Ruminations

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Name: Dave Leigh
Location: Union, South Carolina, United States

I was born too young. And when I die, I'll still be too young.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Parties: Obama Doesn't Get It.

(Oy veh. I tried posting on this topic on the 15th and Blogger lost it during the post. Did I mention I hate web apps? Well, I do.)

On "Tax Day", April 15th, 2009, thousands of Americans turned out to protest at hundreds of "tea parties" across the country. Sadly, the President doesn't even begin to understand the nature of these protests or what the country wants. He thinks it's a motivated by selfishness. Says White House press secretary Robert Gibbs:

"If anybody involved looks at the facts, they'll find out that this president promised and this president delivered on putting more money back into the pockets of hardworking Americans, cut their taxes, made it more affordable to buy a home, made it more affordable to send their kids to go to college, provided tax incentives for businesses to create jobs through things like clean energy," Gibbs told reporters during an afternoon press conference.

Says David Axelrod, a top Obama advisor:

"The thing that bewilders me is this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. So I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere because he certainly understands the burden that people face."

Yes, bewildered. This is unsurprising from a crowd who's entire modus operandi is to pander and bribe their constituencies. The very same day that these people took to the streets to protest, the President reminded the masses that he was "giving" them that which belonged to them in the first place.

Bribes and pandering.

But here's a clue: it's not about higher taxes (though that's a part of it). It's not about a complicated tax code (though it could be simpler). It's about the way our taxes are spent.

Here's someone who gets it. My governor, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, has turned down $700 million in Federal stimulus money. Why? Because it commits the state to continue spending at levels that it cannot afford once the stimulus money is gone and Obama himself is long gone. The money comes with strings that saddle the state with long-term financial ruin.

This isn't a new thing... we've seen this before. Just in my neck of the woods, in Union County, the town of Carlisle used to have only one police officer. Just one, but in a town of a few hundred people that's all you need. In the mid-90s, Bill Clinton promised to put 100,000 new cops on the streets of America, and to fund them for three years. Carlisle took the money. However, the legislation required the town to continue the funding afterwards. Today, Carlisle has no police officers: their budget was broken. And this isn't something that just happened here... here are some other folks that remember the experience and have no wish to repeat it.

This administration just committed to trillions of dollars of spending, much of which -- most of which -- is unnecessary. Over 800 billion spent without accountability. Banks forced to accept "bailout" money when they're profitable. (Keep in mind when reading the linked story that stock prices and profitability are completely different things. Everybody's stock prices are down from last year.) The Federal government telling private businesses who they must fire. Handing automakers "bailouts" which do nothing to improve the sustainability of the automakers, but everything to preserve the outrageous costs imposed by their UAW contracts. Revising these contracts will absolutely require bankruptcy proceedings, meaning the only thing the "bailout" has done is evaporate $17 billion... GM and Chrysler will go bankrupt anyway. Meanwhile, Ford refused the Federal money and slashed costs and re-negotiated union contracts on their own. There is no irony in the fact that the only automaker to refuse government bailout dollars is the only one to show positive results.

Let us not forget that this whole financial mess began with the housing market, and it began with the government mandating those stupid high-risk loans in the first place. That would be the Clinton administration, by the way. Look it up... it's Public Law 106-554.

If you've been paying attention at all, you know this: it's not paying out taxes that we're protesting. It's the piss-poor stupid uses to which those taxes are put. It's the fact that in an epic display of hubris, Obama plans to do everything at once without the pesky annoyances of budgeting and planning. It's the fact that he has put the future of every American at risk for decades, and it only took him one fiscal quarter to do it. It's the fact that politicians of all stripes have been perpetuating this irresponsible behavior for years. Nevertheless, our President and his advisors are "bewildered" by the protests. They think we want more freebies and gimmees, and plot to steal ever more money from our employers to hand it out, rather than creating the conditions by which we can earn vastly more.

There is no reason for such ignorance. Perhaps if our "representatives" actually watched the coverage and listened to the participants had to say, then they wouldn't be so bewildered. Perhaps if the other networks had seriously covered the events instead of making fun of the participants then they wouldn't be upstaged by bloggers. As it is, the only people who are surprised by this are people who are completely out of touch with the heart and soul of America. If, as Nancy Pelosi believes, the tea parties are orchestrated by Fox News, then she's in serious trouble, as Fox's ratings clearly show. She should be quivering, and I'm 100% certain that privately she is. The tea parties aren't going away. Mid-term elections are in 2010, and anyone who desires re-election has a simple choice: oppose this course of reckless spending or be voted out of office. We have had a taste of Obama's "change", and it sucks.