I have been constantly amused by the similarities of the Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland and the Tea Party that exists in America today. They both seem to live a fantasy world, and as the Cheshire Cat noted to Alice at the Tea Party: “We are all mad here“. How perfect!
So, take a trip with me to an America conceived and run by the Tea Party – it may be a journey that even the Tea Partiers (let’s call them TPs for short) may find surprising, and may even regret.
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To begin with, let’s examine those things that the TPs are striving for; there are basically three. First few or no taxes. Second less spending, and less government. And finally, elimination of the Federal debt. Well, who would not want all of those, I sure would. Problem is they come with a price, and the implementation of each, or all, is untenable.
So, what is the world of the TPs without taxes? The ramifications are so numerous; there is not enough time or space here to detail them. But a quick synopsis displays a few of the following.
- Lots more criminals roaming the streets. Why? Because even as we speak, prisoners are being let out of jail early because the states are running out of funds to retain them. We are not talking abut hundreds that have been let out early; we are now actually seeing tens of thousands who should be serving full terms that have been let go – and now running free in our Tea Party world.
- Which brings us to courts? Most are underfunded now, and wait times for trials and remediation of complaints takes longer than it should. We have been taught in our system of laws that “justice delayed is justice denied”. So it is in this TP new world.
- Regulatory administration. The lack of regulation of banks practically destroyed our economy and even now consumer protection has been weakened. Even at our current level few believe we want to cut these protections further – no matter, they apparently are not needed here in TP land.
- Speaking of protection, if the TPs urge us to have “less government” them might want to consider the effect of that desire on police…firemen…and of course the military. ALL are government run. The Department of Defense consumes about 1/3 of our total spending. Which of these do the TPs wish to eliminate or erode? Hello? I can’t hear you.
- Well then there is education. Is it overfunded? Many TPs think so, although our educational system internationally is dropping further behind. Perhaps just larger classroom sizes and slowing down modernization of our facilities will do the trick. Yes, that is part of the wonderful world of the Tea Party.
- Hate holding on the phone? Well, with lots less government I hope you enjoy your trip to the license bureau, or any other needed and accepted government functions you may want to contact. Have to call 911? “Hello, hello, is anyone there”? If all this upsets you, take care of it when you VOTE – did I mention that voting is a government function. Hope you don’t have to wait in line too long.
- There is no room in our wonderful world of the Tea Party for immigrants. Don’t need ’em, don’t want ’em, don’t like ’em. Indeed, in several recent exchanges, the teabaggers have called Mexicans…well, I can’t repeat it. That would be OK, I guess, but do the TPs remember that with far less government funding, the border patrol would be greatly reduced! Now that’s a conundrum for the Tea Party, cut government funding, but keep out the illegals. I forget…I guess in a fantasy world there is a possible solution?
- Then there are those government programs that take a substantial part of our budget, but are immensely popular (or possibly mandated). Not to worry, in the wonderful world of the Tea Party, you can kiss goodbye to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security (now privatized), and others. But what about Tricare – the fully funded government medical program that covers our retired military personnel? And the Veterans Administration? Sorry guys (and gals) that goes too.
- Homeland security. Not in the wonderful world of no taxes, Sorry, no revenue left.
Well, that was fun, but we must not forget, that the Tea Party program does appear to reduce spending and government size as described above. But, maybe not (remember, in Alice’s story, nothing is as it seems). Why? Because for many essential services like police, fire, homeland security, prison guards, and many others, overtime pay has eaten up many of the supposed savings from cuts in personnel. That’s right, in state after state, the government has cut jobs (yes government employment is already DOWN not UP), but to provide services needed, the relevant agencies have had to pay overtime in significant amounts. Such is life in the wonderful World of the Tea Party. Less people, less service, same money.
But then in the wonderful world of the TP, we DO reduce debt, right? Well, not exactly, consider George Bush. He reduced taxes big time, but our debt went UP. Problem was, he forgot to reduce expenditures. He said, as the TPs do, that reducing taxes would actually grow the economy. Wrong! The Tea Party folks claim they will not make that same mistake, yet the Bush years are a real cautionary tale – until the Tea Party folks actually do first reduce spending (per all the items above), they better take care on their promise to drop taxation. We’ve been there, done that in the real world, and it didn’t work.
So, let’s return to our initial connection with Alice in Wonderland, perhaps the most relevant quote to describe this wonderful new world of the Tea Party was from Alice herself: “It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change“! Amen.