Why Were Republicans Silent During The Bush Years?

Republicans were largely silent during the Bush Administration as spending went out of control. Will they do that again?

Daniel Larison points out a fact of history that many Republicans would prefer not to acknowledge:

It occurred to me earlier this week that I couldn’t recall anything like the outrage over the tax deal after Bush and his allies forced the prescription drug benefit through Congress. In terms of the damage it did to the long-term fiscal health of the country, Medicare Part D was infinitely worse than anything that has happened in the last few years, and it still represents the largest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ. By and large, conservatives have swallowed this, they generally never talk about it now, and they certainly don’t talk about repealing it. I suppose the one thing that Bush could say for himself is that he never specifically pledged not to do it.

There were conservative activists and pundits who disliked Medicare Part D, and many of them publicly opposed it, but there was never much mainstream conservative desire to penalize party leaders who pushed it through. Indeed, many of the people who voted for it have been promoted into the leadership since then. Aside from the immigration debate in 2007 and the much less important fight over Harriet Miers, the Bush years were a time when the conservative movement rolled over and tolerated one rejection of their views after another. Conservatives under Bush are a case study of how ideological core supporters are taken for granted. They also provide a good example of how these supporters reconciled themselves to their own policy irrelevance by engaging in constant intellectual contortions to justify their continuing support for an administration that regularly ignored their priorities.

In fact there were only 19 Republicans in the House who vote against Medicare Part D and, as Dave Weigel thinks that two factors contributed to conservative willingness to look the other way while Bush ran roughshod over their core principles:

1) War. There was no serious conservative opposition to Bush from September 11 2001 to some point in 2006. The Medicare Part D vote was held two months after the Iraq War began. When your base supports you on a war, you can get away with some disappointments on other issues. Barack Obama simply doesn’t exploit his commander-in-chief role the way Bush did. (If you think that’s unfair to Bush, I have video of a certain pilot landing on an aircraft carrier you should see.)

2) Winning/Losing. The Medicare Part D vote was sold to conservatives as a more market-friendly version of a Democratic idea, which would take their idea off the table for the 2004 election. The tax cut deal looks like sad president bowing to Republican obstruction in the Senate and giving in to “hostage takers.” Bush’s successful feints to the left were always sold as ways to grab voter-friendly Democratic ideas to benefit Republicans.

I certainly think that the fact of two ongoing wars (or more if you count the War on Terror as something separate from Iraq and Afghanistan) was a major factor in conservative Republican willingness to look the other way when it came to domestic politics. There’s a natural tendency in wartime to “rally around” the President, especially from members of his own party. During the Bush Administration, there were many on the right who saw any attack or criticism on the Administration as being equal to the irrational screaming of groups like Code Pink, which meant that many who might have wanted to speak out were silenced an denounced. It wasn’t really until the debate over the TARP bill in September 2008 that conservatives finally opened up an starting attacking the Bush Administration but, at that point, it was too late an those of us who never drunk the George W. Bush Kool-Aid wondered what took them so long. After eight years of a Presidency it which discretionary non-defense spending increased at a faster rate than under any President since Lyndon Johnson, it was a bill created in response to a massive financial panic that finally opened their eyes?

Conservative acquiescence to Bush Administration profligacy is important today because it leads one to wonder just how committed these fiscal conservatives and Tea Party activists really are to their principles. If they manage to take back the White House in 2012, and gain control of the Senate, how long will it take before they look the other way again while their leaders make fiscal conservatives look like hypocrites?

Not long, I’m guessing.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Silent? That’s pretty funny. They weren’t silent. The were all over us about Laffer Curves and how tax cuts would grow the economy beyond expanded spending.

  2. James Joyner says:

    While the overall criticism is fair, there’s such a thing as learning from your mistakes.

    The Medicare Part D thing was done in 2002, well before the backlash started. Porkbusters, Club for Growth, and so forth didn’t pick up steam until 2005 — and was aimed at the GOP, not the Dems. And the walloping in the 2006 midterms was a real wakeup call that made fiscal issues hot again.

    Even the Tea Party thing really started in reaction to the second Bush bailout, although it didn’t get steam until the Obama bailout.

  3. andrew says:

    Deficit as a % of GDP was within the historical norm during the Bush years. Until the bailouts, which was a one time thing and most of which will be paid back. The comparison between then and now is laughable.

  4. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “Conservative acquiescence to Bush Administration …”

    There was no “conservative acquiescence” at all. The conservatives left the Republican Party to become independents (as evidenced by the large republican losses in the 2008 elections) and later Tea Party members. The common mistake that all pundits seem to make all the time is that conservative equates to republican and it just ain’t so. It’s my position that the Democrats have the liberals, the Republican are the moderates, which leaves the conservatives with no place to go but independent.

  5. matt says:

    Your position is contradicted by facts…

  6. Austin says:

    Everyone is playing the red vs. blue game. Is there really much difference between D and R? Really think about it…its one party w/some fringe differences. Our politicians don’t get it (at least they haven’t in the past). There are very few fiscal conservatives in either party who focus spending on Constitutionally enumerated functions only (there is a concept). Want proof? $14 Trillion in debt. That is a bi-partisan debt across multiple Congresses and Presidents.

    The new “Tax deal” is no deal for the American person. Keep tax rates where they are, but increase spending. Seriously, isn’t anyone listening? They take plenty (too much) of our money already. We are only subsidizing their addictions. They have a spending problem, plain and simple. Lower taxes (replace income tax w/a fair tax) AND massively cut spending. If you feel you are not taxed enough, cut the Fed a check. They will happily take it.

    The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Has Congress really admitted they have problem yet? I’m tired of subsiding the problem.

  7. mantis says:

    Even the Tea Party thing really started in reaction to the second Bush bailout, although it didn’t get steam until the Obama bailout.

    Wrong. Santelli started the tea party meme in February 2009 when he and his thieving buddies got mad because the government was going to help people who would be kicked out of their homes, after he and his buddies caused the CDS fiasco that made it happen. He also called those whose houses were being foreclosed “losers.”

    Tea Partiers don’t care about bailouts and government spending, they care about bailouts and government spending under Obama. In other words, they just hate Obama. No amount of protesting will convince me or any rational observer otherwise, for the reasons laid out in Doug’s post. They didn’t care about spending under Bush. End. Of. Story.

  8. john personna says:

    “The conservatives left the Republican Party to become independents (as evidenced by the large republican losses in the 2008 elections) and later Tea Party members.”

    Not until after Obama won, then in retrospect GWB became a RINO. Before then, they defended his tax and spend plans tooth and nail.

    Do you remember Grover Nordquist? “I don’t care, as long as my tax is cut?”

  9. Gerry W. says:

    Bush did the old “guns and butter” trick. The last president to do that was LBJ with the Vietnam War and the Great Society programs and it cost us years of inflation. Bush had the Iraq war, Medicare part D, and his tax cuts, and he used deficits and debts to fund his projects. And at the time Dick Cheney said “deficits don’t matter.” It was also a lost decade for our economy and the middle class. Wages did not go up and people lost jobs due to globalization taking strength. Bush “stayed the course” and that seem to be the theme from Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity. He left a total mess on the economy and the war, leaving any future president to deal with.

    The economy is always a concern no matter how good or bad it looks. The costs of the Bush administration goes well beyond of “what looks good.” Those tax cuts was for the “here and now” and is spent money. It does us little good for today. Our jobs are gone and there aren’t any jobs to fill what has left the country. The fed wants lower interest rates to create jobs, but again, there are no jobs. After years of globalization and the loss of jobs, we have high unemployment today. Our country has not put into place to deal with globalization. You still have to invest in your country, in your people, and in the future. Tax cuts alone will not do the job. And no other policy will do the job to compete with 2 billion cheap laborers.

    You can look at a graph from Reagan on, on how inflation, interest rates, and unemployment came down. It was a 25 year run. Bush ended it, and Washington for that matter, for not paying attention to our problems. It takes a lot more to move a more mature country and keep unemployment low. It is far more easy for China to grow their economy from the bottom. For me, all we saw from Bush was eight years of our money going to Iraq, our jobs going overseas, and the neglect of our infrastructure. Even today, Obama is not doing nearly enough to fix our economy. The infrastructure alone needs 2 trillion dollars. The money for high speed rail, if you are going to have one is a joke. Kasich dismantled the high speed rail in Ohio, and I guess I don’t blame him when it would only allow trains to go 40mph. We don’t have a commitment on anything. We should have strived to be energy independent 30 years ago and still nothing being done as gas prices today show they are going up. So, again, we have to have solutions to our long term problems. And ideology is not a way to run a country.

    I don’t have a problem with TARP or the bailouts as that is the price we pay for capitalism as it is an inefficient concept. If we would have taken care of other parts of the country to ensure economic growth instead of failed ideology, we could have handled the problems out of Wall Street. But when you let six, seven, or eight different areas go down the drain, then we can’t handle it all. It will take some 10 to 20 years to clean up the Bush mess.

  10. James Joyner says:

    @Mantis:

    It’s true that the formal “Tea Party” thing coalesced around the Santorelli outburst. But there was a groundswell of conservative outrage at the Bush bailouts. It kicked into higher gear a few months later as Obama doubled up on the policy, for a variety of reasons.

  11. mantis says:

    But there was a groundswell of conservative outrage at the Bush bailouts.

    Nah, there were a few noisy usual suspects (Club for Growth, etc.), but no groundswell of anything. We were all there, James. Rewriting history is fun and self-serving and all, but it just doesn’t wash for people with memories (and Google).

    Maybe you remember the protests, but just conveniently forget who was involved. The September 25, 2008 protests against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 were leftwing affairs, consisting mostly of labor unions and TrueMajority, a liberal group.

    A Pew poll from that time found that 64% of Republicans supported the bailouts, compared to 56% of Democrats. Prominent economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman opposed it. Not conservatives.

    When a majority of Republicans voted against the bill when it first came up in the House on Sept. 29, their explanation was not based in conservative economics, but whining that Nancy Pelosi was mean in her speech before the vote. Remember that?

    After the first failed vote resulted in the largest single day drop in the Dow ever, House Republicans got over being mad at mean ol’ Nancy and the House passed the Senate’s bill a few days later.

    Conservatives didn’t oppose government spending or intervention in any meaningful way until Obama. They didn’t protest the TARP under Bush, liberals did. Ron Paul was the strongest voice against the bailouts on the right, and he did not have a lot of company.

    It kicked into higher gear a few months later as Obama doubled up on the policy, for a variety of reasons.

    One reason. A Republican was no longer in charge.

  12. Austin says:

    Solving the second grade “you started it” argument won’t solve any problems. Yes, the Republicans had no problem spending and eventually supporting the bailouts, etc. They had no problem taking over GM (abhorrent to the Constitution). They paid for it at the ballot box. Yes, the Democrats have (still) no problem spending and supporting bailouts. Both are guilty. Again, are they really that different from each other?

    When and where the “Tea Party” began is of no consequence. What is of consequence is how WE are going to get out of the economic disaster (jobs and debt)! We must move forward. It is a major problem for all of us. Lowering taxes while increasing spending is NOT the answer.

    There is a spending problem in Congress. Can we admit that? Too many promises have been made and we cannot afford them. Can we admit that?

    I think we place too much strength in the argument that the Federal government should solve all our problems (economic, social, etc.). There are much bigger questions that need to be debated concerning the role of government in our Republic. We have a Constitution and we had better get to know what it means.

    Those in power want us to take sides, define the battle lines on their terms. They want us to react w/emotion, not logic. Continual division among us only helps them. WE need to define the terms and independently evaluate solutions, not react w/emotion. Congress governs only with our consent.

    It is not appropriate or accurate to lump everyone into either Republican and Democrat camps. Neither define my beliefs because I choose to deal with facts and not emotion. Call me old fashioned, but the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, as amended, define my political identity, not an arbitrary, ever fluctuating party whose talking heads are more interested in their political future than they are w/upholding their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution.

  13. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “Conservatives didn’t oppose government spending or intervention in any meaningful way until Obama. They didn’t protest the TARP under Bush, liberals did. Ron Paul was the strongest voice against the bailouts on the right, and he did not have a lot of company.”

    Wrong, conservatives opposed all these programs. It was the Republicans who were silent. There is a difference which is now highly visible as the Tea Party, a phenomenom that many Republicans thought was just a passing fad.

    It’s the conservatives today who are fighting for an end to ear-marks. And guess who they are fighting: the Republicans.

    I reiterate, conservatives do not equate to Republicans.

  14. mantis says:

    Wrong, conservatives opposed all these programs.

    What, muttering under their breath? Where was this “groundswell” in 2008 Joyner refers to?

  15. ponce says:

    Aren’t we still at war?

  16. Austin says:

    @ponce, yes. Although never declared by Congress.

  17. Davebo says:

    And James finally sheds the last sliver of his credibility.

    Honestly James, I’d have thought you’d been more subtle going about it.

  18. W says:

    Democrats filibuster unless the GOP agreed to spend more on about every program and that is the GOP fault? The Democrats demand large increases in spending in the military that the administrator didn’t even ask for.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    Conservatives said nothing because they don’t really believe anything. They blah, blah, blah and posture but all they really believe in their heart of hearts is that they don’t like liberals and people who look different and think rich people should get tax breaks.

    James, the idea that they’ve learned from experience is laughable. They just rolled over for a new stimulus. Why? Because they got tax breaks for rich people.

    They’d agree to lower the age of sexual consent to 9 years old if it meant they could cut marginal rates 5%. They’d hand the country over to Fide Castro for a marginal tax rate reduction. Your party is an intellectual fraud. All they believe is that the rich should be richer and the yahoos should get enough race-baiting and gay-bashing to keep them voting for the interests of the rich. Everything else is empty posturing.

  20. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    There is a gread deal of difference between rewriting history and misstating it. Mantis misstates it because the truth does not fit his matrix. He did the same thing at another site where he is no longer welcome. I guess Mantis was busy doing whatever Mantis’s do when thousands upon thousands of people across the country were gathering at Tea Party meetings. Mantis, dude, did you miss the last election?

  21. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    This is off topic, but Mantis, you missed your chance to sign the petition passed around at Cancun to ban dihydrogen monoxide. A major ingredient in acid rain.

  22. anjin-san says:

    > for a variety of reasons.

    Maybe they were pissed because we avoided a depression.

  23. anjin-san says:

    Actually, they were not silent as Bush greatly expanded the size and power of the federal government, they were cheering.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    It kicked into higher gear a few months later as Obama doubled up on the policy, for a variety of reasons.

    One reason. A Republican was no longer in charge.

    And of course there had been a change of skin tone.

  25. matt says:

    That’s funny Patrick T. McQuire considering every single tea party candidate ran as a republican. But why bother letting reality and facts rain on your little ideological parade 😛

  26. steve says:

    Notice that even now, there is no impetus among conservatives or Republicans to repeal Part D. We will know there are serious about cutting the debt when they try to repeal Part D. Until then, it is mostly just partisan politics.

    Steve

  27. Jay Tea says:

    “Silence” is an absolute term. There were squawkers, even then. The primary difference is that under Bush, the big spending (largely pushed by the Democrats) was bad, but sustainable. It really ramped up when the Democrats took Congress back, and skyrocketed under Obama.

    Having someone kick the back of your seat is annoying. When they stop kicking and start shoving knives through the seatback, it’s no defense for them to say “you didn’t object to the kicks, so what’s the problem now?”

    J.

  28. michael reynolds says:

    Jay:

    The biggest addition to the deficit under Bush was the tax cuts. Not a Democrat thing.

    Followed by the war in Iraq. Not a particularly Democrat thing.

    And Medicare part D. Brought to you bipartisanly.

    In other words: you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Regurgitating Fox isn’t really going to work for you here.

  29. Mike says:

    The tea party was started by Ron Paul and his supporters in 2007. The republican party hijacked it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKZmIzEMUN8

  30. Jay Tea says:

    MIchael, didn’t government revenues go UP after the Bush tax cuts? And didn’t a lot of Democrats vote for the Authorization of Military Force In Iraq?

    Lemme check that last one… yup, 82 Democrats in the House, 29 in the Senate. On the other hand, it was 126 Democrats against in the House, 21 in the Senate. Over 2/3 in each House.

    And I see the Tea Party as a truly independent group, without any unified leadership (by design), that’s attempting a takeover (occasionally hostile) of the GOP… and so far, they’ve got a good chunk of the GOP establishment scared shitless. Just look at the long-established GOP figures knocked off last November.

    And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

    J.

  31. Gerry W. says:

    Jay Tea,

    Looks more of the same. And I have heard very little answers to the middle class.

  32. anjin-san says:

    > And didn’t a lot of Democrats vote for the Authorization of Military Force In Iraq?

    Craven pussies they were, yes. But being a weak kneed follower and a leader, which is what the GOP/neocons were in the drive to war in Iraq were are very different things. Your argument that Democrats were the drivers behind the Bush spending surge is simply wrong.

  33. An Interested Party says:

    “And I see the Tea Party as a truly independent group, without any unified leadership (by design), that’s attempting a takeover (occasionally hostile) of the GOP… and so far, they’ve got a good chunk of the GOP establishment scared shitless. Just look at the long-established GOP figures knocked off last November.”

    Oh yes, that’s why Tea Party types are mostly Republians, very independent they are…and the GOP establishment is “scared shitless” alright…that’s why they just made a deal to blow an even bigger hole in the budget…terrified, I tell you…

  34. Jay Tea says:

    Interested, please. Don’t be dumber than absolutely necessary. You’re already violating your Recommended Daily Allowances of stupid.

    The Tea Party is trying to TAKE OVER the GOP. That means that they have to first sign up to be part of the party. But doesn’t mean that they have pledged allegiance to the GOP party line.

    If you need more explanations, feel free to talk to Charlie Crist, Michael Castle, Sue Lowden, Bob Bennett, Gresham Barrett, Trey Grayson, Jonathan Paton, Rick Lazio, Hunt Downer, Jane Norton, and a bunch of other establishment GOP types who got their asses handed to them by Tea Party-backed challengers.

    This is how a political movement can succeed: pick the party that’s more compatible with your ideals, enroll in it, then start enacting change from within — picking off those who are furthest from your ideals. With luck, you’ll end up reshaping the party to be closer to your ideals. Then you have the party’s apparatus at your disposal to go after the other side.

    The establishment GOP is trying to find ways to come to an accomodation with the Tea Party. Sadly, there are no leaders to negotiate with (or buy off or blackmail), so they’re having to demonstrate that they’ve had a “come to Jesus” moment and really share the goals of the Tea Party.

    And that is tremendously entertaining to watch.

    J.

  35. An Interested Party says:

    There’s no need for you to fall into full douchebag, er, teabag mode…it’s not my fault that the establishment GOP is going to disappoint you and yours well before you teabaggers have even the slightest chance to take over the Republican Party…why don’t you talk to Joe Miller, Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, and Sharron Angle about how well this alleged takeover is going…actually, what is tremendously entertaining is for you to suggest such a thing is even possible…besides, the Dixiecrats have already taken over the GOP….one takeover at a time, dear…

  36. Jay Tea says:

    I’m sorry, Interested. I couldn’t hear you. You were muffled by that scrotum in your mouth. It tends to make it hard to understand you.

    Could you repeat that? After you’re done… well, whatever you’re doing with that scrotum in your mouth. I’d rather not hear the details.

    J.

  37. An Interested Party says:

    Awwwwww….”teabagger” really bothers you, doesn’t it? Oh well, better than the reality, I suppose, which is that your movement is going to have something inserted in its rear as it is slowly assimilated into the GOP, pretty soon, you’ll be just like the evangelicals…promised so much, but delivered so little…so much for “taking over” the GOP…

  38. Jay Tea says:

    Actually, Interested, I rather like that term. It serves as an instant shorthand that tells me whether I’m dealing with someone who is interested in an actual, serious discussion, or is just an asshole who gets cheap thrills out of talking dirty.

    Thanks for “outing” yourself so quickly. You’ve spared me time and energy. I now know that “debating” with you falls into the “wrestling with pigs” category, and I won’t waste my time.

    J.

  39. anjin-san says:

    Jay Tea says:
    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 19:07
    I’m sorry, Interested. I couldn’t hear you. You were muffled by that scrotum in your mouth.

    whether I’m dealing with someone who is interested in an actual, serious discussion, or is just an asshole who gets cheap thrills out of talking dirty.

    All it took for you to be revealed as an utter fraud was 2 posts. You are indeed, tea party material.

    Case closed.

  40. An Interested Party says:

    Absolutely correct, Anjin…but don’t forget the delusions of grandeur…I mean, the Tea Party types are going to take over the GOP? Seriously…

  41. Jay Tea says:

    Interested, I’ve made my arguments many times, in better places than this. And I’ve learned that when the other guy is more interested in making sniggering sexual slurs (hey, alliteration!), I’m wasting my time.

    All I will say is that a movement as new as the Tea Party that can score the kinds of victories it has so far is a force to be reckoned with. And dipshits who hide behind cheap giggles while mocking the fact that they’ve not won every fight (only a majority) is PROOF!!!!!! that they’re a failure is whistling past the graveyard.

    Which is remarkable, considering they’ve got a mouthful of testicles.

    What, only you are allowed to make “teabagging” references? Or is it you just don’t like it when the scrotum is on YOUR chin?

    Goddamned homophobic bigot.

    J.

  42. Jay Tea says:

    Interested, I’ve made my arguments many times, in better places than this. And I’ve learned that when the other guy is more interested in making sniggering sexual slurs (hey, alliteration!), I’m wasting my time.

    All I will say is that a movement as new as the Tea Party that can score the kinds of victories it has so far is a force to be reckoned with. And dipshits who hide behind cheap giggles while mocking the fact that they’ve not won every fight (only a majority) is PROOF!!!!!! that they’re a failure is whistling past the graveyard.

    Which is remarkable, considering they’ve got a mouthful of testicles.

    What, only you are allowed to make “teabagging” references? Or is it you just don’t like it when the scrotum is on YOUR chin?

    Homophobic bigot.

    J.

  43. Jay Tea says:

    “Exposed as a fraud,” Anjin? For recognizing that I was dealing with a giggling “ooh, I said a bad word!” dolt, and not wanting to waste my time?

    Spare me.

    J.

  44. An Interested Party says:

    Actually, you were exposed as a sanctimonious windbag for whining about something that you yourself were doing…but hey, maybe in your world, calling people “stupid” constitutes having an “actual, serious discussion”…that wouldn’t be surprising if you were that warped…hell, you think the Tea Party crowd is going to take over the GOP…

  45. Jay Tea says:

    Uninteresting, I didn’t say they WOULD take over. I said that they’re TRYING. And they’ve had quite a few victories so far — more victories than defeats. You seem to think that anything of 100% success instantly is a crushing defeat. At least, that’s how you’re trying to spin it.

    You seem to have an obsession with putting things in my mouth — words, scrota. Please stop it; it’s annoying and rude.

    But then, I guess you have to play to your strengths.

    J.

  46. An Interested Party says:

    The only spinning going on is the idea that the Tea Party crowd is on some kind of role in regard to TRYING to take over the GOP…as the recent tax deal makes clear, they may be TRYING, but, so far, they are FAILING…oh, and if your tender sensibilities are so easily hurt by annoyance and rudeness, try not exhibiting such traits yourself in the future…

  47. Jay Tea says:

    First up, uninteresting, in the context you used it, it’s “roll,” not “role.” Had you said “playing a role,” then you’d have been OK. But you used “on a roll.” So get off your intellectual high horse, you subliterate dolt.

    Next up, don’t flatter yourself. “Hurt my feelings?” Dream on. You amused me. And not even that much.

    So far, the Tea Party has had a hell of a lot more successes than the Nutroots have ever dreamed of, and they are far from disheartened. The fight will go on.

    And it’s worth noting how much energy the left has put into fighting the Tea Party — the “Coffee Party,” the fake Tea Party candidates, the repeated lies and smears, even physical violence. For an ineffective, worthless, not-even-worth-mocking group, they certainly have you and yours all wee-wee’d up.

    J.

  48. Gerry W. says:

    Jay Tea,

    What is your argument? What will the Tea party do to create upward movement for the poor and the middle class? What jobs do you see that can be created? How do we move the country forward?

  49. Mike says:

    If you want to fix the country, I have some ideas.

    First, hit the federal reserve hard and stop the banks from looting America. While your at it, pull out of the IMF. We don’t need to pay taxes to an overseas bank that has no loyalties.

    Then, save a ton of money by cutting our military budget and bring a our troops home. Have them guard our borders and coastline from illegal entry.

    Eliminate the incentives foreigners have for illegally entering our country by, for example, getting rid of birthright citizenship for the children of those that enter illegally. Also, don’t give wide sweeping amnesty, like what you might find in the dream act. All this does is let people know their children will live the American dream, even if they break the law entering our country. At the same time, make it easier to enter legally.

    Next, minimize outsourcing by having those who do outsource pay higher taxes. This is to offset the low cost of cheap labor found overseas. We have to bring the jobs back home and become an industrialized nation again

    These are only some of the things we can do, as a country, to move forward in a positive direction.

  50. Mike says:

    To add another thought, deregulation at all levels of the government would help a lot.

    Here’s an interesting video that illustrates this point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQscE3Xed64

    The increased regulation, such as with the food safety bill, only helps the already large, rich corporations. That’s why Monsato lobbied so hard for it. They love more regulations, because they can afford the lawyers and experts needed to make sure their business falls within those regulations, while start-ups most likely cannot.

  51. Jay Tea says:

    Well, Gerry, to me the Tea Party isn’t ABOUT finding a way to create upward movement and create jobs. It’s about getting the government OUT OF THE $%*@# WAY so individuals and businesses can do that. It’s not a matter of “you’re doing it wrong,” it’s more “it’s wrong that you’re trying to do it — and you’ll fail, ‘cuz it can’t work.”

    Remember the example of the luxury yacht industry cited above. The Democrats thought it would be great to jack up the taxes on yachts, because only the rich could afford yachts. The rich said “screw that” and started buying their yachts overseas (paging John Kerry) and the yacht-building industry (which paid a LOT of skilled craftsmen some VERY good wages) was nearly destroyed.

    It’s a fundamental, philosophical difference. And I think it’s worth a try.

    J.

  52. An Interested Party says:

    “So far, the Tea Party has had a hell of a lot more successes than the Nutroots have ever dreamed of, and they are far from disheartened.”

    Except for the little fact that the “Nutroots” actually helped to get their man elected president…and the Tea Party? They were used to help get the GOP back in power and now deals are already being made which violate Tea Party principles, yeah, that fight’s going on alright…

    “For an ineffective, worthless, not-even-worth-mocking group, they certainly have you and yours all wee-wee’d up.”

    Oh my, showing that sensitivity again…while I will try to remember to use the correct words in the future, you should work on your reading comprehension, teatard…no one ever claimed that your little movement was ineffective or worthless (although it does deserve tons of mocking), but, rather, that for all your huffing and puffing about your grand plans, all you and yours will really be good for is votes at election time after you are swallowed up by the GOP…

  53. Gerry W. says:

    Jay Tea,

    I understand your argument of getting government out of the way, however, our biggest problem is 2 billion cheap laborers who want out jobs. There simply not enough jobs to go around. As Bush had his tax cuts we lost millions of jobs. If we are sending the private sector jobs overseas for cheap labor, then the government has to step in and either goes for more welfare spending which we have seen or it can invest in our country, in our people, and in the future. Which we have not done for at least three decades, but particularly in the past decade. We have done nothing on energy independence, on our infrastructure, and on the loss of middle class jobs. The republicans want more tax cuts for the rich which did not do anything and Obama wants a tax holiday for employees for a year. None of this makes any sense. No one want to solve the problems we face.

    You can talk about getting government out of the way, but that is all talk for the most part. Like cutting waste and no one ever does. I am looking at closed factories in my town, and so far, no one has talked about those lost jobs. We lost some 30% of our manufacturing and I ask, what widgets can we make here and not in some other country? I ask, if we put the money in the hands of the consumer, what product can he buy when half the products are foreign made. I ask, what small business can survive in towns with closed factories? I have not heard anyone address this.

    We face many challenges and it is the same old rhetoric. No one is addressing globalization. We have lost that upward movement for people. Without that upward movement, you will lose and have been losing the middle class. Tax cuts is one part of the equation. Cutting spending is another part. Fixing our infrastructure is another part. Having middle class wages is another part. Dealing with globalization is another part.

    We are at a point where nothing works. Cheap labor, cheap dollar, cheap interest rates, cheap merchandise, no taxes. Well, it ain’t working. How much lower can the fed lower interest rates. How much lower can taxes go. And yet we are not solving the problem as we keep shipping jobs overseas for cheap labor. You cannot sit back and say just to get government off the back and watch with a laissez-faire attitude. We saw that with Bush. Tax cuts and do nothing else. Well, doing nothing else go us here. Dealing with globalization and 2 billion cheap laborers will take a lot more than the talk and ideology that we see today.

    You still have to invest in the country as jobs are global. So you need to create jobs that will stay here. I have no problem with lower corporate taxes to create jobs, but on the other hand, the tax cuts for the rich is not doing anything. So, let us get away from the right wing rhetoric. We also need to look at high speed rail and internet, and the infrastructure in which we are 2 trillion dollars behind.

    You need to invest in the people with massive retraining and vocational job training.

    And you need to invest in the future with federal grants and whatever else to universities who discover new innovations and technologies in which we can benefit from.

    It comes down to private/public partnerships in what we used to do instead of failed ideologies of the right and the left. If other countries can invest in their economies, then we can do it too. And we did it before. The internet, the intestate system, the wiring of telephone and electrical service was a public and private relationship. We put men on the moon. We all worked together
    and we made it work. Today failed ideology is running our country and it is failing the American people.

    Today, all you are getting is right wing rhetoric on more and more tax cuts, and when that fails, the democrats come in with a spending program. All are failures, and the Tea Party has said nothing new.

  54. Gerry W. says:

    Mike,

    There are problems on both sides of the spectrum. Do you know that Monsanto, Tyson, and Smithfield own 75% of the animal market which has driven out the farmer? Do you know that Wal Mart has taken away the small town shops in my town and they are 15 miles away from my town? Do you know that Wal Mart gets tax breaks as they employ more people and the small business does not get the tax break? There are many things broken and I am willing to help the small business or anyone for that matter if they create jobs

    I am afraid that after years of total mismanagement of our economy, that we are trapped in a corner. The fed wants more printing of money to create jobs, the republicans want more tax cuts to create jobs, and as that does not work the democrats fills in with big government welfare programs, and in the meantime we sent our jobs overseas, our money went to Iraq, and we neglected our infrastructure. What we lost was the ability to stimulate our economy as there is nothing to stimulate. And therefore, it will take some 10 to 20 years to get out of the Bush mess.

    http://growth.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2010/who_broke_america_s_jobs_machine_27941

  55. Gerry W. says:

    The other problem that the whole world faces is that there is simply not enough jobs to go around, unless policies can be put into place. Chinese graduates are going to the big cities in China to work, and more than likely those jobs were the jobs we had in the U.S. But they are having a tough time as there is not enough jobs to go around. China should institute policies or incentives to make these people go back to their home towns and create small businesses their and in return that would employ people in their districts. We have given up 30% of our manufacturing all the while we had tax cuts and our government wrongly targeted housing as a base for jobs and ignored globalization. They (economists and politicians) are ignoring globalization as they hope for us to export our goods. Well, we don’t make as much as before even though we are still the largest manufacturer. But many small towns have lost factories and there is no jobs to go to. Now, the economists are saying we will export our high end products. Again, they are ignoring that our companies have sold them the know how to even make the high end products. So the Chinese are quite capable in a few years to create airplanes as well as cars, etc. Our companies have sold their souls to make short term profits and it will hurt all of us. And since the Chinese will not buy a higher priced American product, or maybe they are already producing that product, we are having more difficulty to find jobs. Add to that, automation and lean principles that take away jobs and we are in real trouble.

    And you also have to wonder, while an enormous amount of Chinese are employed, what will happen when automation takes over there. In the end, we will need to find ways of creating new products and find a way of making those products in our country. Or to create an infrastructure that requires hiring people. Or we can retrain a lot of people so that they go amass and create small business. But the difficult thing is that you cannot create a business where factories have closed. And you cannot create a business when the big guys have a monopoly. Today, Apple makes a lot of their products in China. Thirty years ago, those products would have been made here. Now, it is about 2 billion people that want jobs. The dynamics have changed. The world has opened up. And all we get in our country is a battle on ideology and no one is looking at the big picture. I don’t know why we have to wait for a crisis. We should strive to be energy independent. We should fix our infrastructure. And we need to look at globalization as not only as opportunities but also as a problem we have to deal with if we want to preserve the middle class.

  56. Mike says:

    Gerry W, I agree. We need to end the double standards that allow the poor to stay poor and the rich to get richer. We should stop giving the tax breaks you referred to. Obama needs to stop giving health care waivers out, as well, to the biggest companies. There is a new bill that will allow the pentagon to secretly blacklist companies competing for government jobs, so the biggest players of the military industrial complex will stay that way. Private industry is way to close to government. We’re a plutarchy closing in on fascism. The biggest businesses can rewrite the rules as they see fit. Notice how they wanted to retroactively make how the banks handled the mortgages legal.

    To really help, you have to get rid of the fraud, both illegal and legal. Fractional reserve banking, derivatives, this is all legalized fraud. You’re creating money out of thin air and saying you have more money then you really do.

  57. Gerry W. says:

    I agree with a lot of what you say.

  58. Jay Tea says:

    Keep deluding yourself, Uninteresting… and note that the Tea Party didn’t get rolling until after the last presidential election. They haven’t been through one yet.

    Also, it might have escaped your notice — you don’t seem too observant — but the tax deal was passed by the lame duck Congress. The Tea Party congresscritters won’t be seated (with one or two exceptions, I think) until January.

    And how’s Senator Lamont doing, anyway?

    J.

  59. An Interested Party says:

    “…and note that the Tea Party didn’t get rolling until after the last presidential election. They haven’t been through one yet.”

    Indeed, one can only hope that they help to propel, say, Sarah Palin to be the GOP standard bearer…

    “…but the tax deal was passed by the lame duck Congress.”

    Oh, I’m well aware of that, dear…but the point is that the tax deal is being pushed by the establishment GOP and is a direct slap in the face to the Tea Party crowd…and yet, we hear how the establishment is supposedly running around in fear of the Tea Party…they don’t look all that scared…

    “And how’s Senator Lamont doing, anyway??

    About as well as Senators Miller, Buck, O’Donnell, and Angle…

  60. Jay Tea says:

    The response to the tax deal is decidedly mixed. There is no “Tea Party” position per se, and two-year extension of the tax cuts will put it right after the next presidential election, where it can be a useful referendum item. Further, the unemployment extension will NOT grant more time to those who’ve already exhausted their 99 weeks, but let more people into that group — so that’s not that bad a deal. So, personally, I think it’s OK.

    But then, I don’t speak for the Tea Party.

    Nobody does.

    And that’s by design.

    In their first major outing, the Tea Party won more races than they lost. That’s damned impressive. How many times did the Nutroots shoot themselves in the foot before they won one? What was Kos’ endorsement record at one point — 0 for 17?

    Yeah, you won with Obama. How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?

    J.

  61. anjin-san says:

    > How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?

    Pretty good. The GOP left office with the economy on the edge of catastrophe. Today a lot of corporations are making record profits, and we have actual economic growth.

    Unless you are a Republican trying desperately to pretend Bush never happened, the Obama era has actually been halfway decent so far…

  62. Mike says:

    Hmm, actually it’s not fascism. Thinking on it, it’s more like soviet russia communism where it is all government run, and no other business can compete. It’s hard to keep track these days which shape the oncoming tyranny will be, lol. Sad but true.

    I don’t pretend to be an expert in this stuff, so if I’m mistaken anywhere, feel free to point it out.

  63. Mike says:

    anjin-san,

    Obama’s legacy: http://j.mp/hY5tHb