'Tea party' founder: Why our movement will succeed -- and why it's good for America
A cofounder of the St. Louis Tea Party lays out his vision for a better America.
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The tea party movement is most closely associated with anger over bailouts, taxes, spending, and debt. But the financial problems our government faces are symptoms of the problems addressed earlier. Reducing the government’s onerous and unsustainable spending is both an objective and a consequence of the changes above.Skip to next paragraph
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In 1949, federal spending equaled 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP); in 2009, the government spent 25 percent of GDP, a 70 percent increase. According to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2019, the national debt will equal 90 percent of GDP, a tipping point associated with harmfully slower economic growth, according to economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. We aim to stop that.
Outside of defense spending, the three largest items in the federal budget – Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – would be phased out unless proponents could muster support for a constitutional amendment. These extra-constitutional programs amount to massive Ponzi schemes that fall apart without significant population growth. I would propose phasing these programs out by age, with anyone at or near retirement receiving full benefits. We want to keep the previous generation’s promise to retirees, even if that promise was illegitimate.
For you, this change means a more secure financial future, a better education for your kids, and more predictable retirement. Eventually, your federal tax burden would ease significantly. Reduced federal spending will reduce the annual budget deficits and allow us to begin paying down our nation’s massive debt.
Since 2008, the American people have paid off more personal debt than we’ve taken on. It’s time for government to apply this simple practice of household finance.
While I don’t pretend to speak for all tea partyers, I believe these reforms represent a common theme among the various factions that make up the larger tea party movement. These themes – increased personal power, a smaller federal government, fiscal responsibility, and lower taxes – carry a lot of power in the American psyche.
As tea partyers learn to translate passion and energy into electoral success this fall, we will stop and reverse our country’s recent sprint toward socialism – a sprint never authorized by the Constitution. These principles will result in some victories in 2010 and even more success in 2012 and beyond.
To ensure victory in the fall, we have formed our own political action committees and political nonprofits. These organizations give grass-roots conservatives a stronger voice in the political process.
These teams will deliver a simple message and a copy of the United States Constitution, asking the people they visit to read that document and decide for themselves whether or not our government is protecting or infringing on our rights and our national promise.
Finally, I know the tea party movement will succeed because of the people who support it. When my cofounder, Dana Loesch, and I planned the first St. Louis tea party in February 2009, we hoped for a crowd of 50.
To our delight, more than 1,000 patriots filled the steps of the Gateway Arch on the banks of the Mississippi. Since then, the people of this tea party have continued to organize, influence, and grow.
Together, we are simply pilgrims on the road to that Shining City on a Hill, and we will not rest until we get there.