Tea Party Movement…Or Is It

by futureatlas.com
“We don’t want our children to have this burden of debt!” “Stop the spending!” Similar chants have been heard all across the United States as a reaction to America’s debt crisis. The cries come from citizens who seem to have organized themselves as a grassroots movement for Washington to take seriously. However, if one peers behind the curtain, just like in Oz, we glimpse the real manipulators of the so-called Tea Party movement: billionaires the likes of the Koch Brothers, Fox News, and right wing political organizations such as FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.

It would seem that the Tea Party was not initiated from the bottom up, but rather from the top down by those in power who knew how to rally the lower and middle class people drowning in the recession. These forces had the resources to raise the GOP to the majority in the House of Reps while standing on the backs of the laymen to do it.

No matter what the intentions were when it began, the party has been linked to statements of racism, bigotry, and other hateful slogans, some even going so far as drawing a Hitler-style moustache on Obama. Spreading hate is not how a grassroots movement behaves.

By C Bellus via Flickr

If it is the rising debt and excessive spending that is riling this party, where were their shouts of opposition in the eight years of the previous administration, when America’s surplus dropped to the low point? It’s as if the former administration went on vacation and used America’s credit card to pay for it. Now the current administration (and the rest of America) is stuck with the bill.

by Ashour talk via Flickr

And we can’t forget one of the biggest issues of the party—taxes. The Tea Party named itself after the Boston Tea Party event, which is ironic because the riots that surged from that notorious event were not about taxes, in general, but being taxed by a body that did not represent the people—the British Parliament. America’s representatives in Congress do (or at least are supposed to) represent the people, and a progressive tax is a viable economic way for the government to bring in revenue. As Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations: “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.” Over 80 percent of US economists are in support of progressive taxation.

Movements like suffrage, civil rights and even gay rights progressed from grassroots organization with strong leadership. The Tea Party can call itself a movement, but with its questionable tactics that seem to exclude rather than include, it appears to be moving backward rather than forward.