Drinking the Wrong Tea

“This tea tastes funny, Grandpa.” A comment from one of my grandsons yesterday at a Chinese restaurant. He and his brother were not used to the bitter taste of oolong.  It made me wonder about that set of tea-drinkers who have been publicly displaying their ignorance at local gatherings all across America lately.  Perhaps they’ve been drinking the wrong tea, too. Has the tea been adulterated, one might inquire, causing some mental retardation?

There have been a slew of recent comments on this blog from Sepp,  a self-identified tea party-goer who is challenging us non-drinkers.  He ‘believes’ that we are just a bunch of liberal Obama lackeys and are blinded by his aura so that we cannot see the real ‘problems’ that this nation faces.

The real problems.  Of course, the real problems are actually only one problem- too much damned taxation. These 21st century Boston patriot look-alikes probably don’t even know the real history behind that tea-dumping event but ASSumed that it was something about ‘taxation without representation.’ I defer to Laci for a remedial history lesson if he cares to educate the masses.

Taxes.  Too much.  Always too much for slurpers of the amber beverage. I find it odd [oddity #1] that their tax-dander never arose until President Obama came to office.  Were they asleep for the past decade or two? Why was it the Obama presidency that piqued their collective outrage? What did he do that mobilized the masses to action?

Oh sure, if you are one of those quarter-million-dollar earners and had been enjoying those low tax rates enacted by Bush, you might feel ‘cheated’ out of that discretionary spending fund that you had accumulated for those glorious 8 years under Bush.  Are those guys out in the streets in their Brooks Bros. suits waving placards? From what I’ve seen, the group looks like the J.C. Penny crowd or Walmart.

So if the Tea Party represents 18% of America as shown in the recent CBS/NYT survey and the +$250K households represent 2.5% of America, then 15.5% of the Tea Party activists did not see their taxes increase under the Obama budget.  In fact, they probably saw a tax decrease because 95% of Americans saw a tax decrease in their 2009 tax liability.

Why the whining?

Perhaps it is tax spending that bitters their tea.  Ah, yes, the tax and spend Democrats!  Our local tea party commenter gave us the spending data.  He wrote:

20% goes to the military
33% medicare, medicaid and “other” mandatory
21% social security
18% Non defense discretionary
8% toward the interest on the national debt

Here comes the problem [oddity #2] with those self-identified tea-partiers. The survey revealed that a large majority of them are receiving government benefits either as Social Security and/or Medicare.  They enjoy those entitlements. They don’t want THOSE programs cut back or altered.  No sir.  Don’t touch my government check.

OK, we won’t touch that 54% of the budget.

Then, where ought we ‘cut’ the spending.  Interestingly, as I type this morning, the CBS program, Sunday Morning is profiling the Tea Party.  Bang-off, the signs.  Lots of  ‘fascism’ signs and of course the misspelled anti-Obama signs.  Yet not a one that reads, “CUT DEFENSE SPENDING!”  Not one.  Patriots, you know.  The Military-Industrial Complex deserves all of the tax money it needs to ‘keep us safe.’  No Tea Party enthusiast would ever be caught holding one of those ANTI-MILITARY SPENDING signs. An American flag, yes!

How much for 2010? How about $663.7 billion.  That’s up 12.7% from fiscal 2009 because Obama included the two wars in his budget which Bush never did.  Two-thirds of a trillion dollars for ‘defense.’  What does America get for that kind of money?  Security.  Security from that other global threat and ‘evil’ empire fill in the blank    . Well, surely there is some threat out there…

Nope.  Nobody. Yet our defense budget is ½ of the world’s total defense budget.  Half. But not one single sign in the tea crowd calling for a cut in Defense allocations.  Not one.

So where do these people want to cut spending?  It must be in the remaining 25%.  Where else to cut if not Military, Social Security and Medicare?

How about Veterans, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Education, Energy, Housing…?  Were talking peanuts- pocket change.  Veterans is 7% of the Defense Budget.  Homeland Security- 6%.  Education- 7%.  Housing- 7%. Transportation 11%. Energy- 4%.

Pocket change.  Which of the above programs would yield ‘real’ cuts in taxes, tangible results?  I’m betting that they would love to fool around with Education and Housing and surely Science and the EPA.  Wow!  One can only ‘imagine’ the savings if these programs were cut or eliminated!

So there’s the conundrum: taxes and spending.  That’s part of their ‘anger.’  Yet, I think that these two things are a cover for their real anger.  What is actually seething inside of these older white, conservative men?  Only they know for sure. And we will never really know.

One final question.  As “fascism” signs are quite popular in Tea Party rallies, one might ask, Sarah Palin style-  “How’s that Military-Industrial Complex thingy goin’ for ya?”

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7 thoughts on “Drinking the Wrong Tea

  1. As Muckrake points out, the issue wasn’t taxes, but the fact that they were levied without representation in Parliament: Not that Boston is in a state which is nicknamed “Taxachusetts”. Likewise, Virginia has fairly high taxes as well.

    The taxes which were levied were actually much lower than in Britain at the time of the War for Independence.

    The real issue at the Boston Tea party was not the taxation, but the fact that the British East India Company was receiving subsidies that made it hard for local merchants to compete.

    BTW, I saw a coule of Tea Partiers last night and I thought about asking them if the knew what fractional reserve banking was. I have a feeling that I know the answer.

    No.

  2. A problem I see with this list is that it combines medicare and medicaid with other mandatory spending to make it appear as if that was a larger percentage of the budget. Expenditures are classified as mandatory, with payments required by specific laws, or discretionary, with payment amounts renewed annually as part of the budget process.

    Other mandatory spending is defined as excluding outlays for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This mandatory spending category includes congressional salaries, federal civilian and military retirement benefits, unemployment compensation, and veterans’ benefits which is a vastly different category of spending than medicare and medicaid!

    Properly looking at the budget reveals that military spending is the largest item:

    Likewise, Liberals dispise Obama.

    Our tea partying chum should read my pieces about how far US politics are to the right of the political spectrum.

    Anyway, as I said, I believe the debt situation is far more of a concern than taxes. The fractional reserve banking system requires debt to function in order to “create” money. Unfortunately, the fractional reserve banking system is like a game of musical chairs and every so often the music stops.

    He isn’t going to persuade me that he is anything other than a fool since the system he advocates is the one which has caused the current economic crisis. Making sure the rich get richer is really not the answer.

    Even the Conservatives in the UK know that there needs to be social and economic equality for society to properly function, which is another of my posts, that was a topic that was also commented upon by microdot.

    He doesn’t make any points by calling the 40 year old who is earning minimum wage lazy: especially if the 40 year old has lost a good job due to downsizing. Or quit from the overwork caused by the system Sepp advocates.

    The problem is that there isn’t a proper grass roots movement that represents the people who have been effed over by the policies promoted by the tea party crowd.

  3. If you account for legacy spending for past conflicts (VA benefits) and interest payments on the debt associated with national security. Then the cost of the Dept of Defense is in the 50 to 60 percentile of GDP.

    http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

    Also, recently Obama has come out with this insane idea that he can order the assassination of any American Citizen – in this case, the American born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The far left is very much outraged. I think it is an awful idea, it not only is completely un-American, it goes against everything Obama pledged and makes him a hypocrite. There is historical justification however, Abraham Lincoln did similar tyrannical / dictatorial things during the civil war. But I’m just going to guess that all the folks who are fearful of Obama taking their freedoms away are going to cheer the new assassination powers Obama is claiming for himself.. because it is targeted at a muslim. “Fool me once… well.. ya can’t fool me.. Don’t mess with Texas / Chicago!” I don’t know how many times I’ve said it. We thought we were voting for change, but instead we get Bush Light; except in the targeted assassination of US citizens, we are getting something Bush would never even have done.

    So I would ask a tea party person – is it OK for President Obama to order the extrajudicial assassination of an American citizen muslim cleric, if President Obama THINKS the guy is participating in a terrorist plot (note my language) to protect other citizens? I’m going to guess the answer would be “Yes”! So then I would ask the Tea Party Person – What if President Obama THINKS that he needs to protect American Citizens from the Tea Party?

  4. In the 90’s the phrase was “it’s the economy stupid”. Today, it’s the constitution stupid!
    Yes muckrake, it’s fully understood by everyone that you’ll never criticise Obama regardless of how “Bushy” he becomes. HE violates the constitution and oddly by your standard it’s not as bad as Bush doing it. HE spends far more than Bush…but, manages to dodge the same scorn you directed at Bush for the last 5 years or so that I’ve posted with you.
    Instead of placing the blame where it belongs, you smear the group of folks who are protesting the bankrupting of the country.

    It isn’t simply about taxes, it’s about wasting tax money and, then looking for clever ways to tax us even more! No taxes on the “poor”? 1st week in office Obama raised tobacco taxes by $1 across the board…which directly effected “the poor’.

    Laci, the libs despised Bush. If there were any serious disagreement with Obama, they’d be protesting…but, they’re not. I’m guessing that my theory is true…they’ve spent the last 3 years painting dissenting oppinions as “racist” and now that they have one of their own…they fear speaking out loud about it.

    Steve, what is “outrage by the far left”? It used to be a bit more than the silence thats passing for “outrage” now!

    As far as assinations go, the last known attempts were against Castro during LBJ’s administration and Saddam at the outbreak of the war.

    Historical justification? More of “he did it too”? Be real. Does “wrong” become “right” simply because it was done before?
    What about Obama’s “preventitive detention” that can last up to 10 years because the government simply “thinks” you might do “something” in the future…maybe?
    Or creating a new seperate “justice” system from scratch apart from our judicial system and the military tribunal system?
    That means that should Steve get pissed off and rant about something loud enough, someone within the government can toss him in the gulag without charge for an undetermined amount of time because he “may” be a threat…which of course is left completely undefined and open to speculation…IE based on someone’s own oppinion who has never met you!
    Getting Owellian enough for you yet? What other country’s leaders threw people into jail for undefined terms under the guise of them being a threat? Keeping in mind that this isn’t for combatants found on a battlefield someplace…it applies to US too!

    As for Obama “protecting” citizens from the tea partiers, thats a laugh. The tea partiers are PRO-constitution. The citizens have nothing to worry about because the tea partys concern has do do with the bill of rights OF the citizens.
    Why would Obama see the bill of rights as a “threat” to the populace?

    Or, is the bill of rights a threat to his agenda?

    His idea of rounding up possible hostiles violates…
    The first amendment
    Possibly the second amendment
    Fourth amendment
    5th amendment
    6th amendment
    7th amendment
    8th amendment
    And 9th amendment

    Hear the crickets? THAT is the liberal left showing their outrage!

    Not a peep. Why? Because it ISN’T BUSH doing it! And if your eyes were open for 8 years you know damned well that Bush would have met this Stalinist idea with outright resistance and a vocal populace. The exception being that
    1 Nobody was ever a racist for hating Bush personally
    2 Nobody was ever a racist for hating Bush’s policies
    3 You ARE one if either of the above applies to Obama

    At some point, even the hardest of the harcore libs have to call “bad” out for the bad it is.
    The excuses aren’t floating anymore.
    “Give him a chance” has had it’s chance.
    When he’s acting like Bush (or worse) the free passes have either got to end or, the left is simply hipocrites or, worse yet, cowards!

    Muck, you’re more than welcome to keep trying to shoot the messengers. After all, those folks are defending the very document that allows you to shit on them.

  5. Sepp, you only prove that you are ignorant. The liberals ARE protesting.

    It’s just that fox news and its affiliates (e.g., NPR) would rather fixate on the astroturf Tea party movement.

  6. Hello Sepp,
    I should point out at this time that you are very incorrect with your statement, “As far as assignations go, the last known attempts were against Castro during LBJ’s administration and Saddam at the outbreak of the war.”

    I am here to tell you that when I was in the Navy serving with MIUW, the democratically elected “Marxist” government of President Salvador Allende of Chile was shot and killed. It was the U.S. CIA who assonated this president and on September 11, 1973, put General Augusto Pinochet took charge of Chile in a military coup. Of course the Chilean official investigation by the military coup came out with that it was a suicide.

    The CIA was so proud of this cost saving and successful accomplishment that at the next U.S. Congressional budget financial debate, they asked for an increase because they were so cost effective at removing communism from the Southern Hemisphere.

    Knowing how incorrect your statement is with this information, I am suspect of how accurate you are with all that you have posted.

  7. EoK, I stand corrected. I forgot about Allende and the airstrike on Khadafi too. Now anything I post is twice as suspect! A minor oversight on my part.

    Ok Laci, WHERE are the libs out protesting? BESIDES counter protesting the tea folks?
    Where are they? Enlighten me with your vast and superior knowlege ohh condescending one!

    “It’s just that fox news and its affiliates (e.g., NPR) would rather fixate on the astroturf Tea party movement.”

    Oh really? You mean that NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS have been reporting liberals protesting Obama’s policies all along and FOX news completely missed it in every instance?
    Muckrake must have missed it too since he used to cover protests and you Laci, seem to have been focused elsewhere also since you make zero mention of any of this “liberal anger” anywhere either.

    As I said before, you know exactly what your peers will call you if you criticize the administration!

    Lol…maybe we need an annual “Bush day” while Obama is in office. 1 day set aside for liberals to pretend that Obama’s policies are really Bush’s policies so they can vent in public again!

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