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The Tea Party Economically Shot Themselves in the Face by Electing a Republican House

November 11, 2010

Incredible as it may seem, the Tea Party’s most notable accomplishment in the recent mid-terms has been, sadly, to insure a lifetime of middle and lower middle class existences for them, their children and their grandchildren.

I guess you do have to hand it to the Tea Party. They successfully delivered a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. As a result, the country now looks ahead to see how they will govern with a critical eye being on what they will do differently compared to what took place over the past two years. Let’s face it, if the electorate hands the House keys to the GOP it obviously means they believe a new cast of characters and a different majority power will bring different results.

The first battle line of the new dynamic in Washington appears to be over the Bush tax cuts that are scheduled to expire at the end of this year, primarily those that will impact the the richest 1% to 2% of all Americans. And, if we’re to believe what the Republican leadership is saying already, it appears that instead of focusing on spending and deficit reduction, which is what all the hysterical screaming seemed to be about from the Tea Party, the focus for the newly minted Republicans and their seasoned colleagues in Washington will be insuring that the wealthiest among us do not suffer a diminishment in their already robust bank accounts due to higher taxes.

Now, to understand where we are when it comes to the distribution of wealth in the U.S., it is helpful to look at what the top 1% or 2% of the wealthiest Americans, those that are the focus of the fight over extending the tax cuts, represent in terms of the total wealth in this country, and how that compares to other segments of our society.

In a recent article in the NY Times by Nicholas Kristof, he points out that “the richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976.” He also notes that “C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001,” and that “from 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent”.So I guess it would be fair to say that as opposed to things getting worse for the wealthiest Americans in the recent downturn, the truth is that through both good and bad economic cycles, the rich did OK.

And why is it that the rich have prospered regardless of the economic pains suffered by the vast majority of Americans other than the top 1%? Well, that is a subject that is oft debated in the U.S. by politicians and pundits, and they all act like it is some extremely complex issue that defies an easy explanation. However, for those outside the U.S who can look at our country and our politics with an objective eye, it is anything but complicated. Just look at how Johann Hari of the British newspaper The Independent recently described the current leadeship of the Republican Party in straightforward, easy to understand, and damning terms…

John Boehner came from a poor family of twelve children, and heroically worked three jobs (including as a janitor) to put himself through business school. But when he got to elected office, it turned out that there was alot more money to be reaped from serving the interests of rich people than serving the people he came from. He took money from the insurance companies, and voted to deny healthcare coverage to sick children and to the people who hurried to the World Trade Centre on 9/11 to try to dig people from the wreckage, exposing them to deadly toxins. He took money from defense contractors, and supported every war going. He tirelessly champions the overdog, while hoovering up their cash and flying on their private jets to some of the most luxury resorts in the world.

In the campaign, Boehner said his priority was to “stand up for ordinary Americans” against “the elite”, and to “cut the deficit as a matter of urgency.” So what has been his first priority as Speaker? To fight furiously to keep the gigantic Bush tax cuts for the elite richest two percent of Americans, even though this alone will add two trillion dollars to the deficit over the next decade. It’s very revealing. He immediately dumps on his propaganda causes – ordinary Americans, and the deficit – while slavishly serving his one true cause: serving the interests of rich people like the ones who happen to pay for his campaigns and his jaunts.

So there you have it, a plain spoken and straight forward look at what is, and has been going on. No confusion over whether or not ending the tax cuts for the wealthy is really a socialist plot, will cause destruction of the free enterprise system, will guarantee the demise of small or medium or big business, and none of the other crap the Republican leadership and the Sunday talk show pundits throw around to obfuscate what is really going on and what the real truth is; namely that Republican control of the government and the economy for most of the last quarter century has allowed them to actively and intentionally redistribute the wealth of the country, all the while promoting an image of being fiscally conservative guardians of the common man.

So now, as Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana. And now that Republicans have regained power in at least one legislative branch, the prospects are that this inequality will only get worse, as their stated opposition to the repeal of the tax cuts for the richest 1% of Americans suggests.

One can only hope that the Americans who abandoned Obama and the Democratic Party in 2010 are going to pay attention so something can be done to reverse the disaster that will be Repulican governance over the next two years, governance that has already started based on the recent capitulation of the White House on the Bush Tax cuts as reported in the Huffington Post…

President Barack Obama’s top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers. That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week’s electoral defeat.

Of course, the tax relief afforded the average middle class American, around $1,132 for households with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000, is a pittance compared to the average of $17,500 in tax savings that people earning between $500,000 and $1 million get under the Bush tax cuts, or the roughly $100,000 average tax cut that households with more than $1 million in income receives.

So now this toxic Tea Party coalition, made up of people in varying degrees and numbers that…

  • Have been hoodwinked by corporate interests into thinking the government is the only evil to fear,
  • Have let irresponsible media voices frighten them into believing socialists are taking over the country,
  • Are convinced that immigrants are murdering our children and stealing our jobs,
  • Will buy into whatever wingnut conspiracy offered them from birthers to 9/11 being an inside job,
  • Can’t accept there is black man in the White House, or
  • Have an honest disagreement with Democratic policies and concerns over government spending,

…have put back in power the same people and the same party that not only contributed so much to the current
difficulties the country now finds itself in, but that will also certainly work to further increase the gap between the wealthy and average Americans like those in the Tea Party. Incredible as it may seem, the Tea Party’s most notable accomplishment in the recent mid-terms has been, sadly, to insure a lifetime of middle and lower middle class existences for them, their children and their grandchildren.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. jim permalink
    February 24, 2011 2:30 am

    Thee right side is not to make any suffer, curcumstances some are at less. yet they have more heart to give. Leftest lie and lead as long as your giving funds,time, efforts,others to control more than you will want guaranteed.

  2. November 16, 2010 11:34 am

    “So it’s obvious the Tea Party has no clue about what they have done to screw themselves by allowing their anger at Obama, and their desire for revenge over having a black man elected to the Presidency to put back in power the same people ”

    If you ever want to convince people like myself who identify with the tea party of our folly, branding us with ” a desire for revenge over having a black man elected to the Presidency” isn’t the way to go.

    How do you expect people to have an open mind when you brand them racists and every other nasty name under the sun? I’m really sick of the race card. I strongly dislike Obama’s policies. Am I a racist because of this? No, I’m not, and branding me such makes me strongly inclined to dismiss anything you have to say.

    • 2JaqE permalink
      February 15, 2011 12:37 pm

      I agree with armenia4ever that just because he does not agree with Obama’s policies thusfar, does not make him a racist. However, having been in social services for 20 some years, my experience tells me the following: IF one desires to cut programs for kids-in-poverty via school lunches, cut education for the disenfranchised, cut support services for low income seniors, or for those who are mentally disabled or physically disabled, then I can say without reservation that a* *Tin Man Without a Heart** would be more accurate.

      My suggestions: **Repeal the Sun Pac 1975-79**. QUOTE: “Experts on campaign finance law widely attribute this ruling with the emergence of PACs and the explosion in corporate political giving.” ( )

      Redefine a” corporation” (see “The Corporation” documentary).

      You want to Fix the Deficit? Then get our tax dollars back from TARP, and the top 1% aka antisocial vampires sucking dry our resources, & storing their treasures overseas. The belief in ” trickle-down job creation” is wishful thinking –a myth, people. It didn’t work under Reaganomics (justifiably noted as Voodoo Economics by Herbert Bush) and there is no guarantees or substance in theory that it could work. QUOTE: “However, in 2003, the Wall Street Journal declared the debate over the ability of supply-side economics to reduce taxes without cost has ended “with a whimper,” after extensive modeling performed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) failed to support that possibility.[2]”– WIKI on supply-side economics. It was all a ruse.

  3. Annamarie Miller permalink
    November 14, 2010 6:49 am

    Thank you for this well researched article. It will go a long distance with me in discussions with folks who are seeking to become informed.

  4. Carisa Silvesan permalink
    November 11, 2010 6:21 pm

    I personally do not want to be paid a certain amount because someone else is being paid the same. I would like to know the money I earn is because of my hard work and skills. I think most would agree that not all jobs are the same. Many of the people who make a lot have to pay for special insurances – legal, medical, employee health insurance, etc. Those costs do not sound as though they are being taken into consideration in the harsh comments here.

    • November 11, 2010 9:07 pm

      OK, so people making $1million a year need to have a tax break that is approximately $998,800 more than a family making $70,000 a year because they have higher insurance premiums, medical and legal?? Reality check…My wife and I now make close to a quarter million a year. 20 years ago we struggled making $50k a year. Trust me, my insurance, medical, legal bills have not gone up a whole hell of a lot. But I am driving Jag, living in a million dollar condo, and not worrying about getting the kids clothes for school.

      They’re handing us a load of bull crap about the rich having SOOOO much more to pay for because they’re wealthy. I ain’t rich compared to them, but I am compared to what I was, and the only real difference is I now have more to spend and spending more moeny is my choice because I have it. And yes, I pay a lot more in taxes than I used to which, BTW, I don’t mind because I have been a beneficiary of this country and this democracy, as evidenced by our growth in personal wealth. But we’ll never forget the STRUGGLE IT WAS RAISNG FIVE BOYS ON VERY LITTLE, all of whom have grown into fine adults. I pray that our efforts helped, but I will never forgot those who will struggle as we did, and if some of my tax dollars can provide help, along with assistance I am fortunate enough to be able to provide charities and benevolent organizations, that’s fine with. I’ll also do what I can through supporting legislation and governance that seeks to help the most vbulnerable among us.

      • Carisa Silvesan permalink
        November 12, 2010 10:01 am

        You do make a good point, however, all that money you spend at the store will be paying those small businesses more and if they have more demand, because people like you are spending more, they will need more help and/or more supplies/products. Therefore, they spend more on that and if people like you spend more in those stores then the companies may even give bonuses where they weren’t able to before.
        We are struggling right now but I donot expect anyone to bail us out. We get assistance when and where it is needed. We do not “feed” unnecessarily off the gov’t/taxpayer tab. I am almost done with my AA and will have some decent sized student loans. I will not make as much as a doctor, but then again a doctor has how much to pay back. If that doctor does not make what he needs to pay back the gov’t then the gov’t loses money and, in turn, that money is not available to help those who truly need the help.
        I admire people’s desire to want to help others, just don’t force everyone else into “charitable servitude”. I give and love giving, even with the little we have, but if this is a truly free country, it should be my choice when/who I give my money to. The politicians did not earn my monehy for me, therefore, they have no right to take it and use it as they wish.
        BTW, when we were on food stamps, my husband had to work overtime to pay a few bills and when the state found out, we were kicked off of food stamps. Our choices were then: 1. don’t work OT and live on gov’t assistance forever; or 2. Work OT and revamp our food budget to make it work. We chose the 2nd option and have never looked back.

      • November 12, 2010 11:08 am

        We were on food stamps once to. A god send at the time, but glad when we could get off them as well

    • Charles permalink
      November 12, 2010 11:56 am

      Carisa, E Gray is surely a more compassionate individual when it comes to family economics. You mention that making more money means you probably will spend more. That is to a point. When you make huge amounts, like amounts above $5 or $10 million a year, what else can you buy?

      The Bush tax cuts were sold on the concept they would improve the economy by allowing the super rich to create jobs. It hasn’t happened. We’ve only seen a greater economic divide between the top 1% and the rest of the country. Why would the rich take risks when they can put their money in a can under the porch and save it?

      The rich created jobs when the top marginal rate was 77-91% after WWII up to the 1970s. They did to create deductions from the top rate which benefited everyone.

      • Carisa Silvesan permalink
        November 12, 2010 3:17 pm

        I think you bring up some reasonable arguments. However, I think there needs to be discussion, as well, regarding policies that affected banks, markets (housing to mention one), etc. I am alluding to Fannie and Freddie. Who wrote those policies and why? I think there was and still is some serious hypocrisy going on with certain politicians and not all of them are dems and not all of them are elephants. lol I think the only way to truly get good people in there is for the voters to stop playing favorites, stop choosing parties, and start thinking about who they believe will do the best job – not who will fly their political party’s flag the highest. That is why a lot of these politicians were not re-elected. People got fed up with the BS and wanted some honesty and transparency.
        I have compassion for family economics. I am not denying that help is truly needed – been there, done that, may end up there again if gov’t doesn’t butt out soon. All I am saying is it is not right to punish every CEO in the country and put everyone down because a few made a mistake It is not right to place all the blame on wall street when Washington DC was just as much to blame. When companies get demonized and put on the chopping block (instead of charging the executive and actual criminals) every single employee goes with the ship – whether or not they were to blame. My husband use to work for WaMu and we did very well. He had nothing to do with the mortgage sector at all and yet we lost big time when the company went under. Therefore, I can honestly say I do understand and am compassionate because I am in the situation and am compassionate as to my own family’s needs.
        I find it ironic that conservatives like me are told over and over again to have an open mind, but when I have an argument I wish to state my opinion in there is little to no open-mindedness on the other end.
        I would like to say though that this is the least harsh and rude debate I have been in. I appreciate the lack of name calling and the courtesy and netiquette you both use. I think it provides for a more constructive and adult conversation. Those who name call, shout, and try to personally attack others should be ashamed of themselves and understand that they accomplish nothing.

    • 2JaqE permalink
      February 15, 2011 1:25 pm

      I have said that for years as a social worker. They work overtime, work hard and get paid maybe retail wages. Many social workers take jobs without health insurance. It is not uncommon for Masters level graduates receive pay less than teachers, nurses, Walmart Associate Managers (who may or may not have a degree) etc. Yet they are expected to update their skills, paying for CEU credits and state tests to verify their competency. No justice for social workers?….. don’t expect justice or empathy for the clients they serve.

      If you are bothered by name-calling and shouting, I can empathize. That is what many case managers and social workers do so often….& put up with it. Anger, my friend, needs an outlet. But with no where to alleviate it constructively in our political community, even the sane will lose their self-control.

      As you might already realize, the push for infighting amongst the proletariats is the very tool that keeps Americans from organizing and being proficient representatives for our interests. Look at Egypt. Their support for each other regardless of differences is not only admirable but a damn good lesson for us, as Americans. Low to middle income families have the same desire as disabled Americans on SSI. Financial security and health care. Let’s trying to find empathy for each other instead of rendering our power impotent by following the likes of Glenn Beck, R Limbaugh and other Hate Gurus or extremists.

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