This editorial appeared in The Macon Telegraph.
The Tea Parties of '09 were a wonderful example of populist activism. They had a hook: April 15, a day most Americans dread because when the clock strikes midnight, tax returns had better be off to the Internal Revenue Service.
There was a secondary hook as well; The tea parties were able to tap into a sentiment that Americans are sick and tired of paying taxes on the local, state and federal levels. That's nothing new, but there are several factors that sparked this latest outrage.
The genesis of the tea parties began last September when then-President George W. Bush, a Republican, pushed through Congress a $700 billion "stimulus" package. Seems our good friends in the banking and investment industries had invented new ways to create bogus profits. When caught with their pants down around their ankles they asked Washington to send them a life line. The executives who managed to careen their companies into the ditch were paid handsomely for their efforts. Some reaped bonuses after Washington came running to the rescue.
As upsetting as that stimulus package was, I believe there is another core reason why thousands of people turned out for the 700 or more tea parties held throughout the country – and it had nothing to do with mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren.
During the Ronald Reagan years our debt went from about $85 billion to $255 billion. Not a tea party in sight – as a matter of fact, Reagan is viewed by some as the greatest president of the 20th century.
When Bush 41 took the deficit up to $399 billion during his final year in office, he hailed it as a victory. The year before the deficit hit $432 billion. Still no tea parties.
The Clinton years saw the deficit morph into a $128 billion surplus. No tea parties. No dancing in the streets. No waving of signs and rejoicing that our children's futures were secure. That's a good thing because the first year of George W. Bush's presidency that surplus turned into a $133 billion deficit. We hadn't seen nuthin' yet.
Last September the deficit had ballooned to more than $10 trillion. In eight years, no tea parties; hardly a mumbling word until the bailouts began last September. No one complained that a lame duck president, who kept war spending off the books – just like Wall Street accountants fiddled with their derivative Ponzi schemes – had royally screwed up.
So here we are. Folks are upset. Why now? The answer is simple. The people twirling tea bags and making signs and creating a big fuss – inspired by talk radio mavens – are really mad because they lost the November elections – and they lost to Barack Obama.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Macon Telegraph.