If you’re wondering about the wish list of policies behind the Tea Party rhetoric, ponder these snapshot examples of the positions of two newly-elected, Tea Party-supported Members of Congress, drawn from an Associated Press piece by Charles Babington (link here, via Yahoo! News).
Save the rich, punish the unemployed
Here’s the economic platform of first-term GOP Representative Allen West of Florida:
In southeast Florida last week, first-term GOP Rep. Allen West, a tea party favorite, called for changes that some might consider radical: abolish the Internal Revenue Service and federal income tax; retain tax cuts for billionaires so they won’t shut down their charities; stop extending unemployment benefits that “reward bad behavior” by discouraging people from seeking new jobs.
Does this Congressional newbie not understand that we simply don’t have enough good jobs (i.e., those that pay a living wage) to go around? Does he realize that tax rates on the wealthy already have plummeted from their high point during the post-WWII era, when America’s economy happened to be at its zenith?
Hey, let’s stop brainwashing these kids!
Another first-term GOP Representative, Trey Gowdy, sees sinister things being taught in our schools:
According to a Greenville News account posted on his website, Gowdy “described a recent school classroom where most children indicated they think it’s the government’s job to provide health care, Social Security and education. ‘We’ve got to do something about the sense of entitlement,’ Gowdy said.”
OK, I get the debate over government-sponsored health care, but this guy is suggesting that public education somehow is wrong???
America, meet your deep end
This is a very different Republican Party than the one that once hosted the likes of Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon, Representative John Anderson of Illinois, and — going further back — Governor Robert LaFollette Sr. of Wisconsin.
We are dealing with folks who want to take us back to the 19th century, and that’s no exaggeration. Voters are electing extremists who want to do away with the very safety net that many of them would want to access if they found themselves facing hard times. They are empowering those who want to eliminate retirement and disability benefits and to privatize education.
The Tea Party folks are pushing the GOP off the deep end, and I’m afraid they’re willing to take a lot of everyday Americans with them.