the Cross Reference

Opinion

During a recent trip to Washington D. C. I had the privilege to meet the Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator, Jenny Beth Martin. I, like most people, had a preconceived notion of who she was and what the Tea Party Patriots were about. I was wrong.

Like most Missouri Western State University students I had heard some of the things that the Tea Party supposedly stood for. I heard they were conservative, Bible-thumping, gun-toting racists. I’m sure like any other group of humans there are some of every derivation, but only the truly extreme individuals are exploited and used as the example to satisfy sensational media.

I, like many, based my interpretation of the Tea Party Patriots on what I had heard, but I wanted the facts so I asked her to define what she and her group were about.

“The principles of the Tea Party Patriots are America’s core principles,” Martin said. “Our mission is to restore America’s founding principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government and free markets.”

The Tea Party’s definition of fiscal responsibility is not overspending and not burdening our children and grandchildren with our debt. It is a fact that my five-year-old daughter owns about $54,000 of that debt.

Our country is about 14 trillion dollars in debt, and it is growing daily. Fiscal responsibility sounds great but I don’t know if Americans really know what it means to cut spending enough to make any real difference in our debt load.

It could mean cutting services for those who believe they need it and believe they are entitled to it. I believe if those cuts come too fast and too severe the non-privileged my turn on the privileged (whoever they are?). America is becoming polarized and so is Washington. The gridlock of polarization in Washington obscures any resemblance of government.

I also long for a constitutionally-limited government. I’m not like my friend in the Occupy Wall Street movement who told me recently that the constitution has been rendered useless. I believe it can still work if the government would take a moment and check its laws against what the founding fathers intended and what the constitution says. It is being overlooked and misinterpreted too often.

In recent years the idea of free markets has completely eluded the government of the United States. We have stepped in and bailed out banks and large corporations because we were afraid of what would happen if we allowed capitalism to work. If capitalism had been allowed to work some companies would have gone under. Someone would have purchased those companies for a song. The debt would have been written off. The new company would thrive and hire people and start the money engine all over again.

Capitalism used to divide the winners from the losers. Now, the government picks them. No one wins and no one loses. Banks are afraid to loan money now and companies are afraid to invest in anything including people. Capitalism has failed the Occupy Wall Street group and I don’t blame them for protesting against it.

I wish I could show them how it works with a recent example. I just can’t; there are no recent examples. The United States government should have left capitalism alone. It could have corrected our economy and still has a chance if those in power wish to use it properly.

Martin authored an article titled Why ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Doesn’t Compare, recently that ended this way. “We want Congress, the full Congress composed of our representatives, to make the necessary and difficult decisions to cut spending today. We’re not looking for phantom cuts over some mythical 10-year period that will never come. The nation’s problems are real, tangible, and present today. And the full Congress must deal with them—today.” I agree.

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