Is Tea Party Congress watching out for us? No.

I’ve had two posts on my Facebook account in the last two days that really tear at me because they show how national game playing by our Congresspeople — including Utah’s Rob Bishop — is directly impacting Utahn’s lives.

Bishop is a proud member of the Tea Party, which went to Congress this year with the avowed intention of slashing spending or they’d shut the government down trying. The list of programs they’ve slashed  all in the space of a day or so, with little debate, are almost all “liberal” programs that directly impact the poor and needy, while they don’t seem to see a problem with federal spending that helps cattle ranchers, or farmers, or the oil industry, or the military industrial complex.

That’s bad enough, but the U.S. Senate has indicated it won’t go along with the cuts, and President Obama has vowed to veto them. The Tea Party are the tail wagging the dog of the rest of the Republicans in congress who lack the spine to stand up to them or — like Bishop — see them as critical to reelection, and there’s nothing more important that reelection.

So, without a budget extension, a government shutdown looms.

One friend on Facebook, Wendy Garcia, has a husband in the Army who is serving in Iraq. She is worried that, if the government shuts down, her husband’s salary won’t be paid to her.

Her letter, (click) posted to Rep. Bishop’s web site, is a plea to keep the families of the troops in mind. 

 If a shut down occurs and the military doesn’t get paid, our financial well-being will be affected immediately. Please do what you can to avoid this shut down. When you vote to continue the deadlock, please remember families like mine, who will run into money problems VERY quick through no fault of our own. My husband works very hard for his money, he (and every other soldier) deserves to get paid for their labor on time. 

Bishop is real good at keeping the families of ATK Space Systems in mind when he’s fighting for spending on massive NASA rocket motors, so we’ll see if he remembers the families of the troops.

Or will he just blame the democrats? Yeah, it’s their fault for not going along with the massive cuts.

The other Facebook discussion was a reaction to something I put up that was, on its face, rather silly — when I turn 62 in March I am planning to go to Arches National Park and buy a $10 senior pass to the national parks — a lifetime benefit from the park system for getting older.

I wailed that if the government shuts down I won’t be able to get the pass on my birthday.

The post quickly garnered 27 comments. I got no sympathy for my problem (nor do I deserve any) but in addition to Wendy Garcia, several other federal employees chimed in, saying a shutdown will put them into immediate financial distress.

This is a sad commentery on where we’re at these days — Congressmen routinely vilify federal workers as leeches sucking down huge salaries simply because that very public vilification plays to the loudmouths screaming for government to quit taxing them or wasting money, or something.  How does vilification of government workers for short-term political gain help the nation as a whole?

Interestingly, many of the government workers in Utah who now face layoffs are members of the Tea Party, the same people who scream for cuts in all spending except for their Medicare or welfare or whatever. One friend put it nicely:

 I would like all the federal employees who voted republican in the last election to get in line for the very first pay cuts and furloughs. Of course, they’re blaming Obama for the results of their voting. I actually know a federal employee who also receives foodstamps–and she voted republican! And now she’s squealing about furloughs and cuts to welfare. The mind absolutely boggles–what did she THINK was going to happen?

What indeed?

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26 Responses to Is Tea Party Congress watching out for us? No.

  1. Victoria Goodrow says:

    Thank you Mr. Trentelman, for raising ideas here regarding the”Tea Party”. I also wonder why the Republicans are going after “liberal” programs, but I am not surprised. Have you heard the talk on conservative radio? “Liberal” is a dirty word these days, and it is being used as such. I also note how they support big money interests, some of which you have mentioned, (and I would add Wall Street, the banking industry, etc). Do you think that maybe all this talk of cutting the budget is moot since they know that these cuts will never pass the Senate? One would think, in that case, that all this is for show, meaning nothing except the hope of re-election. This would in turn mean the Republicans are simply wasting time, treading water so-to-speak, until they get what they want, which is full power in both houses. Yet they are contributing nothing toward solving our problems here and now. When do you think people will realize this and decide this is not what they want from their government?

    • hawg says:

      this is rich.
      the entire election of 2010 was ALL about people deciding what they didn’t want from their government.

      and liberal does seem to be a dirty word, that’s why liberals have changed it to progressive, apparently even they didn’t like it

  2. Bob Becker says:

    Charlie:

    While you’re right about the Rethuglican Party in Congress going after programs that help those on the bottom of the economic ladder while ignoring huge tax and other direct subsidies for big business, I think you’re wrong about a federal shutdown stopping military pay. I’m pretty sure things are so structured that military pay [and social security] checks will continue to be issued throughout the shutdown if it happens.

    But furloughed non-military federal employees will be out in the cold, as will federal contractors expecting pay for work they’ve done [military and otherwise]. The Rethuglican Party in Congress likes to label virtually every Obama or Democratic initiative a \job killer.\ Hard to think of what stands likely to collapse the recovery now under way faster than pulling the plug on federal payments to business and industry.

  3. hawg says:

    libs geeez. let’s see, you mention the evil republican programs such as cattle and farmers, wow, food. food SEEMS pretty important. and of course the obligatory evil oil. oil is pretty much second only to food in the 21st century. and of course the military complex. but you don’t mention what these “liberal” programs are. what are you afraid we will decide on our own they are not beneficial to the poor. like NPR? endowments for the arts?

    but the best is after denigrating the military complex you then suggest soldiers won’t be getting paid. I thought you said the military is “special” to republicans.

    and yet you suggest the senate (democrats) and Obama (socialist, with a democrat name tag) won’t go along with the cuts, so are THEY the ones that will shut down government or is it ok if THEY do it?

  4. Charles Trentelman says:

    Hawg — so you are saying federal funding — socialism — is OK for food production? And for oil production?

    So much for capitalism…

    • hawg says:

      what I’m saying is what I said, you found space to denigrate some evily approved “republican” programs but couldn’t find space to tell us about these poor picked on “liberal” programs. why is that?

      so much for capitalism? if NPR cannot be supported by capitalism, as in little audience, you don’t claim capitalism failed, you demand assistance.

      I’m not at all opposed to some “socialism” programs. there is plenty of need for help.
      but at the end of the day you need food to survive and oil to make it, get it, transport it and defend it. not exactly what you get out of endowments for the arts now is it?
      I frankly think one day most all farms will be government run, whether I agree with it or not.

      • Ian says:

        Please explain to me why oil companies making billions in profits need help.

        • hawg says:

          I didn’t say they need help. I said oil is second only to food in importance in this day and age, as opposed to an unamed social program. WHICH may also be important but apparently not important enough to mention in the article.

          • Ian says:

            In that case I fail to see how oil has any relevance to your argument. Why are you comparing oil companies to the arts?

    • Erick Kuhni says:

      Capitalism and Socialism are not discrete binary points on the economic spectrum.

  5. Sven says:

    Charles said:

    “Bishop is a proud member of the Tea Party, which went to Congress this year with the avowed intention of slashing spending or they’d shut the government down trying. The list of programs they’ve slashed all in the space of a day or so, with little debate, are almost all “liberal” programs that directly impact the poor and needy, while they don’t seem to see a problem with federal spending that helps cattle ranchers, or farmers, or the oil industry, or the military industrial complex.”

    Charles, did you know that T.E.A. in Tea Party means: “Taxed Enough Already? It was this movement that ousted RINO’s like Bennett (Hatch is next!), and brought in new blood like Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul. This movement also ushered in an unprecedented sweep of the House, and large gains in the Senate. The GOP is “slashing spending” because that’s what we sent them there to do. That’s what last November’s elections were all about!

    So Charles, it really upset you that the GOP slashed these “liberal” programs with “little debate?” Were you equally misty eyed when the Dem controlled House and Senate passed that despicable Health Care Law with NO DEBATE and no chance for the members to read the bill before it was voted on? My guess is you were not!

    Charles said:

    “One friend on Facebook, Wendy Garcia, has a husband in the Army who is serving in Iraq. She is worried that, if the government shuts down, her husband’s salary won’t be paid to her.”

    Charles, if the government does shut down for a short bit (we can only hope!), defense spending—including this army spouse’s husband’s pay—will not be affected. Please write her back and tell her the good news.

    Charles said:

    “That’s bad enough, but the U.S. Senate has indicated it won’t go along with the cuts, and President Obama has vowed to veto them. The Tea Party are the tail wagging the dog of the rest of the Republicans in congress who lack the spine to stand up to them or — like Bishop — see them as critical to reelection, and there’s nothing more important that reelection.”

    Hmmm, so you are upset that the GOP “establishment is not standing up the Tea Party (read: conservative Republicans)? Funny, but I don’t remember the Libs being equally fired up about the Blue Dogs standing up to the out of control Leftists like: Obama, Reid, and Pelosi? I guess your disgust about the “lack of spine” only includes the Republicans and the Tea party?

    Charles said:

    “This is a sad commentary on where we’re at these days — Congressmen routinely vilify federal workers as leeches sucking down huge salaries simply because that very public vilification plays to the loudmouths screaming for government to quit taxing them or wasting money, or something. How does vilification of government workers for short-term political gain help the nation as a whole?”

    Charles, nobody I know has a problem with federal workers; we have a problem with public sector unions and their “collective bargaining.” Now, if you’re speaking of those teachers who went out on strike in Wisconsin at the expense of their “student’s education,” and with fraudulent physician’s excuses, then yes, they would most accurately be characterized as: “leeches sucking down huge salaries…”

    Charles said:

    “This is a sad commentery on where we’re at these days — Congressmen routinely vilify federal workers as leeches sucking down huge salaries…”

    Charles, nobody has a problem with federal workers. The problem (as seen in Wisconsin) are the public sector unions and their “collective bargaining” (otherwise known as: “The private sector will pay my pension and health care at no cost to me!”).
    Thank you Rep. Bishop!

  6. Sven says:

    I relalize my last two paragraphs (“federal workers”) look similar…had a computer/website technical malfunction. These are two posts that melded as one. Strange indeed! ;-)

  7. Mcode21 says:

    Well said Sven. One thing Charles and other need to remember is that even if the government shuts down for let’s say five days, the employees will still get paid for those days off, it will just be after the fact. It might make a change on one pay period and they will not be charged vacation as well. They have also designated specific people who will still work during that time as well.
    Now that being said I will say that I could be wrong about this and I am sure someone will be happy to correct me, but I don’t think so…

  8. hawg says:

    for Ian, because there wasn’t a reply option/button

    I didn’t bring up oil, charles did.
    I brought up the arts because charles didn’t.

    when it comes right down to it and money is tight, we need food and oil looong before we need any kind of arts

    • Sven says:

      Everything Liberals do is bass ackwards!

      They use food stuffs for fuel, driving up costs and hurting the poorest among us around the world. Take a look at corn prices. Maybe Charles and other Liberals could ask the poor folks who are already struggling in South and Central America how much their corn is costing them since the enviro-Nazis decided to use their primary food source for fuel.

      Thanks to Liberals, oil companies can’t drill in shallow (oil rich) waters in the gulf, but are instead forced to drill in very, very deep waters, where the prospects of getting a source of viable oil is minimal, and the risks for accidents are highest. Ironically enough, the Man-Child who occupies the White House finds great benevolence in selling leases to foreign nations to drill in the more desirable areas of the Gulf. I guess only Americans pollute?

      Thanks to Leftists we also can’t drill in the oil-rich region of ANWR. Not only is the oil plentiful, but it would provide good paying jobs for the people who live in this region. But we’ve already seen how much the Man-Child cares about those who work for the oil industry. Remember the moratorium? Oh wait, I almost forgot, those “Green Jobs” are just around the corner…Obama said so! Thanks to the EPA, we also can’t go after other viable sources of oil such as shale found in Wyoming and Montana. But I guess this really a moot point when you think about it. Really, what good would oil do when we don’t have enough refineries to process it? Liberals (through endless regulations and the EPA) have ensured that no new refineries have been built for many moons.

      For you Leftists who think that cutting back on oil is good, you had better wake up. A shortage of oil doesn’t just mean driving less. As another poster here noted, there are many other things made from the byproducts of oil that you use daily…such as plastic. As the other poster said, until you oil bashers are regularly commuting on your bikes, using nothing but solar panels on your homes, and using NO byproducts from oil; well, then maybe we’ll take you serious! Right now all you’re doing is destroying this country. As Hawg so aptly noted, oil is what moves our world and provides the standard of living we enjoy. Sadly, oil like other things is being demonized by Leftists to push the myth that is Anthropologic Global Warming. These myths are put forth so Liberals can push their agenda on the rest of society.

      If conditions in Saudi Arabia deteriorate, and we have a true shortage of oil, Liberals should be held directly responsible. We should demonize Liberals the same way they have demonized everyone else who has provided services to this country and the world…like oil companies!

      • Ian says:

        “Thanks to Liberals, oil companies can’t drill in shallow (oil rich) waters in the gulf, but are instead forced to drill in very, very deep waters, where the prospects of getting a source of viable oil is minimal, and the risks for accidents are highest. Ironically enough, the Man-Child who occupies the White House finds great benevolence in selling leases to foreign nations to drill in the more desirable areas of the Gulf.”

        Could you please provide me with an example.

        • Sven says:

          Ian said:

          “Could you please provide me with an example.”

          Sure, the Man-Child’s seven-year drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. You know, the one that will cost millions of oil industry jobs.

    • Ian says:

      So you are saying we should subsidize oil. If you aren’t saying that we should subsidize oil then you don’t seem to have a point. Which is it? The discussion was about whether we should pay for “liberal” programs like NPR. You have basically said no, but we should help oil companies because oil is important. If that was not your point then oil has no relevance to the discussion. WHICH IS IT?

      • Sven says:

        Nice try Ian, but our good buddy Charles is the one who brought up oil in his original post. There was nothing in Hawg’s post (or mine) that could be construed with him saying that oil should be subsidized.

        In responding to Charles’ claim that Hawg was advocating subsides for oil companies; Hawg said:

        “what I’m saying is what I said, you found space to denigrate some evily approved ‘republican’ programs but couldn’t find space to tell us about these poor picked on ‘liberal’ programs. why is that?

        so much for capitalism? if NPR cannot be supported by capitalism, as in little audience, you don’t claim capitalism failed, you demand assistance.

        I’m not at all opposed to some ‘socialism’ programs. there is plenty of need for help.
        but at the end of the day you need food to survive and oil to make it, get it, transport it and defend it. not exactly what you get out of endowments for the arts now is it?
        I frankly think one day most all farms will be government run, whether I agree with it or not.”

        Ian, the onus is on you to tell us where Hawg said that oil companies should be subsidized? Charles and other Liberals never miss an opportunity to bash oil companies; Hawg was simply showing their importance and defending them. Remember, it was Charles who brought up oil companies…not Hawg.

        Ian said:

        “The discussion was about whether we should pay for ‘liberal’ programs like NPR. You have basically said no, but we should help oil companies because oil is important. If that was not your point then oil has no relevance to the discussion. WHICH IS IT?”

        Ian, focus like a laser; it was Charles who brought up the oil companies, not me or Hawg. You need to ask Charles the “relevance” of oil to the discussion since he’s the one who brought it up!

        Should we subsidize liberal mouth-pieces like NPR and PBS through tax-payer funding? No and Hell No! It really is amusing watching the Liberals paint NPR as a great national treasure of objective journalism. Two words for you: Nina Totenberg and the late Daniel Shore. They don’t get any more leftist than these two icons of NPR!

        Tell you what, if we’re forced to involuntarily have to pay taxes to support a liberal rag like NPR, then you folks on the Left should be forced to support Fox News…how about that? Sorry, but we don’t want to hear you whine about having to support Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, when we’ve been forced (for years!) to support the likes of Ms. Totenberg, and Mr. Shore. Sounds fair to me. :-)

        Here’s the simple truth: if NPR had to compete in the Free Market just like other radio stations and news outlets; where having listeners and advertisers is a MUST; they would go the way of Air Amerika. I’m frankly sick and tired of my money having to support Liberal-Democrat mouth-pieces like NPR. Let them compete or die in the Free Market.

        • Ian says:

          I don’t care who brought it up, and who says I’m liberal? Ten paragraphs and you still haven’t answered the question! Try again to help out your buddy. Ten more paragraphs please. I do like the use of the semi colon, now focus.

          • Sven says:

            Charles said:

            “The list of programs they’ve slashed all in the space of a day or so, with little debate, are almost all ‘liberal’ programs that directly impact the poor and needy, while they don’t seem to see a problem with federal spending that helps cattle ranchers, or farmers, or the oil industry, or the military industrial complex.”

            Ian, if you’re going to make the argument that oil isn’t pertinent to this conversation, then you are admitting that Charles also had no reason to bring it up in the first place. Secondly, please point out where Hawg or I said oil companies should be subsidized? Nice try attempting to make Charles’ own words moot to this conversation.

            The 2005 energy bill, H.R. 6 which many people like to point to as a give-away to the oil companies, actually brought net tax increases to the oil companies. Guess how much the federal government gets for every gallon of gasoline sold (which they had no part in its exploration, extraction, or refining)? There’s a standard flat-tax of 18 cents per gallon, sales taxes, inspection fees, and other regulatory fees making the government’s profit about 45 cents per gallon (varies by state). Pretty good deal for the federal government considering they did nothing but put stumbling blocks in the way of these companies!

            Oh, and I did address why liberal rags like NPR should never be given tax-payer funds. Care to address that? In many ways NPR is like those public sector unions; beneficiaries at the tax payer’s teats.

            Hey, I did this post in only four paragraphs! :-)

  9. cougarjax says:

    hawg,
    I think your well reasoned explanation to Ian is futile. I don’t know why he doesn’t get it, but I do know that he drives a car using byproducts from oil. When Ian is a pedestrian and uses only electricity from the solar panels on the roof of his (apartment?), I’ll stop laughing at his logic. Until then he is just a hypocrite.

    • Ian says:

      LOL! What is my logic? My logic for asking a question? I haven’t stated any opinion on the matter. How am I a hypocrite? Please respond and explain this to me!

      I rarely get involved in these discussions because you have to engage complete morons like cougar. So cougar, explain to me what is my logic? What the hell are you talking about?

    • hawg says:

      well, thank you, thought maybe I was losing my mind. I don’t know how to make it any more clear. the blindingly obvious is the blindingly obvious

  10. cougarjax says:

    The author of this article needs to quit trying to emulate Rush Limbaugh and untie half his brain from behind his back.

  11. LMA says:

    What part of “we don’t have the money” do you people not understand? We were running massive deficits before Obama took office, promising to reduce them. Instead, he has run them up and up and up, to levels that even his own Treasury Secretary describes as unsustainable. We HAVE to cut. We HAVE to cut very large sums of money. Will this lead people, like this columnist, to squeal like stuck pigs? Well, sure. But that doesn’t mean that there is any way out. WE DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO CONTINUE TO SPEND, SPEND, SPEND.

    Now I know immediately that folks start to complain about taxes being too low for “the rich.” (By the way, they don’t really mean “the rich;” they mean “upper income people,” which turns out not to be the same thing at all. “The rich” actually support Democrats.) But you can’t possibly raise taxes high enough to bring deficits back down, not without causing yet another economic meltdown. Do the math, people. The estimate for the tax gain for rolling back the Bush tax rates for the upper income (last December’s fight) was one trillion over TEN YEARS. That was a high estimate, but keep in mind that each year’s deficit is well over a trillion dollars. So that tax was about a tenth of the solution at best.

    There is no getting around it. WE DON’T HAVE THE MONEY. The federal budget HAS TO BE CUT in order to avoid the same problems that afflict Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc., etc. People who try to stand in the way of the cuts that need to be made just have their heads in the sand.

    Hope that clears it up for you.

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