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“Citizen Activism”, a New Designation for the Tea Party Movement

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Jim DeMint, Republican U.S. Senator from South Carolina, serving since 2005, is known to some as the ‘Tea Party Kingmaker”, or the ‘Tea Party Patriot.” He is a driving force behind the forthcoming “Tea Party Republican Debate”, scheduled for September 12, in Tampa. Tampa is to be the host city for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Senator DeMint is in the process of making a few changes. The Tea Party, he now says, is not a single group, rather is comprised of hundreds of groups of “citizen activists,” who have only a few demands. One concern is the demand for less taxation. In fact, the members want less taxation for the major corporations; the same corporations I humbly point out that benefit when American servicemen fight to keep the Suez Canal open, and the same corporations who profit from availability of global trade, an availability which they take for granted. These activists are clearly incensed that temporary tax breaks to the large corporations aren’t made permanent. Another matter of prime concern is spending, a poor economy, and an ever increasing national debt.

Senator DeMint has a number of bones to pick. He insists that a vast percentage of those Americans now receiving unemployment insurance are merely sitting back, reeling in the benefits. When the benefits run dry, they will get up and go to work. Therefore, DeMint will make one of his goals the end of extensions to unemployment insurance.

The Tea Party conservatives seem to think the word “conservative” implies short hair and white shirts. “Conservative” in many minds equals “religious.” In fact the rule of thumb is simple to remember: a liberal strives for liberal rights for citizens. A conservative would allow the citizens only conservative rights. Yet the Tea Party claims to have the best interests of the people at hand.

DeMint’s conservative activists are convinced they are frustrated by regulations. One of the major sets of regulations these folks oppose is the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The congress of 2009-2010 passed this “bill to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end ‘too big to fail’, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.” The bill was sponsored by Rep Barney Frank (D MD), signed by President Barack Obama, and passed all congress by a wide majority. Voters will recall that at the time of the passage, transparency and accountability were held in sacred high esteem by most involved voters and legislators.

Among the provisions:

  • Creates a new independent watchdog, housed at the Federal Reserve, with the authority to ensure American consumers get the clear, accurate information they need to shop for mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products, and protect them from hidden fees, abusive terms, and deceptive practices.
  • Eliminates loopholes that allow risky and abusive practices to go on unnoticed and unregulated — including loopholes for over-the-counter derivatives, asset-backed securities, hedge funds, mortgage brokers and payday lenders.
  • Provides shareholders with a say on pay and corporate affairs with a non-binding vote on executive compensation and golden parachutes.
  • Provides tough new rules for transparency and accountability for credit rating agencies to protect investors and businesses.
  • Strengthens oversight and empowers regulators to aggressively pursue financial fraud, conflicts of interest and manipulation of the system that benefits special interests at the expense of American families and businesses.

A thoughtful individual would have to wonder why any citizen would balk at such corporate regulation. In fact it seems odd that any legitimate corporation should put up such resistance. These changes don’t require an expenditure of money, they don’t require costly changes. At best the corporations involved might have to hire a few clerical employees, and an executive or two to mandate compliance.

Point is, under DeMint’s tutelage the Tea Party favors negation of the Wall Street Reform and Protection Act.

The Tea Party is convinced that Obama is wasting the dollars of American Taxpayers when he stimulates a failing economy with Job Programs. There is some precedent. In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, coming face to face with the Great Depression, created the WPA Work Projects Administration as part of a “New Deal”, employing millions of unskilled workers to build roads and public buildings, including parks and schools, in rural and Western areas. Provisions were made for arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. Children were fed and clothed. In nearly every community was a school or road, or public building constructed by the WPA.

At the beginning, in 1935, the WPA budget was 1.4 billion a year, over all, the total spent was about 13.4 billion. In 1938 jobs were provided for 3 million men, some women and youths. Between 1935 and 1942, eight million jobs were provided. The stated goal of the WPA was to provide one job for each family in which the breadwinner was experiencing long term unemployment. Most people who needed a job were eligible. No more than 30 hours could be worked by any worker in one week.

Depressions can be devastating and they don’t end of their own accord. We hope that the Republicans, the Tea Party, the citizen activists won’t continue to oppose the president’s every plan. We further hope that the grass root citizens will take the time to form for themselves some ideology, for a basis for reasoning and action. For those good Americans who just want to get out there and “do something!” there’s no need to worry. The future will provide more than enough opportunity for citizen participation. Now is the time to study, and to think.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • thomas quill

    THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT,THE BRITISH ARE COMING,THE BRITISH ARE COMING,THOSE COLUMBUS’S BOAT PEOPLE ARE ALREADY HERE IN INDIAN COUNTRY ON THE NORTH AMERICAN CONINTENT

  • Glenn Contrarian

    John –

    As I’ve pointed out many times, the Republicans (including the TP’ers) don’t dare allow the American economy to recover on Obama’s watch. Why? FDR came in, fixed what the Republicans screwed up, and gave us the New Deal. Clinton came in, took a bad economy and turned the deficit into a surplus (but sabotaged our manufacturing base by agreeing with the conservatives on NAFTA et al). If Obama is able to turn the economy around, that makes for a heck of a talking point in any election.

    If Obama succeeds, the Republicans will have a three-strikes-you’re-out reputation, economically speaking…and that would hobble them politically for generations to come.

    And the Republicans aren’t dumb – they KNOW this. That’s why they dare not let Obama succeed, even though much of what Obama has done has been directly in line with what Republicans have strongly supported in the past.

  • Diane TEA Party

    Glenn – big difference of opinion! Conservatives know the economy can not recovery under Obama because of the anti-business regulations, EPA threats to close coal fired electric plants and regulate practically everything, high gas prices caused by failure to issue permits and blocking drilling, printing money that de-values the dollar, ObamaCare, – and this is just a partial list! Under FDR, who did a lot of the same things, the Depression lasted 10 years, long after the rest of the world recovered. The private sector has to lead us out and under Obama they can’t! Government is not the solution – it’s the problem!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Diane –

    Read your history again. Look up the “Conservative Coalition“. By 1936 we were largely OUT of the Depression, but later that same year the conservatives FORCED FDR to back off of much of what he tried to do with the New Deal. As a DIRECT result of the austerity measures they FORCED on FDR and the nation, we went right back down into the Depression.

    Again, look up that “Conservative Coalition” and educate yourself.

    One more thing – if government stimuli didn’t work, then WWII should have driven us FAR further into economic depression. Instead, the taxpayer-funded (by way of loans) economic stimulus left America in a stronger economic position than she’d ever been in. And you know what? At the end of WWII, we had an even greater national debt (relative to GDP) than we do now! But we nearly paid it off during the 1950’s thanks to Truman and the Republican president Eisenhower maintaining the top marginal tax rate (for the uber-rich) at 90%!

    Read that again – we nearly paid off the entire national debt in a decade…largely because of the high tax rates our government charged the uber-rich!

    I’m not sure if you remember, but back in the early 80’s during the recession, we Republicans (I was one then) used to say “we just need a good war to get us out of this recession”…and the reason we were saying it was because of the economic stimulus of WWII.

    Again, read your history. Educate yourself. I used to be a Republican…but the Republicans of Reagan’s day wouldn’t even recognize what the GOP has become. The GOP of today (and especially the Tea Party) would call Reagan a raving socialist for several of the policies he supported!

  • Igor

    Diane,

    Oil is fungible, therefore 80% of ALL oil goes to foreigners (India, China, etc.) and only 20% to the US, so increased drilling harms the USA. (Also, oil companies are 60% foreign owned so subsidies, etc., go mostly to foreigners).

    The government actually prints very little money (there´s only about $900billion in US cash in circulation, about half paper money), just enough printed to replace worn bills each year. Increasing the money supply is done by issuing instruments to banks, computer to computer, no printing required.

    The USA is in a favorable position, vis a vis, other nations so we can borrow at advantageous rates, like 2%, so we should, and plow the money into infrastructure.

    They should teach this stuff in the high schools. But I suppose it would diminish the ability of demagogues to rule through ignorance and fear.