The TEA Party has generated a lot of attention during it’s short existence. Nonetheless it has attracted a wide variety of supporters and interest. From religious extremists to libertarians, conspiracy theorists, or people generally disappointed with the Republican/Democrat status quo, many people have placed their faith in this political movement to change the country.
After the last elections a large number of people in Congress and in state governments have taken office under the TEA Party banner. Thus far those representatives have striven to represent social conservatives and fiscal conservatives. However the initial foundations of the TEA Party were simply traditional liberal fiscal ideals. Though fiscal policies are often touted by these new representatives and in their proposed legislation and executive actions, a clear, assault on civil rights through social conservatism is evident in their actions and speech.
Consequently the TEA Party of today represents a number of objectives and ideals that the ordinary liberal would balk at. Despite their contempt for community involvement, wealth redistribution, civil and personal rights, separation of church and state, investment in US infrastructure rather than blowing up poor people, etc., the TEA Party presently seems to have the best chance of breaking down the barriers to change within US federal and state governments, and by extension, the best chance to provide the American people with stellar government services and institutions. Allow me to explain.
The federal government of the 21st century is a complex and bloated entity. Numerous agencies exist to address individual issues while failing to do this efficiently. (A great example of this expensive and inefficient duplication of efforts would be the numerous agencies dedicated to intelligence in the US.) However it is very difficult to get rid of these agencies and other unnecessary positions and bureaus due to their placement in congressional districts and the difficulty of eliminating union positions. Consequently, the federal and state government continue to inflate while quality and quantity of services continue to decline.
TEA Party fiscal conservatives claim to be very aware of these inefficiencies and seek to eliminate them. One extensive plan was offered by Rand Paul as broken down by blogger David Freddoso. Should TEA Party reps succeed in defunding or eliminating numerous federal agencies and programs, they will be doing all of us a favor. I’m not saying that programs like Medicare or Social Security should cease to exist. What I am saying is that, should the TEA Party succeed in changing or eliminating numerous public services, the people who once supported them will realize that they backed the wrong horse and they want those services back. This is when we all can benefit. What would happen in a USA where social security must be recreated? Could we rectify the errors of the old system? Could we build a system that expands on the successes of a system like that in Chilé? Or what about Medicare? When the 80 million Americans who rely on Federal and state health assistance demand that it be reinstated, would this be an opportunity to take medicare to the next level? Would we have a clean slate to create institutions devoid of the excesses and political handouts of our 19th and 20th century institutions? Could we rejoin the first world with new political institutions that replace the old inefficient ones. Institutions that we couldn’t change. Institutions that we could only replace due to the social recklessness of the TEA Party.
If liberals support TEA Party endeavors, they can finally do what decades of failed attempts at reform couldn’t: they will have an opportunity to actually rebuild our public services and political institutions. This can only happen if the TEA Party succeeds at tearing down and destroying those old, unyielding institutions. Their actions are self destructive and they will eliminate their support base with their disregard for the public. The American public relies on the services that TEA Partiers despise and seek to remove. Unfortunately, the only way to build the institutions we deserve is to trash our old attempts at providing those institutions. Besides, if fiscal conservatives are right, their actions will make this country better and everybody wins! Either way, supporting these constrictive and destructive political ends may be the only way to fix what ails us.