Is the Tea Party Crazy or Just Nuts?

The media praises far-left politicians while demonizing advocates of limited government.

The late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota was a man of the hard left—"the Senate's most liberal member," as Mickey Kaus once termed him in the liberal online journal Slate. Wellstone opposed the first Iraq War—and the second one. He was no friend of the Second Amendment—or the First. He thought the government should strictly control campaign ads by groups such as the Sierra Club and the NRA. Even The New York Times, which supports the rationing of political speech, called Wellstone's idea a proposal "of questionable constitutionality."

Wellstone died in a plane crash in 2002, and was immediate lionized. The Washington Post called him one of the Senate's "leading liberals. . . . Colleagues from across the political spectrum praised Wellstone as a passionate advocate for his beliefs." He was "a hero to the left," the paper said, noting "there was little doubt where his heart lay." To The New York Times, Wellstone was "a rumpled, unfailingly modest man," a "firebrand," and although "his opponents always portrayed him as a left-wing extremist," Wellstone was "so happy, so comfortable, so unthreatening that he was able to ward off the attacks." Rumor has it he once fed a crowd with five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.

This is not, to put it mildly, how Tea Partiers and their congressional cohort have been portrayed during the recent game of chicken over the debt ceiling. Rather, those opposed to raising the debt ceiling—or willing to do so in exchange for a slowdown in the rate of government growth—are "obstreperous," "flatly and dangerously wrong," and "not interested in governing." (These are all quotes from major media organs, not obscure blogs.) They're "crazy" proponents of a "dangerous delusion"—"ridiculous," "extremist," "ultraorthodox tax haters," players of "ideological games," "totally unrealistic," authors of "madness," etc. etc.

Hey, what happened to people of conviction? Aren't the Tea Partiers "firebrands"? Isn't there little doubt where their hearts lie?

Rather than praise Tea Partiers as passionate advocates for their beliefs, many in the press have taken to marginalizing them with mean-spirited attacks on their sanity. Wellstone, who championed the rights of the mentally ill, would not be proud.

At this point it might be useful to clarify precisely what the dispute concerns. The question is not whether the federal government should grow. As Reason's Nick Gillespie pointed out a few days ago, nearly nobody in Washington has actually proposed shrinking the leviathan. To the contrary, the dispute is whether to raise federal spending from the current $3.8 trillion to $4.7 trillion over the next decade (the Paul Ryan plan)—or to $5.7 trillion (the Obama plan).
Bear in mind that those increases would come on top of one of the fastest expansions of federal spending in U.S. history. When President Obama took office, the budget stood at $2.9 trillion. Two. Point. Nine.

Spending has risen 30 percent in the past three years. It is quite a feat to grow federal spending faster than the Bush administration: Under Bush, domestic discretionary spending rose faster than at any time since the Lyndon Johnson administration.

If Bush floored the accelerator, then Obama lit the afterburners. And nobody in Washington (except Sen. Rand Paul and perhaps Sen. Tom Coburn) has suggested applying the brakes. For the most part, the cuts being discussed are reductions in the rate of future growth. What does that mean? This: (a) your rent is $10,000 this year; (b) you thought you were going to spend $15,000 next year; but (c) you've decided to spend only $12,000—therefore, (d) you've "cut" your housing expenses by $3,000.

Washington already spends quite enough, thank you very much. But to say this is not (as some on the left have snidely suggested) to argue that big business and the rich should not help solve the debt problem. They certainly should—and programs benefitting the well-off should be first on the chopping block: farm subsidies, export promotion, and so on. Welfare for big corporations should disappear entirely before the first dollar of welfare for poor individuals is touched. Likewise, the Defense Department needs to go on a diet. (Coburn's plan has a host of suggestions about how to put it on one.)

You won't find Tea Party activists cheering on corporate welfare, either. They're not exactly lining up to defend the Agriculture Department's market-access program, the Commerce Department's research grants (read: handouts) to high-tech companies, or the U.S. Maritime Administration's loan guarantees to help facilitate the purchase of ships from U.S. shipyards. Many of them and their ideological compatriots would be more than happy to cut those government programs, and plenty more. Rand Paul would eliminate the Commerce and Energy Departments entirely, for instance.

You'd think liberals would be glad to hear it. But they are not, because those ideas are part of the overall tea party belief that government cannot continue to grow at an ever-accelerating rate—a belief now dismissed as not only wrong, but clinically insane.

The sad part? By Washington standards, it probably is.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • silent v||

    These are all quotes from major media organs, not obscure blogs.

    Well, I guess I will have to take your word for it since there is no way to embed links to the original source on web pages.

  • ||

    If you have any question about these quotes, you must not be very well read on the news of the day.

  • Au H20||

    I think that he didn't because this is a repost of an Op-Ed in the Richmond Dispatch. Though I would like a more web friendly version.

  • JT||

    This article is from a newspaper of a medium sized city

  • Almanian||

    A. Barton Hinkle Heimerschmidt
    His name is my name, too!
    Whenever we go out
    People always shout,
    "There goes A. Barton Hinkle Heimerschmidt!"
    LALALALALALALA....

    All is forgiven, ABH. I don't even remember what I was mad aat you about.

    PS And DUH! Lefties = "passionate, committed" Righties = "TEH FUNDIES SCARY INTOLERANT WHACKOS!!!" QED

  • ||

    Who is DUH?

  • ||

    Perhaps I'm posting this in the wrong place, but whenever a man tries to perform his own hernia surgery with a butter knife, it needs to be mentioned somewhere.

  • Joe M||

  • marlok||

    Search "Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: case report" for a story (WITH PICTURES) of a Russian surgeon who had to perform his own appendectomy.
    Classic.

  • ||

    "As police waited for paramedics to arrive, Lorenz said the man pulled out the knife and shoved a cigarette he was smoking inside the open wound."

    Its called cauterization!

  • ||

    All I got from the article was that the cops showed up and "nothing else happened" until the paramedics arrived and actually accomplished something.

  • ||

    "It is absolutely impossible for someone to fix their own hernia,” said Sam Carvajal, a surgeon at Glendale Adventist Medical Center."

    Obviously a tool of big hernia repair.
    http://www.neatorama.com/2008/.....f-surgery/

  • ||

    He didn't have a puppy that needed shooting or a kitten to stomp?

  • WWNGD?||

    No, he was more worried that the police would fine him $1000 for smoking in his own home.

  • Nine year old Georgia girl||

    As police waited for paramedics to arrive, Lorenz said the man pulled out the knife and shoved a cigarette he was smoking inside the open wound.

    Now that's one tough mother fucker.

    And WTF, why didn't the cop fear for his life and start shooting when the guy went for the knife?

  • Nipplemancer||

    Doctors? Don't need em, they're quacks. Me, I do my own surgery, it's cheaper and safer since they're not pumping you up full of drugs and stuff. I don't want to catch the autism or nothin.

  • Tony||

    He probably didn't have insurance. This is why we needed health care reform.

  • ­||

    Yeah. I'm sure that's it.

  • Kpres||

    We need health reform so people like you can get a brain transplant.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Never misses an opportunity to dredge up that universal health care shit, does he?

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Spending has risen 30 percent in the past three years. [...] If Bush floored the accelerator, then Obama lit the afterburners.

    ... and yet, his happy little online cadre of freelance fellators robotically insist that -- the fact that he's been sitting President since 2009, and enjoyed healthy majorities in both Houses for two fricking years notwithstanding -- the Jug-Eared Jesus is not remotely responsible for even so much of a worn Buffalo nickel's worth of the nation's present day fiscal status; nosirree, not no way, not nohow --

    ... which, of course, promptly begs the logical follow-up question: what in Cthulhu's name would be the conceivable rationale for re-electing someone that self-admittedly hapless, flailing and incapable, really...?

  • Mainer||

    Kind of the same thinking that teachers are absolutely critical to a child learning, and yet there is no way to measure that effect if it is used to set a teacher's compensation.

    Or that the government needs to do something about the collapse in housing prices, and also address the crisis of affordable housing.

  • ||

    its like those Chinese finger cuffts - pull apart they get tighter, but pusher together and they don't get no looseer...

    Borrowing is income, debt is wealth...
    you know, I could go along with printing money and giving it away...to me!

  • Pip||

    "its like those Chinese finger cuffts - pull apart they get tighter, but pusher together and they don't get no looseer..."

    Tricky bastards.

  • AdamJ||

    The housing prices / affordable housing conundrum is my favorite example of government retardation.

  • Lefty Fellator||

    But...but...he had to spend trillions to bring us out of the mess he inherited from Bush!

    The Free Market™ got us into this mess, too!

    Did I miss any typical phrases?

  • ||

    Roads?

  • Anomalous||

    Drink!

  • ||

    Yes, you failed to mention "deregulation."

  • ||

    Also failed to mention the Clinton surplus.

    Oops, I meant the Clinton "surplus."

  • ||

    Magical Mystery Magnifier!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Tax expenditures! Corporate jets! Pay your fair share! Eat your Band-Aids! Pee!

    Or something like that.

  • AdamJ||

    Trains! Cost curves! Rebuild America! Gays shouldn't marry! War! No more drugs on the backs of the American people!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That list is just as fucked-up, Adam.

  • Lefty Fellator||

    OK, anything you glibertarians believe probably caused the deficit and debt crises. There!

  • NoTalentAssclown||

    FOR TEH CHILDRENZ?!?!!?

  • Tony||

    Hey! Leave my other handle alone!

  • NoTalentAssclown||

    LOL

  • duh||

    Did I miss any typical phrases?

    Yes: "I,I,I,Me,Me,Me"

  • Tony's Mommy||

    ... which, of course, promptly begs the logical follow-up question: what in Cthulhu's name would be the conceivable rationale for re-electing someone that self-admittedly hapless, flailing and incapable, really...?

    No response from Obama's ever-loyal Team Tongue Bath (Tony, MNG, etc.)?

    The phrase "damned by silence" does suggest itself, here. Just sayin'.

  • cw||

    Typical left behaves typically.

  • O2||

    the teapartiers hold the same principles on wednesday as monday...no matter what happens on tuesday.

  • Mr. Obvious||

    Principles, how do they fucking work?

  • Shorter O2||

    Principles? What are those?

  • Phlogistan||

    Principles are Government Employee's who fill in students test answers.

  • Shorter O2||

    Hey now, that's "principals," you illiterate twit. Wait, did I miss the point?

  • fish||

    Wait, did I miss the point?

    If you have to ask.....

  • Mainer||

    princi"pal" is the leader of a school or money you borrow, because the leader and the money are your "pal".

    I don't have a mnemonic for principle, just remember it's the other one.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "Principle" ends in "le" just like "rule" ends in "le."

  • ||

    While we're at it, it's "employees" with no apostrophe. Guess I missed the point too.

  • ||

    While we're at it, it's "employees" with no apostrophe. Guess I missed the point too.

  • O2||

    unchanging principles regardless of circumstance means manslaughter and murder are the same.

  • OO||

    but, but, but...thou shalt not killz

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: O2,

    unchanging principles regardless of circumstance means manslaughter and murder are the same.


    Up is down.

    Expediency and pragmatism, instead, lead to better worlds.

    Just ask the Ukrainians...

  • O2||

    so manslaughter and murder ARE the same?

  • Pip||

    To the victim, yeah.

  • cw||

    We're all just saying that principles don't (or at least shouldn't) change from day to day, like you implied above.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: O2,

    so manslaughter and murder ARE the same?


    Can the person be brought back from the death in the case of one compared to the other?

    No?

    Then fuck off, double-asshole.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    They are both punishable because the principle is that you have no right to kill another person unless acting in self defense. Having principles does not mean that you are incapable of distinguishing between two dissimilar sets of circumstances, it simply means that your response to the same set of circumstances should remain consistent (i.e. corporate welfare is wrong, whether being awarded to me or to someone else).

  • Trident||

    In both cases the victim is dead. Both are crimes. Both are violent. Both are immoral. Both are punished.

    The only difference is the degree of punishment on the basis of the amount of prior intent.

    Nothing more.

    The amount of differences in principle from one issue to the next, only count in so far as there is a difference in the nature on that to which the principles apply.

    That is why to libertarians, for instance, theft is theft no matter what costume the thief wears, how many non-victims (even if it is 300 million of them) support the robbery of a victim, and what excuse he gives for such robbery under the threat of violence or imprisonment.

    That is why there is much less difference between murder and manslaughter, than there is between murder and self-defense resulting in lethal consequences to the attacker.
    Because there is a difference in the NATURE of the violence. Principles change accordingly.

    If the nature of something isn't substantially different, then neither is the principle that is applied.

    Get it?

    That was the end of today's lesson about principles.

  • TMF||

    Well said

  • .||

    so manslaughter and murder ARE the same?

    They're both homicide, I believe.

  • .||

    unchanging principles regardless of circumstance means manslaughter and murder are the same.

    Bullshit.

  • Carston||

    Ahh, so focus on results rather than intent. Sounds rather sane to me.

  • Las Vegas Plumber||

    excellent read. i was captivated about 84% of the way through!

  • Ska||

    Did you get dishonorably discharged, or kicked out of the Halls of Justice, man?

  • MiNgE||

    The MSM being liberal is just a meme. Or talking points. Whatever.

  • Joe M||

    Weird, it's almost like the mainstream media has a liberal bias... NAHHHH.

  • O2||

    weird, its almost like RW media bubble has a murdock bias

  • cw||

    Yes, my own pusillanimous mind can't possibly think without input from the great Murdoch clan (or should I write "klan").

  • OO||

    same w the lub-rahl msm

  • Trident||

    So?

    Go complain with neocons. We have no more use for them than their so-called "enemy" the liberals in the two-party sham.

  • Old Mexican||

    Hey, what happened to people of conviction? Aren't the Tea Partiers "firebrands"? Isn't there little doubt where their hearts lie?


    Are you suggesting the media is partisan?

    Say it ain't so, Shoeless! Say it ain't so!

  • Pip||

    This is why I think Hinkle is a hack writer. He just regurgitates the obvious.

  • cw||

    I believe, also, spending has risen 32 percent since The Great One® took office. But what's a few trillion here, a few trillion there? It's all Monopoly money, anyway.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    I have no idea what Wayne Gretzky's politics are, but I would still take him over the current (or previous) Douchenozzle-In-Chief in a heartbeat.

  • the really real double o||

    douchnozzle is musto-speak over at the vv. have a gay ol time in hell

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Que?

  • Wayne Gretzky||

    You can tell Al Gore that if he uses my hockey stick one more time to try and bullshit us into believing in Global Warming, I'm gonna shove it up his fat ass.

  • ||

    You can tell Al Gore that if he uses my hockey stick one more time to try and bullshit us into believing in Global Warming, Dave Semenko is gonna shove it up his fat ass.

    FIFY.

  • CE||

    the dispute is whether to raise federal spending from the current $3.8 trillion to $4.7 trillion over the next decade (the Paul Ryan plan)—or to $5.7 trillion (the Obama plan).

    How about cutting back to the $2.7 trillion we spent in FY2007, less than 5 years ago? I don't recall widespread starvation and dangerously small levels of government spending back then.

    How about just returning to the pre-bailout spending levels? Weren't the bailouts a one-time thing, to save us from an economic apocalypse? No?

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear. Returning to 2007 speding levels will result in granny being pushed off a cliff. And Bush drove the economy onto a ditch. Thank you.

  • cw||

    Yes. And I believe you were the one who drove the economy into a ditch.

  • Mainer||

    while drinking a Slurpee

  • cw||

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=KucV8renOfI

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • cw||

    I have to add: if you drove your metaphorical car into a ditch, wouldn't you have to put it in reverse to get out? I think putting it in drive would keep you stuck. Just a little observation.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    I have to add: if you drove your metaphorical car into a ditch, wouldn't you have to put it in reverse to get out?

    No, no, no. "R" stands for Reverse AND for Raaaaaaaaacist, you see.

  • cw||

    Oh, I see. Dammit, bamboozled again!

  • Obama||

    Sorry, the damn teleprompter broke again.

  • Trident||

    Pushing granny of a cliff?

    So in other words, those doctors informing older patients of the euthanasia-option, as per the Obamacare bill, is already starting to work?

    Well, congratulation are in order, then.

  • OO||

    pushing granny off a cliff ruinz TEH SOYLANT GREENZ !

  • ||

    After the Republicans drove the economy into a ditch the country called the Barack Obama Towing and Repair Service. The repairman came out to the scene, surveyed the situation, rolled up his sleeves, lifted the hood, and...proceeded to "fix the problem" by whacking on the engine with a sledge hammer. Really all we needed was a quick tow back onto the road. Now we are in a ditch with a busted economy. And the repairman presenting us with an outsized bill for "services rendered".

  • Tony||

    Because we shouldn't make policy based on arbitrary numbers you pulled from your ass.

  • Barack||

    Yeah, that's my job, asshole.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Your personal fetishes are none of our business, Tony.

  • Joe Biden||

    Because we shouldn't make policy based on arbitrary numbers you pulled from your ass.

    MAKE UP YOUR MIND, GODDAMMIT!!!

  • Joe Biden||

    The more taxes you pay, the more patriotic you are!

  • CE||

    Is the Tea Party Crazy or Just Nuts?

    You left out the part about the bat guano.

  • anon||

    violent too, obviously

  • cw||

    Attempted threadjack:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2....._in_Israel

    "Protests against rising house prices in Israel continue, with thousands gathering in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."

    Moral of the story: Price signals, how do they work?

  • Abdul||

    Who'd pay such prices in that neighborhood!

  • Pip||

    and such tiny houses!

  • DLM||

    "not interested in governing."

    I think they mean 'ruling'.

  • Mainer||

    win

  • Jim||

    There was a good article on Mises.org just yesterday dealing with this same theme (not the obvious media bias against them, but the debt issue).

    The problem is, pretty much everyone, including the political classes and the public at large, have fully accepted the existence and necessity of the welfare-state. Hence the complete silence about actually phasing out entitlements, and all the focus on "reform" and making them "sustainable" (from both reps and dems).

    Until a majority of people turn against getting "free" money from the gov't, there is no answer, and nothing will change in any fundamental fashion. Even the TP (largely) isn't talking about really rolling back gov't; just limiting future growth, which assumes the continued existence of the welfare-state. In other words, "fraud, waste, and abuse! (along with foreign aid, which many believe makes up a far larger percentage of the budget than it actually does), and "don't touch my medicare!"

  • cw||

    Agreed. Seeing that Tea Partier with the "Don't Touch My Medicare!" placard made me die a little inside. Not to mention I'll bet a good majority of them don't wont to touch defense spending. Maybe they'll at least agree to change the DoD back to the Department of War. That'd be something.

  • Hidden Bek||

    I thought that TPer yelled it out verbally? In any case, could it be that in a movement of millions there are some without a complete understanding of the principles for which they fight? Or that it was a political act meant to get on the Democrats level (turn their own constituencies against them?)

    I also just thought that the naming of Medicare itself was an insidious act. It is almost homophonous with "medical care" and I can see why someone might link the two and did not MEAN the actual government program. In fact, if one thinks about the context of the TP fight against Obamacare, that's what one might have always concluded.

    It's also true that the halfway decent Medicare D (is that right?) that used somewhat private means was going to be closed down (of course) under Obamacare. Meh, I didn't put too much stock in it and I always thought it could have been a government propaganda caused slip of the mind.

  • H man||

    The true irony behind that is the fact that the richer the nation the less need for government but the richer the nation the more governement can be afforded. Revealed preference and all that.

  • Trident||

    Don't they say "back to 2008 levels"?

    Oh yes, back to those completely reasonable Dubya levels of government spending and size.

    10 trillion dollars debt ain't too bad. But 14 trillion? That's just plain sick.

  • CE||

    All of the budget numbers are online here:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

    Here's a summary showing that the problem is entirely due to increased spending:

    FY receipts outlays (in trillions)
    2001 $1.99 $1.86
    2002 $1.85 $2.01
    2003 $1.78 $2.16
    2004 $1.88 $2.29
    2005 $2.15 $2.47
    2006 $2.41 $2.66
    2007 $2.57 $2.73
    2008 $2.52 $2.98
    2009 $2.10 $3.52
    2010 $2.16 $3.46
    2011 $2.17 $3.82 (estimated)
    2012 $2.63 $3.73 (estimated)

    From FY2001 to FY2011, tax revenues increased by $180 billion, an increase of 9 percent, despite the Bush/Obama tax cuts and a major recession or two.

    In that same time of just ten years, federal spending increased by $1.96 trillion, an increase of 105% -- more than double.

  • The Other Kevin||

    This is how you know our resident trolls who talk about raising taxes on the rich are not serious. If you use 2011 numbers, to close the gap the government would have to bring in 76% more revenue. You can DEFINITELY get that much from just a few rich guys, right?

  • Mike M.||

    To the contrary, the dispute is whether to raise federal spending from the current $3.8 trillion to $4.7 trillion over the next decade (the Paul Ryan plan)—or to $5.7 trillion (the Obama plan).

    Which ought to tell any reasonably fair-minded person that Obama is the problem here; he is the true intransigent ideologue that doesn't want to make anything even approaching a serious and responsible deal.

    If it weren't for the TEA Party this debate wouldn't even be going on right now; the debt ceiling would have been raised months ago and we would already be well on our way to $16 trillion and beyond.

  • rather||

    So one side calls the other insane, and yours call POTUS Jesus.
    It's a tie for male stupidity

  • cw||

    We've labeled him "Jesus" in a mocking way, whereas the left truly believes those who actually want to cut government spending and reign in its numerous mandates are "insane." There is a difference.

  • cw||

    And I guess there's not much to say about the misandry in your post.

  • Barack||

    As Jojo indicated above, I prefer Jug-Eared Jesus. Get it right, biatch.

  • seguin||

    I wouldn't be too haughty about male stupidity. It's sexually transmitted.

  • A Serious Man||

    Do we really need an article to tell us that American liberals are full of shit? I mean the number of blogs comparing the Norway shooter to the Tea Party is evidence enough of their bitchy partisan nature.

  • OO||

    that's as extreme as saying "several blogs" = "american liberals"

  • O2||

    sorry, meant "the number of blogs" = "american liberals"

  • Trident||

    "Welfare for big corporations should disappear entirely before the first dollar of welfare for poor individuals is touched."

    Class warfare verbiage from a free market libertarian. How pathetic.
    What's the matter, Hinkle? Got a bunch of liberal friends you don't want to alienate too much?

    Theft is theft. And if you TRULY believe all welfare should go, then it certainly wouldn't matter a damn if you start now or 100 years from now. Some guy in the lower class is going to stop getting welfare either way.

    Of course, it *does* matter, if you think that indeed corporate welfare will be cut whereas welfare for the poor will most likely never be. Then you can take the safe route of advocating the abolition of welfare across the board "in the end" while simultaneously covering your ass vis-a-vis your liberal friends that while welfare for the poor will never really be cut, in the meantime, you HAVE supported corporate welfare cuts.

    Neat trick. If only a bit transparent.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Then again, if the Republicans had the balls to step up and reform the tax code to flatten it and remove ALL deductions, credits and subsidies (while lowering rates) they would completely hoist the Dems on their own petards. If you remove the class warfare talking point about special tax breaks and special treatment, Dems will be forced to admit that the only thing that they have to offer is more spending and more wealth redistribution. Without their favorite class warfare talking points to prop them up, would you then be able to elect more free market candidates, who would then be able to make the other cuts as needed? I don't know, but I would like to see it tried.

  • Trident||

    Hey, i'm on board.

    I was just pointing out a Reason writer using class warfare rhetoric by talking about them evil rich folk getting welfare, instead of the immorality of the welfare concept itself.
    Call me nit-picky, but i just don't like demagogic poor vs. rich rhetoric on a blog claiming to be libertarian-leaning.
    If i wanted that, i'll go to Huffington Post instead.

  • Everett ||

    or the dems could refuse to "admit" anything and just lie. Or even better claim credit like Bill Clinton.

    Not a reason to avoid doing the right thing, of course.

  • Hidden Bek||

    Haven't they tried to broach the subject of both flat taxes (Dick Armey) and even had the two-tiered 'almost flat' plan and a national sales tax? The Democrats STILL use class warfare because anytime a rich person ostensibly benefits they will cry bloody murder.

    To say nothing of the idea that that 50 percent that now doesnt pay taxes but gets tax revenue in some fashion will still be mad at a flat tax idea.

    I mean, the Republicans and Libertarians have spent decades demonizing the IRS and everyone hates it, yet when did you see a successful push to change it.

    To say nothing of Bush's attempt to take on Social Security that was demagogued to destruction and failure.

    You act like the Left is ever going to start playing by the rules. Not a chance. The 'cause' is all, that's the difference between even the socons and Team Reds that we can't stand--they may be statists but at least they're upfront about it and don't play by Leninist rules of debate.

  • snark Snark||

    I am sure if all tea partiers dropped dead, these publications would say a nice thing or too as well.

  • Trident||

    You might think so.

    But i even doubt they would be gracious enough for that.

  • ||

    No, I think he's right. As soon as some other movement arose with the intention (no matter how vaguely) of limiting the size and scope of government, you could count on the media to tell us how this movement is genuinely evil, unlike "those nice Tea Parties".

  • Trident||

    Well, okay.
    If you put it that way, i must agree.
    They are always looking to make the opponent look scarier, even if they need to portray the previous movement as more moderate.

    It fits within the "even Ronald Reagan thought..." lame excuse.

  • NotSure||

    The path to prosperity is to reward losers and accumulate ever bigger debt, the people who support this call their opponents insane.

  • mng||

    The media praises far-left politicians while demonizing advocates of limited government

    You lie!

  • Trident||

    Is the article supposed to be a confirmation of the thing that any non-liberal has known for god knows how long?
    Although it is probably better to state that the MSM simply supports their side of this fraudulent "battle". Fox and Wall Street Journal on the right, MSNBC and NYT on the left.

    As far as liberals go, the meaning of "progressive" is to never be satisfied and fight anything that stops them from progressing as quickly as they'd like.
    The friendly public face of liberalism is...well, liberalism.
    The true, hidden face is state communism.

    Just ask yourself, what would liberals do if only non-liberals would get completely out of the way. Then tell me they are not really a bunch of totalitarian crypto-commies merely pretending to be moderate.

    The bile cascading down from them over the Tea Party for merely suggesting a slow down in Leviathan's gluttony should say more than enough.

  • Hidden Bek||

    Big ups on that post. Been saying it since I've been politically aware. I still think libertarians can make a dent with all but the most statist socons, even the Nat Review editors called for a change/end to the Drug War (which really only brings them back to Buckley, one would think.)

    An addendum to your media note: Groseclose's study and subsequent book on media bias demonstrates that the WSJ editorial page only is right, the actual news content is slighty left. Fox is more centrist than right, overall and surprisingly NPR is less left-biased than one would think based on Juan Williams treatment.

    We're so used to slanted news and journalism that in a 'sane' world, the 'center' resembles the 'right-wing' to us.

    The study was done some years ago, so I imagine the increase in punditry-based shows might have swung outlets more in one direction or another.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "But to say this is not (as some on the left have snidely suggested) to argue that big business and the rich should not help solve the debt problem. They certainly should—and programs benefitting the well-off should be first on the chopping block: farm subsidies, export promotion, and so on. Welfare for big corporations should disappear entirely before the first dollar of welfare for poor individuals is touched"

    Nonsense.

    It should all go away at exactly the same time.

    There is no such thing as anyone being more 'deserving" of a subsidy than anyone else under any circumstances.

  • Trident||

    The way Hinkle thinks:

    A rich guy steals his wallet one day.
    A poor guy steals his wallet 100 days later.
    Gee, who does Hinkle think should return his property first?

    Only correct answer: both of them!

  • .||

    How does the poor guy steal his wallet before the rich guy returns it?

  • Trident||

    He bought a new wallet, of course.
    Do you really think thieves bring wallets back?

  • seguin||

    Canadian ones? I hear they give back change too.

  • ||

    Neither media employees nor the public at large can see the long-term, second-order, benefits of a libertarian-minded approach to such things as government spending. Arguing that less government largess is in the public's best interest over government supplied benefits right now is just too far over their heads.

  • Tony||

    Nothing good can come from extremist right-wing movements, and we should stop expecting it to.

  • the hutaree||

    dont move commie

  • Trident||

    Correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't you lefties already not expecting anything good to come from extreme right wing movements?

    So what other lefties here are you trying to convince of something that has been talked about in your party offices for centuries now?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    He said there was no such thing as left-wing extremists.

    Well, it might have been an impersonator, but Team Blue does view itself that way; there's only the far-right, and Top. Men.

  • Tony||

    That was an impersonator; however, left-wing extremists are not your problem right now. You can barely get a camera to an anti-war rally, and that's hardly a far-left cause. But if Sarah Palin farts, forget about it.

  • Who can tell?||

    The impersonator's pretty damn good!

  • Trident||

    Why would left-wing extremists not be my problem?

    Obama has collected a whole bunch of them and made them czars.

  • Trident||

    And why haven't i seen Sarah Palin farting on camera?

    It would certainly beat hearing her talk.

  • shared sacrifice||

    I'd rather listen to Palin's voice than blowhard Obozo's.

  • Mainer||

    I'd rather listen to Palin fart than blowhard Obama.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'd fuck Palin.

    Obama can go fuck himself.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    But neither should be president.

  • ابداع ويب||

    I Like It

  • OO||

    there's one of 'em. get him

  • A Reasonable Man||

    The tea baggers are not only crazy but raaaaacist!!! I know cuz the NAACP wing of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media say so.

    I'm not exactly sure how racism is at all related to advocating for limited government but whatever. I had an interesting little debate last fall with two long term friends, both educated professionals, who have been totally duped by the tea party racism BS. Advocating for limited government living within its means has become equated with racism. Yes, that's why were doomed - even educated Americans are political imbeciles.

  • Tony||

    When wealth inequality is as absurdly high as it is in this country, and your entire platform is dedicated to maintaining and worsening it, it helps your mindset when the worst of it falls on brown people.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So, let's go with this meme of yours.

    The IRS fleeces a random millionaire, and takes exactly one million dollars from him.

    How much of that million would actually wind up in the pockets of the poor, and if so, how much would each poor person get?

    "Here's a nickel... we ransacked Mister Moneybags down the road from here. No need to thank us."

    Or, we could pick a random billionaire... and give people quarters instead of nickels.

    Point is, Tony... how much of that largesse would actually wind up as foldin' change in the pocket of someone in Section 8 housing or a hobo's rucksack?

    I will check back in later for your trite answer. In the meantime, I'm off to Part Time Job #2.

  • Tony||

    What's the point in debating this with you. If you're defending the current distribution of wealth, when it's at the most unequal it's been in anyone's lifetime, when are you ever going to say that circumstances have been unfair to the middle class and poor? When are you ever going to stop licking the boots of rich people? The answer is never, because you're an ideologue who thinks one solution to every problem everywhere and at all times.

    Wealth inequality is a fundamental problem in this country, not least because it leads to political inequality. But you guys will never be able to even claim it is a problem, because for reasons that evade comprehension you assume that all wealth amassed by wealthy people was earned and should stay where it is, even as you assume all sorts of nefarious motivations on the part of the poor.

  • Jack||

    And rich people are only rich because they walked on the little people, not because they worked their asses off for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week to build their business to a point it was self-sustaining and wealth creating...and job creating.

    *pffft*...you base your point on saying that wealth distribution is the most unequal that it has ever been. Equal wealth distribution would be I take $100 from everyone, use 50% of it to defend the nation, etc. and return $50 back to everyone.

  • Tony||

    Sorry, nobody worked 1000 times harder than his employee today than they did 40 years ago.

    Besides, keep your Protestant bullshit off my body. We do not structure tax policy based on how virtuous you think people are.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Fat taxes... helmet and seat-belt laws... trans-fat bans... smoking bans and taxes on tobacco...

    Pot... kettle. Just replace "Protestant laws off my body" with "Team Blue meddling in your lives based on THEIR version of Protestant laws".

  • Tony||

    Those have less to do with an arbitrary assessment of virtue than with public health.

  • But...||

    ...virtue is a morality-based word.

    You're trying to have it both ways.

    And don't tell us the laws/regulations/taxes listed above don't mostly come from your side of the aisle.

  • Christian Right||

    Hey! We only want to keep the fags from getting married, and throw people in prison for a few pot seeds in their car ashtrays!

  • Secular Left||

    Well, we DO co-opt Christianity, but only to fool religious-minded folk into believing we actually "care" about keeping brothers, or what the fuck ever.

    It's all about getting more people on the dole... and once we set the hook and they get that sweet welfare heroin in their veins, their bitch-asses belong to us.

    THAT, is our holy word.

  • Jack||

    Tony...you obviously have never tried to be wealthy. I have owned several businesses. Some have been successful...others not so much. That's life. But when I work my ass off to make my business successful only to have the government suck the life out of it by taxing me up to the eyeballs, I think I have a say in it. This has nothing to do with how virtuous I think people are. This has to do with how virtuous I think I am and how virtuous I want to be with the pittance the government allows me to keep. Or to not be virtuous at all and keep every fucking dime I make in a free fucking country...

    Don't...feed...the...troll...must...stop...typing...

  • Tony||

    So did you just make all that up or what? What taxes have you been subjected to that are so onerous?

    Perhaps you just couldn't hack it. It's not the government's job to make sure you make a profit. Same goes for any other existing private enterprise. They get to operate on government's terms, not the other way around. Nobody elected you or your business to do anything.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    That's the whole point, dickhead. There are no guarantees of success in business. When someone puts up their house to obtain the capital for a new business, they are assuming a huge risk for an uncertain return. Then in steps the government, which not only increases their costs of doing business though burdensome regulation (making business failure more likely), but in the event that the business does succeed, they are hit with demagoguery and punitive taxes for being evil rich guys.

    If the Dems really gave a shit about the poor then they would end the war on drugs, abolish the minimum wage, end corporate welfare (e.g. subsidies for oil AND for wind and solar) and massively deregulate the economy. Give the little guy a chance to become one of the big guys - don't cut his legs out from under him and throw him a little government cheese to keep him compliant.

  • Older Tony||

    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  • wait no||

    "wealth inequality" is a socialist metric.

    And you have no idea how wealthy people made their money. Of course you have to fucking assume that people earned the wealth they have. And you actually seem to think you're the enlightened one, ironically.

    Do you also believe we don't need criminal trials because the accused are bound to be guilty of something?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'm glad I had a few extra minutes before going back to work... I have not been this entertained in, oh, several hours.

    You never fail to disappoint, Tony.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Plus, you didn't even answer my questions in my first post above. You're quite the Fred Astaire.

  • Tony||

    I don't care how they made their money. You guys are morality obsessed, not me. I care about having a fair and sustainable distribution of wealth.

    Why assume it was earned? What is earning? Is gaming the system in your favor just another clever business tactic? Why then can't the poor do the same without being called parasites?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Team Blue uses "my brother's keeper" and other Biblical/morality-based arguments about welfare, Tony.

    Team Red does similar shit.

    And the gullible just lap it up.

  • Tony||

    I think it's a mistake to argue for liberal policies based on morality. They sell themselves on economic prosperity alone.

  • Great idea!||

    Too bad liberal policies do nothing but perpetuate poverty.

  • Tony||

    When we try some we can test that theory.

  • Jesus Tap-dancing Christ||

    By My estimation, you idiot humans have been trying that for decades.

    "War on Poverty" not ring a bell?

    Now, if you'll excuse me, Gregory Hines and I are going to hit the boards. And two-three-four...

  • Tony||

    But that was an entirely different five-year plan!

  • Trident||

    That's like saying it's good for my health of you take half of my blood because i don't need all of it anyway.

    There is no such thing as liberal "prosperity" because prosperity means you make money, not steal it and just recirculate it after sticking a percentage in politician's pockets for salaries and expenses.

  • Hidden Bek||

    The irony in Cain's line is that he's using it to mean that he's not his brother's OVERSEER or shepherd, thus Abel can come and go as he wishes without Cain's "leave." So when they say they are their brother's keeper..ooooh boy, they're giving away a lot.

    BTW, Team Red and Blue stuff can be a little simplistic. The fascination with various forms of Marxian and non-Marxian socialism, statism, etc has led to right-wing strains and "Social Gospel" and the like.

    And political expedience. It's just easier to say you will stop subsidies to a group of businesses than to say TOMORROW you're taking a kid and his mom off AFDC. Private charity would likely not be able to handle that load and our society has been so mired in collectivist, statist nonsense that it would take years to recover that private sector initiative.

    I think a national minimum income would be better and less distorting and require far less government (workers, regs, laws) than this targeted and parceled welfare state we have now.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Why assume it was earned? What is earning?

    You're so beyond even the broadest possible parody at this point, you're actually generating your own event horizon.

    Congratulations, I suppose.

  • Knutsack||

    I just want to know what Tony's definition of "fair" is. Can he put a number on it?

  • Tony||

    [::gesturing at everything, everywhere::]

    "MINE."

  • Jack||

    "I care about having a fair and sustainable distribution of wealth."

    ...and therein lies the rub. Steal money from people, by force if necessary, and give it to other people, whether they could have made a decent living on their own or not.

    This statement by you Tony indicates that:

    a) You have sucked money from those people who have worked hard for what they have.

    or

    b) You've never really made enough to have to pay any of those substantial tax rates that the "rich" have to pay. You've never looked at your tax returns and thought WTF?!

    or

    c) You have made a lot of money and just think everyone should share their money with everyone. Essentially, basing your reasoning on your own *morality*.

  • Tony||

    The richest 400 people in this country own 60% of the assets. I don't give a fuck if they are Jesus-like in their virtue. That distribution is in itself a wrong that must be corrected--nobody earned that much, they just took it. Which is exactly how you'd characterize it if a poor person received enough to prevent starvation. Spare me the whining. If you can't hack it on government's terms that's your problem.

  • DrSleuss||

    Tony not only are you a stupid statist fuck. You are a stupid statist fuck who cannot take the time to do a quick google search before spouting off on a bullshit statistic without determining if you are even in the ballpark of being correct.

    Total assets of richest 400 Americans 2010: about 550billion

    Total US assets: About 55 trillion.

    They actually own about 1%.
    Stupid fuck.

  • twv||

    I've long been intrigued by people obsessed with "distribution" as an array, a condition that can be analyzed and spoken of statistically, but not with "distribution" as a process. An alleged fact (not a fact, actually) about a pattern of wealth is judged "in itself a wrong that must be corrected" and that judgment is preceded by a lack of interest in the virtue of the owners of part of that wealth - the virtue depending, I would think, on whether the wealth was justly acquired. THEN, in blatant contradiction, the author says that "nobody earned that much, they just took it" - as if that were a definitional truth. Well, it is if you have no interest in the virtue or vice of the owners. Having it both ways - the logical process of the leftist critique of inequality has long interested me. Obviously, a great deal of passion is there. But, every time I look at it, self-contradictions of super-Marxian proportions emerge.

    My way of putting it nicely.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    [...] you're an ideologue who thinks one solution to every problem everywhere and at all times.

    It's Wholly Unintentional Irony Day, here at the Reason boards! DRINK!!!

  • Trident||

    Yes, we're all sure the sacks of money will be unending as all the fat cats start realizing that creating wealth is worthy of punishment and derision, and that making lots of money simply means losing lots of it, if liberals had a say about it.

    I wonder what lovely excuses the poor and/or their defenders would have if they have no cash cows to extract any more welfare from.
    But improving chances of prosperity for the poor is not really the point, is it Tony?
    The point is equal misery.
    So what if there would actually be nothing left to redistribute. Equality at last. The ideology of pathetic envy.

    I wonder why countries with communist regimes always ended up as ratholes that lifted nobody from their misery?

  • Tony||

    So since everything you believe about liberal motivation is wrong, does that mean your policy ideas are too?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "you're an ideologue who thinks one solution to every problem everywhere and at all times"

    So... when your pat answer is to raise taxes and grow government, that *isn't* because "you're an ideologue who thinks one solution to every problem everywhere and at all times".

    Pot... kettle. Either we're both right, or we're both wrong. It can't be any other way.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I forgot "tax expenditures", the term Team Blue has been using to try to flim-flam the wealth-envy crowd into believing money not collected = cost.

    Jesus, that's the most Orwellian bullshit I've heard in years.

  • Tony||

    No I don't care about "growing government." That's your framing. It spends too much on some things and too little on others. Every sane person can agree with this; only ideologues say cut it all and cut it now, whether we're in growth or recession.

  • Tony's String-Pullers||

    Tony,

    YOU don't care about growing government, but WE do.

    Shut the fuck up, or you'll wind up getting audited.

    Sincerely,

    Your Congresspeople

  • The Man||

    Cat's out of the bag now... but not to worry, for My Plans will ensure the destruction of capitalism and freedom.

    Be patient, My minions. If My current thrall, Barack, doesn't get The Job done, I will make sure My next thrall does - even if I decide it will be a Republican.

  • Tony||

    It's such a nefarious plan that taxes are at historic lows and corporate profits at historic highs.

  • Oh, here we go again!||

    It's all about the tax hikes, isn't it?

    Do you REALLY believe we can dig our way out of the muck with just hiking taxes on the rich by three cents on the dollar?

    No... it won't, but you'll *feel* better.

  • Rob||

    ....."taxes are at historic lows". Before The Progressive Statists came to power, they were MICROSCOPIC. Of course, that was when the government stayed reasonably within the confines of The Constitution.

  • Ezra Klein||

    The Constitution

    What, THAT old thing...?

  • Tony||

    We can cut the deficit in half in 10 years just by letting the Bush cuts expire on schedule. That tells me you have a large burden of proof for why we should change the law again to sustain them, if you care about debt that is.

  • Trident||

    Low theft and high earnings.

    Oh the humanity.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I see he left. Gosh. I am hurt.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    BTW, it should read "even as you assume all sorts of nefarious motivations on the part of those who claim to represent the poor, but only do what they do to keep themselves in power and broaden the voter base.

    NOW, I hafta go to work. Thanks to Obama, I had to get a part-time evening gig. You're welcome, Barry.

  • Barry Obama||

    Higher energy and gas taxes are for your own good, peasant.

    But if you don't make enough money, just ask me, and I'll pay your mortgage and fuel up your hillbilly truck with gas. Just like I promised that woman before I got elected.

    Nah... I'm just messin' with'cha. I really don't give half a shit about you; it's all about ME.

  • Michelle Obama||

    Barry... can I speak with you? In private? With this rolling pin?

  • Adrian||

    To pull the curtain back on why this is all happening, check out The Long Road Home article on whenaisa

    whenaisa.blogspot.com

  • Adrian||

    To pull the curtain back on why this is all happening, check out The Long Road Home article on whenaisa

    whenaisa.blogspot.com

  • ||

    I didn't find this article very interesting. Basically, it said, "the MSM is still dominated by the left." Not exactly news.

  • Tony||

    If by "the left" you mean people reasonable enough not to equate Paul Wellstone with the Tea Party.

    Does it never occur to you guys that there is such a thing as a false equivalence? Just because there exist right-wing extremists doesn't mean everyone on the other side is equally extreme. The idea is just improbable.

    The media is not dominated by the left. It's dominated by businesspeople. But carry on, grievance politics are useful for those with inferior ideas.

  • Self-Parody Police||

    Sir, do you know why I stopped you?

  • ||

    My biggest laugh of the day.

  • scarpe Nike Store||

    is good

  • ||

    Mark Meckler, the Sacramento attorney who with his partner organized the first Tax Day Tea Party here at the Capitol and went on to organize nation-wide, had a meeting with the presumptive Speaker-to-be Boehner after the election.

    Mark laid out the Tea Party goals as regarded spending, the budget, the debt and the size of government. When he was done, Boehner burst out laughing and said in effect it wasn't gonna happen.

    If we can't get establishment Republicans behind us, we're hardly going to get the pundit class to support us nor anyone in the Democratic caucus members of which trash us on a regular basis.

    Guess we'll have to go out and win some more elections.

    And you're right, we oppose corporate welfare in all its forms and want to see it among the first spending to go. I personally would see a reduction in the corporate tax rate to something reasonable and an end to most deductions and credits and all subsidies (we still would need to deal with things like capital investment). Such probably scares the crap out of the crony capitalists on both sides of the aisle.

  • ||

    I'll take my definition of sanity over that of anyone living within 100 miles of either coast. Perhaps breathing salt water does something to the mind.

  • Some Guy||

    advocates of limited government

    If only the Tea Party had more than a handful of those...

  • nike dunk||

    is good

  • ||

    One, probably minor, point is that on the one hand you talk about people eulogizing a dead senator and on the other hand you talk about the commentary today, in the heat of the debate. I'm pretty sure if we looked back to when he was still alive and serving there wouldn't have been a lot of love shown for Senator Wellstone either. I agree that it's unfortunate when either side of a debate is demonized, however this is not the first time this kind of thing has happened and I'm sure it won't be the last.

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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