If Republicans are going to oppose the political elite who think they know best, they have to learn how to answer questions like the one David Gregory asked Michele Bachmann when she said she was representing the public's desire to not raise the debt ceiling. Gregory asked a pertinent question to the effect that shouldn't representatives have to make decisions for the public rather than simply follow their commands? Representatives who are following the public desire to keep the government from driving us into unsustainable debt are being of service to the nation and acting correctly -- however, if the public wants the government to drain the rich and redistribute the wealth, then, representatives should protect our property rights and stop the government from acting unconstitutionally. The same goes if the public demanded we discriminate against any group of people and fail to provide equal protection under the law -- representatives should say no.
Entries in debt ceiling (33)
Government is prone to starting wars for all kinds of reasons, to save us from terrorists, to stop illegal drug sales, to end poverty, and, now, to save the country from rightwing terrorists/hostage takers/extremists/loons/racists/homophobes/xenophobes -- yes, The War on Tea Partiers.
The vicious rhetoric on the Left used to marginalize the Tea Party is sometimes infuriating, sometimes hilarious and always hyperbolic and unfair. Anyone who has listened to Tea Party members being interviewed on one of the tv news shows realizes that these people are average Americans concerned with expansion of government power and our national debt. There is also rhetoric coming from some Tea Partiers that harshly criticizes the Left, but the Tea Party is not backed by the State and the media. The Tea Party is hardly radical, though. There has been no violent activity on the part of the Tea Party, no calls for armed conflict with government, not even any calls to dismantle government -- the Tea Party has merely protested current government spending and regulation, and it has campaigned for representatives who will bring their complaints to DC and work for change. It goes without saying that no one has to agree with their complaints, just as many have never agreed with other protest groups and political movements in America, but they're all within in their rights to protest and work for political and economic change.
In the debt ceiling fight, the Tea Party favored some form of Cut, Cap and Balance, but they didn't get it; however, most of the media coverage has framed the Tea Party as controlling the outcome. This media angle is truly bizarre. A record rise in the debt ceiling came about, with some useless commission put together to block any serious cuts of caps or balanced budget, and the media says the Tea Party hi-jacked and controlled the process and outcome -- many disingenuously congratulated them on their victory. There was no Tea Party victory.
It's fairly easy to see the State/media Orwellian twist, spin and propaganda -- create an evil entity on which to focus, then mold public opinion against the evil entity, obscuring the statist manipulations that continue to drive us further into debt and closer to collapse. The progressive movement thrives off crises -- it's the best way to ram through the progressive agenda. If the Tea Party, and by association the Republican Party, can be demonized and framed as immediate threats to our economy and to social justice, then government interventions are necessary to combat the threat. If the Tea Party is threatening the safety net and putting the most vulnerable in society at risk, and if their unreasonable rightwing extremism contributes to high unemployment by resisting government spending in recession, then the threat has to be neutralized so that people receive the necessary assistance, and jobs can be created. The Left has used the Bushian claim that you are either with the benevolent State or you are against it, and many establishment Republicans are siding with the State. Alan Simpson called for government investigation of Grover Norquist, or rather Simpson is advocating bullying tactics to silence and marginalize Norquist by investigating his connections, his backers, his credibility, and so forth.
It was discouraging to watch the establishment Republicans, one by one, capitulate to the Left's War on the Tea Party and come out against them during the debt ceiling debate. This should frighten independents who want change in Washington DC. It should frighten minorities who could see the State use its power against their political action efforts one day. It should frighten all free people who cherish the right to dissent. It should frighten all Americans who care about objectivity and truth in media. The media have lied and used their power, subsidized by the State, to destroy the Tea Party.
Again, you can disagree with the Tea Party, but there's no honest way to support the statist, propagandist attacks against them. In the marketplace of ideas, America has mostly been an oasis for freedom of expression, even harsh expression and disagreement, and open debate, but we're turning into China or Russia when State power and media collusion are used to silence and demonize dissenters and political activists. This is the difference, when the State is involved. You can call tit for tat when both sides use heated rhetoric against one another, but when government. media and the whole State machine comes down against a faction of dissenting American citizens in the private sector, we've got a problem.
The Morning Joe crowd should be put on suicide alert -- they made themselves depressed with all the news reflecting statist failure. Scarborough has the 3 step answer, though -- make billionaires pay the same rate of taxes as their secretaries, end the wars and deal with long term debt issues. In order to make billionaires pay the same tax rate as their secretaries, government would need to raise the capital gains tax, or lower income tax to the current capital gains rate -- I choose the second, but I'm assuming Scarborough means the first option. Scarborough really doesn't mean we should raise the capital gains tax rate, he's just talking and not considering that billionaires mostly pay capital gains tax -- it's a confused populist message aimed at stirring up resentment toward the rich. It sounds good to imply that billionaires are somehow getting a break that no one else gets, but this isn't typically the case -- it's just that billionaires don't receive a paycheck each week with income taxes taken out.
I agree with Scarborough that we need to end the wars, but that's in the works already -- we have to to go further and develope a non-interventionist doctrine which keeps us out of places like Libya, Yemen, Pakistan and all the other nations where we interfere. We should also close all the military bases around the world and announce our retirement as Global Cops.
Addressing long term debt is a very good idea -- this means reforming entitlements. Rick Stengel was on from Times Mag, and he was praising an ariticle written by Fareed Zakaria in which Zakaria does his international dissing of America, making fun of the American people who "want Big Government and low taxes". Entitlements in America were designed and enforced by politicans a long time ago, and money has been forcefully taken out of the paychecks of workers -- then Big Government spent way more than it's taken in. To blame the American people for this is a tad condescending and arrogant. Actually, people don't want Big Government, but if they are forced to pay into a government program that promises benefits for paying in, then, yes, people expect the promises to be kept.
So, how do you deal with entitlements? Currently, the Democrats are only dealing with Medicaid and Medicare by cutting what healthcare providers can receive -- price control. This never works, and it will create a situation where in order for Obamacare to work, government will have to take on complete control of healthcare. Scarborough surely rejects privatizing the healthcare industry and the entire welfare state, but aside from privatization, nothing will work in the political realm, and the consequences of intervention will lead to more government control and more money extracted from the private realm.
Rick Stengel and Harold Ford said a big problem is that a minority of extremists in government, the Tea Party reps, guided the whole debt ceiling battle, and that these extremists are dangerous to America. Ford said that the TP reps will lose in the next election. Mika, to her credit, said that the TP reps didn't hold a gun to anyone's head, and they are backed by their constituents. Actually, all of them are wrong, because the premise is wrong. The TP reps didn't get what they wanted -- the status quo establishment types got what they wanted -- a bill that does nothing but raise the debt ceiling by a record amount. This on Morning Joe is what passes as political analysis -- spin, obscurantism and the attempt to marginalize the one group in DC with integrity, the TP, limited government reps. Incredible.
Underneath the dishonesty of the Morning Joe participants, practically all from the Left and center, though, is a depressing realization that statism is failing, but this is what they can't admit.
On Morning Joe today there was more political incoherence following yesterday's show with its political incoherence. Mark Halperin was back, and he tried to provide a little rational political analysis, but it appears that the Tea Party, limited government conservatives and libertarians have muddled the thinking of many in the political class, especially the host of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough. Scarborough said that Obama should have stared down the Tea Partiers and used the 14th Amendment route to break the back of the Tea Party -- remember that Scarborough said that Obama should have done this.
When Scarborough has been criticized in the past for saying things like this, he's condescendingly explained that he's a political analyst, and that the Cheeto-eating bloggers in their underwear should understand that it's not necessarily his personal political belief. So, let's ask, from a political analysis perspective, why Obama should have gone the 14th Amendment route and broken the back of the Tea Party. I suppose from a very limited political advantage perspective, if Scarborough is right, which Halperin said he isn't right, and I don't think he's right, taking the 14th Amendment route would please the independents and the Democrat base, therefore giving Obama more street cred with the public, except for the "Tea Party" faction which would be marginalized. But would this be good for the country? Should Obama have ignored the separation of powers and further expanded executive powers through this power grab? Would independents think more highly of Obama for using the 14th Amendment and bypassing all attempts to limit spending?
Later in the program, a chart was shown regarding increased spending way above current revenue with the trend going higher and higher in the next decade. Scarborough, and all the regulars and guests, were depressed by the projections, and it was stated that if we don't do anything, we're headed for disaster. The public knows this too -- independents know this. So, again, I ask, should Obama have used the 14th Amendment to bypass any attempts to deal with the debt crisis, expand executive power, thereby weakening the representatives who are the only ones right now who can do anything to limit government power and spending? Independents would think that this is a good thing?
Scarborough, and most liberals and moderates, are incoherent. On one hand, they say we need to ignore deficits in a recession and spend more on infrastructure and job creation, then on the other hand, they see that all Bush's spending and stimuli, and all Obama's spending and stimuli have done nothing but put us hopelessly further in debt and caused businesses in America to freeze in their tracks because they don't know what's coming next. The incredible consensus among the Morning Joe crew was that this decade of heated Keynesian activity has been necessary to prevent things from being worse -- and now we need more spending and stimuli! How freaking insane are these people?
The Tea Party, limited government movement threatens political class players like Joe Scarborough, because the Tea Partiers are signaling the failure of statism, and the political class is frightened of a truly free market -- it puts them at risk of losing their niche in the ever expanding and powerful State machine. This is the debate -- continued government intervention and stimulus efforts, or remove government from the economy and allow a free market to adjust and start growing through productive activity. We had better decide soon, before these idiots in the politcal class completely destroy the country just to protect the status quo in DC.