Tea Bag Politics

By Mark David Blum, Esq.

Everybody who knows me and who follows my writings is well aware that I am not a Republican nor one of their country cousins, a conservative. I voted for President Obama in the last election and advocated heatedly against Republican policies and actions. My last President and his Administration, in my opinion, are criminals and deserving of prison sentences. At the same time, I am among the millieu of Americans who supported the Tax day Tea Parties.

From the shrill catcalls of CNN to the hallowed halls of Congress, the tax day tea protests have been summarily dismissed. Called crackpots and extremists, government and left wing media consider the nationwide protests to be a joke. Apparently, those in government missed the point completely.

The protest was not about supporting Faux News. We were not standing in support of Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Bill OíReilly. The gatherings and shouts were not about right wing agendas, right wing militias, or reactionary response to a Democrat in the White House.

The People are angry. We are angry about the size and scope of government. Protestors argued against taxes and taxes and more taxes. I understand that the current state of the economy may call for an infusion of money into the markets to get them working again. I am more than willing to give my President the benefit of the doubt on his stimulus package. It is the unnecessary and unreasonable spending that so fuels the Peopleís ire. It is not the stimulus package but rather the budget itself that calls for protest.

What anchored the protests is the overall size of the government itself. Our federal government has become a behemoth of monstrous proportions. The national government has grown so large that it requires more than $4 Trillion to manage. The cost of our federal government is greater than the tax receipts from over 300,000,000 people. Protestors argue that taxes are too high. They are right.

Taxes are too high because we are funding a government that is too large. Perhaps my President would have more legitimacy in his efforts if at the same time as he is pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into a decayed economy, he was slashing the size of the federal government. If at the same time he was spending to encourage new industries, the President was gutting existing programs and agencies, perhaps I would be more supportive.

Just some examples: The forty year War on Drugs costs us tens of billions of dollars each year. It has no exit strategy and no actual goal. The Department of Education is a Cabinet level agency that has no place in our nation. Education is a State and local issue. But at the federal level, there is a massive agency with appointees, hirees, and a budget; all of which is unnecessary. In the 1970ís in response to the Arab Oil Embargo, the Department of Energy was another Cabinet level agency created solely to find alternatives to foreign oil dependency. Now, nearly forty years later, the Agency is a colossal failure at its primary mission. Yet it too has appointees, hirees, and an established bureaucracy the feeds off the taxpayer. The same can be said of dozens and dozens of Agencies within the federal system. Government has grown beyond its means and operates way outside the parameters of the Constitutionís limitations.

My President has failed to address the federal largesse in his tax and spend policies. Rather than shrink the federal government, he is appointing new Czars every day. Each new agency comes riddled with its own appointees, hirees, and budget. So grows the federal demand for taxes.

I donít mind paying taxes. It is expected of me as a member of society and where I share in the benefits of participating in this nation. But my taxes are not tied to matters for which the federal government was created. Instead, they are feeding the largest employer in the nation and there is no end in sight. It appears that the federal government is just going to keep on growing in size and cost.

Here in New York, there is a great uproar about several thousand state workers being laid off from their jobs due to budgetary constraints. My heart goes out to the unemployed and I know those families are in for some hard times. But I support the lay offs because I support smaller government. The goal of government should be to minimalize itself. Government should not be grown to epic proportions and should not be supported when it involves itself in matters that are not within itsí purview.

Our nationís Constitution creates a federal government whose sole role is to act as a buffer in interstate disputes. The Constitution delegates to the federal government the task of providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty throughout the land. In its current form, the federal government has grown way too large, has involved itself in areas far beyond its intended role, and constantly feels the obligation to enlarge its workforce and budgetary requirements. American taxpayers are teabagged in the process.

This is the reason so many rose up on April 15 and the reason why there is so much latent anger. You do not have to be a fiscal conservative or right wing reactionary Republican to see that the federal government needs to shrink down in size. One does not have to drink the Limbaugh or OíReilly kool-aid to recognize that the federal bureaucracy is out of control. Americans have had it and are angry and frustrated at largesse which demands to be fed by the fruits of our own hard labors.

It is a fundamental principle in organizational sociology that once created, the goal of an organization is to sustain and grow the organization. This is the principle at play in Washington. Once created, federal agencies do not disappear. They are not disbanded. Rather, their numbers of employees grow year to year and their demands on the budget grow year to year. Eventually they become so embedded in the structure of government, that the mere thought of doing away with these agencies seems almost sinful.

But this is why we protest. We wish our President well and wish his ideas all the success possible. But there is a strong stench of hypocrisy when lavishing hundreds of billions of dollars upon private corporations and demanding change from within, while refusing to demand change from within the federal government. This is what we protest.

Those government employees, elected legislators, government employees and their media mouthpieces who mock the Tea protests do so at their own risk. Americans want the spending to stop. They want smaller government, more responsive government, and an end to the pillaging and rape of the American taxpayerís income.

These are the reasons we protest. These are the issues that must be heard. Ignore the Peopleís anger at your own risk. It is not just Chrysler and AIG that have to change. We look to our current President and demand he live up to his campaign promise: ďChange we can believe inĒ. Let me say, show us President Obama. Show us something we can believe in. Show us real change has come to Washington. Right now, all we see is more spending, more growth of government, and no real relief in sight.

A national debt in the tens of trillions of dollars is a national disgrace. It matters not who is to blame. What matters most is that the bleeding be stopped. That takes leadership. I look to my President to show that leadership and significantly reduce the size of the federal government. Until that change comes about, the protests will get louder and the numbers will grow. This is not about right or left, conservative or liberal. It is about being American and looking to our history for solutions for the future.

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