Tea Party Blog

I believe a progressive commenter linked to this blog in the comments as some sort of a progressive blog.

It’s nothing of the sort. It only seems progressive in that it is populist. But this stuff is straight up rightwing populism by way of the Republican Party and the Tea Partiers.

The title, Revolt of the Plebes, has a working class feel about it, but this is all White middle class angst coming out of the Tea Parties. They complain and complain about the economy, but they don’t seem to have a clue about what caused it.

They think that the “elites” are trying to lower the standard of living of the middle class, but their main example of elites is Barack and Michelle Obama, who, while flawed, are on the liberal end of this project. One way that the elites are plotting to lower the middle class standard of living is by raising taxes! That’s not how it works though. Raising taxes typically results in government services in return for the taxation. It’s not exactly an elite project. It’s a progressive project, a form of wealth redistribution hopefully from the upper middle class and rich to the classes under them.

Like other rightwing populists, he excoriates Obama’s stimulus bill as useless. He also attacks Obama’s recent $26 billion for teaching jobs and Medicaid as a payoff to “fiscally irresponsible” state governments to powerful unions. The states were not spendthrifts. They are broke due to the Depression. Teachers are being laid off. They need to be rehired.

The contempt for schoolteachers and especially their unions is typical of American rightwing populism, which has always hated schoolteachers for some odd reason (anti-intellectualism?) and has always hated unions, because many middle class Americans are not members of unions. Since they are not in unions, they resent fellow middle class Americans who are in unions as getting undeservedly high wages and benefits. This is nothing but sour grapes.

Hatred of schoolteachers is not progressive. Contempt for unions, the organizations of the working class, in particular teacher unions, in many parts of the world (Latin America) some of the most radical unions around, is not progressive. Opposition to government spending on stimulus funds to get a dead economy going again is not progressive.

So we have these endless complaints about the dead economy, with no explanation on who killed the golden goose. The blame, if any, is opportioned out to mysterious “elites,” most of whom are liberals! It’s implied that taxation caused the slump. That’s certainly not the case.

Another hallmark of this stuff is opposition to the TARP bailouts. Though many Americans were angry about these bailouts, and I opposed them in the form they were ladled out, it was necessary to do that. A number of those firms are even paying us back. AIG may well pay us back in full. My objection was only that the TARP bailouts had to come with many strings attached to them re-regulating these bankster criminals back to the way they were in the 1930’s to rein in their fraud and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

But to simply refuse to bail out those huge banks would have been madness. It would have resulted in a slump much worse than the one we are experiencing right now. These are pure free marketeers who want no state intervention in their glorious free market economy. That’s nuttiness. You’re going back to the 1870’s and wild booms and busts. It’s irresponsible and senseless.

Do these clowns have any suggestions for how to get us out of this slump? None whatsoever. Other than gutting government spending. Gutting state spending in the midst of a Depression is sheer insanity. It means the Depression will go much deeper and continue much longer than before.

I’ve noticed that this stuff is becoming extremely popular. Too bad. It’s not progressive, offers no solutions and peddles only bad medicine. Further, in its attacks on working people, their unions, state spending, taxation and state intervention in the economy, it serves the project of the very elites and corporations that it claims to be attacking.

Very confused and ridiculous politics.

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10 thoughts on “Tea Party Blog”

  1. I had a look at that site too. I think you do him a disservice. That most recent post sure is a bit confused, on a quick skim anyway, but the three preceding ones are exceptionally good. I don’t really know what the guy’s about yet, but he’s no tea-partier – he’s against Israel. Oh, he IS a tea-partier ( I just looked further down the blog to a post I’d forgotten about) , but of a ‘special kind’, an ‘original ‘tea partier.

    ” Remember the good old days when TEA was an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already?” Today, it’s starting to sound more like “Terminate Every Arab!”

    So far so good (with reservations)

    The next-most-recent post on Mexico is outstanding, until the end anyway where he goes off on a rant. So too ‘ From Braveheart to Big Fan’ where he laments the passing of a manlier race like Mel Gibson. Definite talent there. So no, the guy’s got talent and his heart seems in the right place; he’s just a bit confused about economic matters. Who isn’t, apart from Michael Hudson, Mike Whitney, James Kenneth Galbraith, and Bill Mitchell of the excellent ‘billy blog’?
    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/
    and maybe Warren Mosler (with reservations)

    Oh, and it’s ‘plebs’ not ‘plebes’, you pleb! Cut the guy some slack!

  2. On the contrary Robert, it’s government regulation which serves the already established wealthy business owners.

    If taxation were voluntary, it wouldn’t be called taxation: it would be called “paying for services”. Taxation is a coercive non-contractual fluctuating transfer of capital.

    Taxation destroys economic calculation and competition. Without profits as a signal that a company is meeting the needs of consumers, bubbles occur because resources are not properly allocated.

    The people you’re attacking oppose taxation and don’t have any Political solutions simply because Economics is the science that shows the limitations of the human mind to plan and control large scale economies. They advocate the Spontaneous Order that has improved our standard of living for centuries to do what it does best.

    The proof is in the butter: the largest companies in the world are not owned by one man: they’re publicly traded. And guess who they sell to: I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the wealthy. Consumption by the wealthy is next to nothing as opposed to the masses.

  3. Dear Robert
    I think that you are dealing with the issue of government unions too cavalierly. A big percentage of expenditure by states and municipaltes is payroll, and if those payrolls are inflated by unions, then it can contribute to their budgetary problems.
    It doesn’t take great economic sophistication to understand that, the more public employees are paid, the more taxpayers will have to pay if budgets are to remain balanced and services are to be maintained.
    In most countries, there used to be limits on the right to strike by government workers. Reintroducing those limits doesn’t strike me as a bad idea.
    As to the rightwing populists in the US, when was the last time that they looked at the compensation packages of jail guards, police officers and military personnel? With them, it is always teachers and other goverment employees that don’t wear a uniform.

    Have a good day. James

    1. Since when are working class people, even those working for the state, paid too much? I agree they are in the case of prison guards. Sure it’s a horrible job, but their compensation packages are just ridiculous. I can hardly think of any other public employees who are overpaid. Teachers certainly are not. Who else is? It’s not a progressive position to say that working class people are “making too much money.” If it were the case, perhaps it might be reasonable, but it seems as if it rarely is.

      Are the major problems facing this country really due to working class people making too much money? It sure doesn’t seem that way.

  4. Failing to bail out the banks would have resulted in a much worse slump? So? Reducing state spending will mean the Depression will go much deeper? And?

    Bob, you’ve got to decide whether you want to be a
    limp wristed prog or a revolutionary who prepares for revolutionary conditions.

  5. Dear Robert
    The latest recession in the US has nothing to do with wages, but the budgetary problems of many states may in part be explained by the high wages which some public sector employees enjoy. Suppose that payroll is 60% of the budget of a state and that unions in that state have pushed wages 25% above market level, then state expenditures are 15% higher than they would be without the unions.
    It should not be forgotten that the government is a monopolist. Consequently, it can’t play by the same rules as private companies. If unions demand very high wages of a company, the company may go bankrupt. If government unions demand higher wages, the goverment can raise taxes or else it has to cut services. In either case, the general public has to be pay a price.
    In countries like the US and Canada, less than 25% of the labor force is unionized. In such a situation, unions can’t do much for the majority of workers.
    The best way to increase wages in a country is to increase the skills level of the labor force, to restrict immigration and to keep aggregate demand high through the appropiate fiscal and monetary policies.
    Regards. James

  6. ” The best way to increase wages in a country is to increase the skills level…”

    Who is going to teach these skills? From what I read, US public school teachers are paid barely enough to live. All these years of schooling, passing exams, 3 or 4 years of University, followed by teacher training for a year (that’s how it works here anyway) – and you think they’re being paid too much? Why should they make the effort?

    Teachers unions aren’t even on the radar of reasons why the states are broke. For an answer, look at the only state that isn’t broke – N. Dakota – and read up on why it’s not broke – (hint: its own state bank).

  7. Robert,

    Bailouts to teachers who can’t teach and police officers who serve no other purpose than to fleece the people out of their remaining consumer dollars may be your idea of a way to stimulate the economy…but you are dead wrong.

    Average police salary/benefits packages in some metropolitan areas are in the range of $100,000.00-$200,000.00 per year. The police unions are crippling some local budgets. Police agencies–like Oakland, Ca.–will cut services before they cut salaries. I encourage you to read my post: Pay-Per-Cop, where I do offer solutions to this problem.

    As for other solutions–which you alledge I fail to address– I must conclude that you have not read beyond my latest article.

    In my post “There Goes the Tea Party”, I point out how the GOP has taken over the Tea Party movement. I show where most of these “so-called” Tea Party candidates–who have recently won their primaries–are all Judas goats with a blind allegiance to the state of Israel.

    Support for Israel=support for war.

    We live in a war economy. I oppose mandatory health insurance, cap-and-trade-schemes and Wall Street bailouts. But none of these things have yet to be implemented. Our grotesque debt is a direct result of these endless wars. These must end along with our alliance with Israel before we can embark on a road to recovery.

    Our wars are why we have failed and why we are universally hated.

    I cast no blame on a mysterious “elite” that runs the world behind the scenes. The culprits work right out in the open for all to see. Our foreign policy is run by the powerful Israeli lobby and the domestic policies relating to our economy are run by Wall Street, K street lobbying firms and European banking cartels.

    The solution to our economic crisis cannot be solved by printing up money. We are a debtor nation. We are no longer a super power. Only manufacturing, agriculture and the development of new technologies can return us to a productive and self-sufficient nation.

    You’ve got a lot to learn.

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