The Tea Party perhaps exemplifies the rapidly growing outrage felt by many. The Tea Party did not elect Scott Brown to take Ted Kennedy’s old seat in the Senate, but one could argue that this happened because their main complaints are shared by many others.
The health care reform bill is one of the Tea Party targets, but this rejection is shared by an assortment of opponents, including seniors worried that all of the changes promised by the reform will come at the cost of their benefits under Medicare. In fact, it now appears that the reform bill is opposed by many who simply are happy with their current health care and do not want to upset the cart.
But it is the economy and attempts to revive it that are the main focus of Tea Party types and many others. They complain that the Feds “bailed out the banks” at the expense of the taxpayer. This denies the reality that the TARP program successfully stabilzed our crushed financial system at no cost to the taxpayer. The funds used were borrowed by the Feds at as little as 1% interest, which they then loaned to the banks at a minimum of 6%. The funds have all been paid back with the Feds earning a tidy net profit. Even more interesting, the TARP funds used to salvage GM will now be paid back by GM by the middle of this year. Again, funds borrowed by the Feds at 1% will be repaid in full with interest of 6%, thus yielding a net profit for the Feds. However, instead of explaining how the TARP has not cost the taxpayer anything, but in fact has earned the Feds some money, President Obama promises to tax the banks to pay back the taxpayer.
The Tea Party joins a chorus of political voices from both the left and the right who see the Stimulus Plan as wasteful Fed spending that has not done anything to stop growing unemployment. Worse, they see it as simply increasing the Federal deficit and thus growing our national debt. They simply don’t understand how deficit spending by the Feds can save an economy wrecked by deficit spending by consumers. Of course explaining that the debt has simply moved from the private to the public ledger is too complex for these opponents of the Stimulus Plan to understand.
I see a strange alliance between the Tea Party and others from all sides of the political spectrum coalescing around a united opposition to Federal deficit spending. If, as many expect, President Obama introduces a second stimulus bill in his State of the Union address tonight, he will be throwing logs on the fire.