All the Tea Party rhetoric about the current budget crisis and impending debt ceiling mess has nothing to do with growing the economy. Tea Party conservatives in the House led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Vir.), Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa) and House Budget Committee Director Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are not about improving the short and long-term success of the U.S. economy. Threatening to default the country unless President Barack Obama negotiates on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) insists all he wants is a conversation. While that might be all Boehner wants, the Tea Party wants to assert mafia-like control over the U.S. government. Their true goals aren’t to improve the economy. Led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the Senate, the Tea Party seeks nothing short than to reduce the size of the federal establishment.
Quoting chapter-and-verse from the late President Ronald Reagan that “the government is too big and spends too much,” the Tea Party is anything but Reagan-like. Reagan had the utmost respect for the presidency and would be horrified by a Congressional power-grab to diminish the presidency. Having hijacked what’s left of the historic Republican Party, the Tea Party has turned the GOP into a right wing minority faction, whose ambitions roll back the clock on the government’s role in helping minorities achieve the American Dream. Filled with what’s left of frustrated White Southerners and Midwesterners, the Tea Party seeks to end entitlements as we know them, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. House conservatives drew a line in the sand on Obamacare, believing it’s the most socialist, big-government expansion in U.S. history.
Big, medium and small business oppose strongly what the Tea Party is trying to do, especially seeking, at all costs, to stop Obamacare by shutting down the government. Unlike the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is promoting the U.S. economy, the Tea Party’s move in Congress is to assert power for purpose of reversing the size of the federal government. “Our lobbyists are continuing to talk to scores of members of Congress and their staff urging them to address this and stop kicking the can down the road,” said Chamber spokesperson Blair Latoff Holmes, opposed to the shutdown and possible attempt to default the government. Last month, the Chamber joined 250 business groups to lobby Congress to avoid a government shutdown. Tea Party conservatives showed their true stripes ignoring the business community, hell-bent on their mission to seize control of government.
Egged on by the Tea Party in the House and Senate, Boehner has lost his way, unable to control the fierce GOP faction that seeks to shrink the federal government at all costs, including defaulting the country. “It’s up to lawmakers and the administration to find common ground and reach a deal that will fund the government and raise the debt limit to avoid default. We will continue to make that cause to everyone who will listen,” said Holmes, representing the Chamber. No one in the business community, concerned with improving the U.S economy, thinks the shutdown or a default helps anything other than advancing an extreme political agenda. House Republicans believe Obama’s bluffing and will eventually negotiate with a gun to his head. “He has to come to the table now and negotiate,” said Rep. Chris Coons (R-N,Y.), mirroring the same demand as Boehner and the Tea Party.
Tea Party Republicans rail against new taxes because they lead to big government. Refusing Obama’s request from more revenue is another way to prevent the government from getting bigger. Forcing an economic default would plunge the economy back into recession, reducing more government tax revenue and sabotaging government programs. Like certain evangelicals that look forward to Armegeddon, the Tea Party looks ahead to an economic crash so that government has less tax revenue to pay for government entitlements. When the country’s broke, they believe they have the best shot of reverse-engineering society back to colonial times when the government did little or nothing for average citizens. Tea Party voices during the last economic crash in 2007-08 begged the Bush White House and Federal Reserve Board to let the U.S. auto and financial industries to go broke.
Today’s Battle Royale between White House and Congress has more to do with a colossal power struggle than what’s good for the country. Imposing austerity on the federal government, the Tea Party isn’t concerned with economic growth, only shrinking the size of the federal establishment. If plunging the nation into recession or a new depression accomplishes that goal, then it’s fair game. “I don’t believe this president has any intention of negotiating in good faith,” said Coons, referring to the Tea Party’s demand to delay Obamacare or face a government shutdown and default. No one in the business community agrees with the Tea Party, whose real mission involves scaling back the tax base to the point the federal government can’t pay for entitlements or anything else. Before it’s too late, the GOP needs to come back to its senses and corral the zealots from taking over.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.