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article imageOp-Ed: Teapartyers Apparently Intent On Grid-Locking US Government

By Hans Smedbol     Oct 17, 2010 in Politics
Teaparty agenda after the U.S. mid term vote appears to intend to gridlock the U.S. Congress such that the government will be unable to enact legislation, and will be effectively paralysed by voting along partisan lines, despite needed economic action.
The sole reason for this grid locking of government appears to be to deny the Democrats, and especially President Obama the right to enact any legislation whatever, because they will effectively shut down government through constant bickering, philibustering, and voting. Even though they appear to have no particular good aims of their own, they will obstruct the effective governing of the nation. So suggests Mr. Russ J. Alan in his opinion piece which was published earlier in the Digital Journal.
Instead of a strong, united, focused nation, Mr. Alan, a self-avowed Teapartyer, appears to be suggesting that U.S. voters should vote in such a way as to guarantee even more controversy, and a deadlocked Congress, by voting in as many Teapartyers as possible. Despite his passionate pleas for a Teaparty in Government, he remains unable to persuade this writer, a Canadian, that this is good for America, or her people. He insists that it is good for the Teapartyers to block congress like this. He insists that it's time for Americans to reclaim their freedoms. What he exactly means by "freedoms" is not immediately apparent until reading the entire article, by the end of which, it becomes clearer, that what he appears to mean by "freedoms" could more accurately be translated as "positive cash flow" into his own pockets, rather than being forced to pay a fair income tax, some of which might be used to support social security, or the national health care initiative. He appears to think that the Bush years were good for America economically, and that Mr. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy spurred the economy, and that these tax cuts should be continued, while cutting services to the poor and aged. He must be well-off himself then, has enough to pay for his own and family needs, gets health care insurance and can afford it, doesn't care if anyone else gets it, doesn't care if people die because they can't afford it. Seems to be advocating the same old sturdy individualism which has powered American greed since day one.
Mr. Alan typically (for Teapartyers) seems to have no patience with any of the apparently necessary bills that Congress has attempted to pass in the last couple of years, to deal with the financial crisis, and with the crisis in health care insurance, almost over the dead bodies of the Republicans, who became known as the party of "No!" as a result. Nor does he have patience with anything that President Obama has ever said, or done in this lifetime. He does however, care passionately for his "freedoms" (translate=cash). The agenda he proposes is not different, unless I missed something, in the least, from that which got his country (and the rest of us by default) into the current financial mess that we're all suffering through, and will not provide any different kind of outcome from what occurred the second to last time America was tempted to vote Republican out of wanting change as much as anything else.
His motto appears to be "ME! First and always!"
He appears to be promoting pure laissez-faire capitalism, with deregulation of all things business, especially the banking and financial laws, most of which were already hamstrung or disappeared over the last 25 years of so, since President Reagan's misguided attempts to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes for the rich, and cutting services for the poor. Along with these "laudable" actions went a few slightly more sneaky ones (other than the ones that Oliver North carried out in the Iran-Contra Drugs for Guns Black ops scandal), ones that resulted in the deregulation of financial markets and banking rules. This kind of deregulation led inevitably to the current situation due to the inherent and reckless greed in most of the players on Wall Street. This kind of deregulation just encourages the macho risk takers into really flying far and wide stealing the country blind.
This kind of financial deregulation has almost wrecked the world economic system, as the greediest and richest of all took even more profits through all sorts of "shady" financial instruments. These appeared, to the unwary, to be worthwhile investments, while actually being junk, due to the strong likelihood of major defaults in credit. Entire countries have been nearly bankrupted by these crooked deals (think Iceland). This kind of "pigs feeding at the trough"*9 of public moneys has to cease, and it will only cease with stricter regulations, not less regulations.
People who should be living a comfortable relaxed life in retirement, are now forced to continue working, despite their health challenges until they likely die, or get too sick to make it to work any more, with little or no health benefits, and no pension, because the big money fund managers stole it all. "Freedom 55" has become "Freedom 75". And yet the writer is suggesting that really we haven't had enough of this so let's just elect another bunch of greedy selfish politicians who only look out for number one, all under the patriotic banner of the American Flag and the sacred utterance of the "Founding Fathers" to give his claim just a little more credence.
While it is true that the Founding Fathers were a bunch of money grubbing capitalists also, and this goes without saying, still, at least, they did have some foresight some of the time, and managed through their incessant bickering and arguments to beat through a Constitution for the betterment of the entire nation, not just the interests of their own small circles of rich landowners and financiers. In the present times, the greed remains, and yet the foresight and care for the best interests of the nation, despite political wrangling appear to have mostly vanished except for occasional pious mouthings by those same politicos, looking all the while for the main chance. When someone actually attempts to fix the financial problems that the U.S. is in, the vast population of people, who appear to know no better, complain loudly, threatening to pull the house down around everyone's ears. How is anything to be done, in such a climate of rage, to effect a cure foryears of abuse and neglect?
What this Teaparty writer appears to be suggesting with his spin, that the U.S. should adopt as soon as possible, is what the rest of the world would call the world's worst nightmare. If the Teapartyers gain enough seats in Congress, there will be a lot more trouble for the poor embattled U.S. than she is going through now. If you think the present recession is bad, brought on by successively poor Republican financial policies, then just imagine what it'll be like if they manage to regain power again!!! There's a nightmare of the worst sort for any one who cares about other people, for any one whose heart aches in sympathy for the homeless and destituted former middle classes, who can't afford to pay their mortgages and eat at the same time, who can't afford health insurance, and whose family members die a lot younger because of it.
It's truly unfortunate that people expressing such regressive and counter productive policies are so many, and the responsible caring ones are so few! The American Dream has deteriorated into "ME FIRST" and "Me Only", when we allow such far right wingers as these to run the government. That is a fine goal if you are a Teapartyer, but it won't be so good for the rest of us. Let us pray that they do not get the numbers of seats in the U.S. Congress they are hoping for in the upcoming mid-terms.
In this writer's opinion, perhaps the most egregious action by the Teapartyers is labelling themselves as Teapartyers and "patriots" when in reality they seek to deconstruct the very U.S. that they claim to love, they seek to destroy the way government is currently run, and in effect will end up paralysing the U.S. Federal government such that effective legislation will become impossible. This is not a goal to be sought by people with any sense of responsibility. This is a case of wrapping oneself in the national flag to disguise the fact that you've got an axe, which you're going to use to chop up the house and everyone in it.
Of course as I am a Canadian, no one has to pay any attention whatever to what i say about American politics. However, I was directed towards this opinion article by a fellow Digital Journalist, also Canadian, who thought I should take a look...and who expressed that he thought the author is simply crazy, and his horror at what he imagined to be the result of the Teaparty getting any significant votes this fall in the mid term elections. When I read the article, I, too, was horrified at the prospects of what the writer was promoting as a viable and valid kind of running the government (into the ground!) in the U.S.
To my horrified mind, grid lock does no one any good. (We get our share of gridlock here in Canada in the current minority parliament, but in Canada's sake a little gridlock which prevents the severe right wing policies of the Harper Gang from being carried out, is good. God Save us (cause no one else will!) if Harper ever gets a majority!) The U.S. as well as the rest of us needs to continue working, slowly but steadily to lift themselves out of the current massive debt load and to establish a more fair and equitable banking system, which will be more stable, and less subject to the boom and busts we've all seen in the last 25 years. The current troubles we are all in merely reinforces in my opinion, the necessity of appropriate government legislation and regulation of all the financial industries such that the excesses of the last while will be history alone.
There was a good reason that the U.S. Government introduced all those laws and regulations in reference to the world of finance after the last huge depression in 1929. And it worked, until the Republicans started dismantling the system in the 1980's. After that we saw increasingly strange financial scandals appearing in our nightly news. There was the world of the Enron and the Mutual Funds collapses...and then not so many years later this crisis hit the fan.
There was a very good review of a book in the Barnes and Noble Review, online, " Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy" By Joseph E. Stiglitz, who has an impeccable record as "the Nobel laureate professor at Columbia Business School with a stellar curriculum vitae: former Chief Economist at the World Bank, former Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors at the White House, and the man asked by the United Nations to chair a panel of experts on the global meltdown's causes?" He speaks to the current financial situation in America, and the world, and his advice does not include electing a bunch of Teapartyers to Congress such that they can effectively shut down Congress. No, his advice is very strongly put.
He insists that the time of easy money, and no regulations is over, and that we simply MUST return to the kinds of regulations and laws which were passed around the financial issues which had become glaringly obvious from the 1929 crash and subsequent depression. He says that if we continue along in the same way as before, with little or no regulations, that the bankers and hedge fund managers will just keep on keeping on....with their noses to the public feeding trough, taking huge risks and letting the public pay for their mistakes, while pocketing handsome wages and bonuses. Does that sound good? Private profit at public risk?? Please read the review of Dr. Stiglitz' book.
By all means I will agree with people such as Dr. Stiglitz, who state that there have to be changes in the world of finance, and in government. But I will not agree that we should ever let the Financiers run drunkenly through our Public purses again, after they've gone and lost everything (often NOT their own private fortunes however) playing their greedy and selfish games, betting both sides against the middle. And yet they've managed to go home with bonuses and large stock portfolios. I say there is enough of that, and that it is time to deal straightly with people, time to have a transparent banking and financial system, time for transparent governments, rather than the shadow dance that we get now, seeing none of the behind-the-scenes actors who really are pulling the strings of our "democratically elected" representatives, who in many cases should be renamed our "very well paid for services rendered, by lobbies and crooks" representatives.
As a friendly neighbour, and a lifelong Americaphile, I humbly suggest to the American people that for the good of the whole world, they must resist the honeyed words of the Teapartyers, who conceal bloody axes underneath the draping flags, pretending that they are acting for the best in America through their patriotic love, whereas in reality, the truth is that they are mostly wealthy individuals who resent having to pay taxes that might just possibly in a small way contribute towards the benefits of the poor in America. They have their money and they want to keep it, but disguise their greed with the Stars and stripes. I can only pray that the American people are wiser than the Teapartyers think they are, and that they will vote anyone but Teaparty candidates.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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