I had the opportunity to sit through a town hall meeting on Taxation and Tea Parties last week. The goal was to have a discussion on how the Tea Party is affecting this country – for better or for worse. There was an excellent panel – a young city commissioner, a professor and member of the left LeRoy Collins Institute, a member of the right leaning James Madison Institute and a gentleman from the Florida Tax Watch.
They had many interesting points. On the left there was the view that the tea party is dangerous because there is no leader and because republican politicians are not willing to get involved and lead, but they are willing to exploit the movement to their advantage and even egg-on the growing negativity and fear. On the right you had the view that this party was desperately needed to speak ‘for the people.’ And in the middle you had someone who had the idea that at some point, you just can’t keep complaining without proposed solutions or you are part of the problem.
Of course, the health care debate was a hot and timely topic. Our city commissioner, shared his own personal story of having hard working parents (who obviously raised their children proper as they are deeply active in the community and intellectuals to boot), yet, spent most of his life going to the emergency room for health care because they could not afford insurance. He brought up the point that health care was not just about equality (which it is) but that it was also a moral issue that was a repetitive theme in both the old and new testament.
I thought the gentleman from the James Madison Institute’s response was fascinating. First he attacked the failures of the US Government – the post office, amtrak and a few obscure others that I have since forgotten. Then he stated that morality was not taking money from people – but that morality was really about liberty.
Is now the best time to point out the failures of government when the government is the only institution these past 3 years that has kept industries from automobiles to banking afloat? Would there be any construction work that happened in 2009 without the stimulus money? From General Motors, Delta, American Airlines to AIG, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, I think we have seen our fair share of private disasters. And how quickly we forget the big bonuses paid out with tax payers dollars
How can you claim liberty when the top 1% own more wealth than the bottom 95% combined. This is not liberty, this is quite possibly the largest oligarchy – (or plutocracy, I haven’t decided yet) in history. As a marketer, I want to know how the right has pulled off the biggest hoax ever. They have convinced ~48% of American’s that they are wealthy. It’s brilliant really, when you think about it. Liberty and freedom come with wealth. And in case you haven’t kept up with economics or statistics – American’s wages have not increased since the early 1970’s while the cost of everything from cars to houses to health insurance has sky rocketed. Oh wait, real wages did increase ever so slightly in the year 1993 – under the democratic president Bill Clinton. And, the economy fairs better under democratic presidents. Even Rupert Murdoch’s “fair and balanced” newspaper claims that the stock market has performed better under liberals. And despite what Glen Beck tells you – on his opinion show – taxes have been declining for the wealthy for quite some time.
So America, please remember – 43. Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free. And freedom is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Rachelle – who is now stepping off the soap box