Rarely have more people in the United States been more deeply concerned about the direction of their country as right now. During the past two years, millions of men and women have literally marched in the streets for political change. They are not demanding new entitlement programs or striking (like the French) if their demands are not met; they simply want their country back.
The most visible part of this uprising is the Tea Party movement. The movement reveals the disappointment felt by many American voters when in 2008 President George W. Bush launched the enormous government bailouts of banks and insurance companies. Public disappointment grew to outrage as the new Obama administration and its Democratic allies in Congress oversaw takeovers of two major automobile companies, a huge increase in government spending, and a government take-over of the health care industry.
Many of the current American and European policies lead to nothing more than wealth redistribution. They tax successful citizens more than they tax the unsuccessful and redistribute the money to the growing shares of the population who either work for the government or do not work and do not seek to work.
In “The Wealth of Nations” published in 1776, Adam Smith pointed out that “taxing Peter to pay Paul” leads to impoverishment of nations.
Originally our founders created constitutional barriers to this destructive tendency, but those barriers have fallen in recent decades, with calamitous results.
The “Tea Party patriots” perceive that these developments contradict basic American ideals and historical practice. They remind us that the Founders’ Declaration of Independence refused to accept “taxation without representation.”
They also refused to accept British Parliamentary supremacy and the rulings of King George III that violated civil and economic liberties. These current Tea Party patriots remind us of events that led to the Declaration of Independence and the war for independence. They wear T-shirts and carry signs declaring “Liberty or Death” and “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Before this last election, big news media and many politicians paid little attention to the Tea Party movement. Unfortunately, the traditional big news media have been overwhelmingly on the side of big government.
The Taxpayer March on Washington in September 2009 was a prime example of media bias. What was by many accounts one of the largest marches on Washington D.C. in history was simply ignored by most news media. It didn’t merit a single picture in Time magazine’s “Year in Review.”
Although apparently abandoned by politicians and most of the media, the founders’ ideals still prevail in America. In contrast to citizens in other nations, an international survey showed that 66 percent of Americans agreed that “government is almost always wasteful and inefficient.”
A similar percentage agreed that “most government officials don’t care what people like me think.” The Tea Party movement suggests that these views are even more prevalent and strongly felt today.
The last two elections show that the public knows who is to blame for the outrageous growth in government spending, but neither the Republicans nor Democrats paid attention. Bush left office with a job approval rating of only 22 percent, which led to a party change in the White House.
President Obama’s approval rating after little more than a year in office hovers around 30 percent. Polls conducted last spring and early summer found approval ratings of only 19 percent for Congress, 11 percent for House Speaker Pelosi, and 8 percent for Senate Majority Leader Reid. Not listening to the people led to a defeat of Democrats in the House of Representatives in last week’s midterm elections.
We can hope that the Tea Party mantra of “smaller government and less taxes” will carry over into the new Congress. If that occurs, then maybe Congress can regain the peoples’ trust. Too often after past elections, promises made were not promises kept.
This week’s column would not be complete without congratulating Dawson County voters for passing Senior Citizen Tax Relief by 80 percent of the vote.
More than one constituent has called me with a “Yee haw!”
I want to congratulate State Senator-elect Steve Gooch and welcome him to the Georgia General Assembly. Now, Gooch will be my partner in the Legislature.
Together, we can do more for our constituents in North Georgia.
The Legislature re-convenes in early January. Let me know what your legislative needs are so that I can be ready.
Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 689 N. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533; call (706) 864-6589; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, contact Gerald Lewy at (706) 344-7788.