of the reality that not everybody shares their views.

By no means do Tea Partiers and their unofficial spokespeople have a monoply on slippery facts and stirring up emotion for political advantage. But they do seem to be pushing this art form to levels not seen since the Cold War.

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