Guest Blogging: Matt Robinson
Barack Obama's election and relentless pursuit of health care reform led to the emergence of a new political movement -- the "Tea Party" -- which claims the Obama presidency is reckless and irresponsible in its spending. Their evidence is quite limited and includes the new health care law, priced at $940 billion over 10 years, or $94 billion per year. Never mind the fact that the costs of the health care law are paid for without adding a penny to the national debt.
What I'd like to know from any "Tea Party" member is ... where were you during the Bush administration? The costs of the war in Iraq are now $721 billion over seven years, or $103 billion per year, more than the health care law. And all of the war costs under President Bush were paid for using emergency appropriations outside of the normal budget process. Thus every penny spent on the Iraq war is added to the national debt!
Perhaps "Tea Party" members see war and health care reform as apples and oranges. I agree. The health care bill pays for itself and helps people, while the war adds to the debt and kills people! Assuming we just ignore the war, though, what about President Bush's Medicare expansion in 2003? This law costs $720 billion over 10 years, or $72 billion per year, and every penny of the costs were added on to the national debt. Yet this did not upset you enough to form a "Tea Party" movement.
And what about the $700 billion bailout of big business by Bush? No "Tea Party" movement for that either (in fact, you guys seem to think it was Obama that organized the bailout!). Yet you attack Obama for the 2009 stimulus plan, priced at $787 billion. Criticisms of the stimulus aside, many economists say it did save our economy from a major depression, and it is even helping expand Highway 421 here in Boone!
Your lack of criticism of President Bush is clear proof that your criticism of President Obama is not rooted in principles such as small government or fiscal responsibility but instead in partisan ideology. In other words, you are out in the streets because Obama is a Democratic president, plain and simple. So spare us the "devotion to the Constitution."
Analysis of White house budget data shows that the three presidents who most added to the national debt were all Republicans, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Yet neither of the Bush administrations prompted a "Tea Party" movement, and you hold President Reagan up to be this godlike figure who supposedly stood for conservative values such as small government and fiscal responsibility. It is just not true.
Almost nothing the "Tea Party" members say can be taken seriously. I'd laugh out loud if it were not so scary and dangerous. There are thousands of angry and uninformed people who actually believe Obama is a socialist, a communist, a Muslim, a totalitarian dictator, a foreign citizen, and even the anti-Christ who wants the terrorists to win! And they're generating societal unease based on these absurd beliefs.
So I ask you again: Where were you during the Bush administration? And the other Bush administration? And the Reagan administration? And why do you believe these ridiculous things?
Additionally I am curious if you know that your movement is led by lobbyist-run think tanks including "Americans for Prosperity" and "FreedomWorks"? These groups are not about fiscal responsibility or small government. They are for getting Republicans elected, no matter what. It's just politics, plain and simple. Finally, why do you even call yourselves the "Tea Party"? You are citizens, and you have representation! So there's no need to dump tea in the harbor!