So we’ve come full, well…sort of. The Tea Party was begun to distract attention from the wholesale looting of the federal government, an effort only nominally curtailed by resistance to so-called Social Security reform, and the Supreme Court’s upholding key provisions of the Healthcare Act. The Right, representing a menu of greedy banking, corporate and individual interests, the 1%, if you will have spent decades shrinking and narrowing the accessibility to unfiltered, non-politicized information and news, promoted a fiction that the federal government should be managed like a household checkbook. Folksy wisdom indeed. Reality it is not.
It was hardly out of some suddenly awakened national consciousness that the Bermuda shorts-Sandal and black socked and varicose veined Tea Party decried the burgeoning national debt. That might have made them believable, and even comprehensible. It might have deflected charges of partisan-ism, and even racism had they also risen against the unfunded debt-creating catastrophe of our trillion-dollar, trillion-dollar, the trillion dollar catastrophe of the Iraq debacle and Afghan War. Indeed, the cost of those wars are estimated to be many times the price of the actual conflicts, as we now must care for tens of thousands of mentally and physically wounded veterans. The Veterans Administration and hospitals are taxpayer-funded.
But there was no such outcry from the Tea Party or the Right. Quite the opposite. Dissent against the wars, first on a moral basis and second, economically was assailed as partisan and unpatriotic. And so the creation of the Tea Party was a ruse. The creators spun innocent Americans against their own interests, and ultimately, against the interests of their nation.
The Occupy movement exposed the fakery of the Tea Party pretense. The true national argument wasn’t about the national debt. Most of that debt is owned by the government, and that debt can sink depending upon favorable trade conditions, which is what is happening now. No, the real issue was the economic devastation wrought by de-regulated banks and financial entities, a perversely bloated defense budget which primarily benefits industry and two unfunded wars. It wasn’t risky home loans going to “people who should never have gotten loans to begin with,” early 21st century code for Blacks. It was financial firms bundling those mortgages and selling their potential risk, then bundling the bundles of mortgages and selling that risk, then bundling the risk and selling the risk on the risk on the real…get the idea? And all of it ravaged the poor and middle class in this country. How did Romney put it at a press conference during the Republican primaries? “I’m not concerned about the very rich. They’re doing just fine.”
Within weeks the Occupy Movement fully discredited and overwhelmed the Tea Party fiction. Only the Right’s near absolute dominance-the status quo networks tacitly support the Right-in the media and their need to conceal continuing efforts to corrupt and loot the nation via populism has maintained that fraudulent message.
It isn’t about debt. It never was about debt or your children or grandchildren’s futures. The kids and grandkids of the wealthy and corrupt who use the Tea Party for cover already have the means to secure their future; to attend universities unsullied by the poor and unwashed masses, to have exclusive healthcare access, to fast-track executive careers, homes and comfortable retirements to live their American dream. If there was truly an interest in solving the debt issue, there would be action towards encouraging trade reform, removing corporate incentives to play nations against each other for sub-standard wages and conditions to workers, and removing or limiting their organizational influence on government. Perhaps then we might allow the American people to decide what is in their best economic interest, and that if a company closes a factory here to set up sweatshops in Asia or Africa or Central America that they would be considered criminal enterprises and closed down.
And consumers, if they truly cared about reform, would be willing to pay a little higher for some goods. For example, it costs roughly 80 cents- that’s 80 cents for Nike to produce a $120 Dollar pair of shoes in the Vietnam factory. Call them. They’ll tell you. In April 2010 the monthly wage there was 4000 Dong, or 21 Dollars a month, a severely sub-standard wage. By doubling, or tripling their pay, spread across the production quotas and output of that factory, that would have added another 80 cents to a doller sixty to that $120 dollar pair of shoes. The Right, of course would tell you that it would double or triple the retail value of the shoes, as they tried to argue with me on WLS radio some years back.
The point is, the Ryan choice for VP is an effort to resurrect the Tea Party mantra, and make it the centerpiece of the Romney/Ryan campaign. They’ve said as much. This from men who accuse Obama of not having any business experience. But their plan, using their own folksy example about household debt and a balanced checkbook(apples and oranges really), would have them cutting out the kid’s schoolbooks, shutting off heat or air conditioning in any room their not occupying and other austere cuts while they continue driving around in the gas guzzling limousine and taking fabulous 10 year-long vacations in faraway lands on their kid’s credit cards.
Full circle. Let’s see now if the American people will fall for it a second time. The answer comes this November.