Politicians and pundits upset that tax increases were not part of the recent debt-ceiling deal in Congress are now blaming the Tea Party for August 5th’s unprecedented downgrading of U.S. sovereign debt by Standard & Poor’s.
Some are even calling Tea Party congressmen and activists “terrorists” for daring to stand up and demand that the American government live within its means. In this case, its means are the taxes that hard-working individuals and companies are able to afford in the face of runaway government spending and debt.
Blaming the Tea Party for pointing out that our national government is well on its way toward a financial cliff is like blaming someone who sees a house on fire for calling 911.
“No new taxes” is a perfectly acceptable political position. It bears no resemblance to any tactics that can remotely be described as terrorism. Letting people keep their own money, the money they’ve legitimately earned, doesn’t inflict violence on anyone else.
Terrorists do just the opposite; they take others’ property and lives for their own political, religious or other causes.
The Tea Party is more like the little boy in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale who stood up and pointed out that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes. Such honesty then, and now, is cause for praise, not name-calling.
Steve Buckstein is Founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.