I was having lunch the other day. One individual at the table was reading a paper. Out of the blue, they started talking about these "stupid People" and "idiots" in the TEA Party. Their main concern was that the TEA Party continually demanded cuts in spending, lower taxes, and a balanced budget, but had no specifics on how the government could achieve this important goal.
While I didn't appreciate the adjectives this person used, I can understand how one could get that idea. There's been a lot of talk about the "TEA Party" in the news and how much power the TEA Party has. If you go on YouTube and Facebook, you'll find videos of TEA Party "Representatives" and "leaders" who only seem to be yelling and griping but can't give you very many facts on the issues.
Being a Member of the Martin County TEA Party, I would like to take this chance to offer some facts about the Martin County TEA Party and its positions and affiliations.
The first thing one should understand is that there is NO National TEA Party. TEA parties are grassroots organizations. There is no hierarchy setting a platform, recruiting candidates, telling the organization what to do, or how to operate.
In fact, the Martin County TEA party isn't even an incorporated group. It is just a number of individuals who have come together because they feel the need for action on three core issues: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited Govt., and free markets.
For the Martin County TEA Party this action has taken the form of education. In 2010 the Martin County TEA Party brought in a number of speakers for the rally in the Loogootee Square (both Democrat and Republican.) It has held seminars on the Fair Tax, and has brought the non-partisan Constitution Institute to Martin County. While the 2010 rally did offer the opinion of the speakers, the Constitution Institute and Fair Tax seminar offered facts to help people reach their own conclusions about the issues of taxation and the powers of Federal Government. The MC TEA Party also encourages its members to express their personal views through letters to the editor.
The second thing to understand is that what is shown on YouTube and various other media is not representative of the vast majority of people who identify with the TEA party. Does the TEA party have people who just want to yell and scream? Yep. Sure does. But we also have thoughtful, educated people with well informed opinions. For some reason, those people never make it to the YouTube videos.
Believe it or not, I've even met some Republicans who support republicans and republican initiatives regardless of voting record or legislative impact. I've even met some Democrats who are the same way. These people often complain about the other party and have little facts or understanding of the legislative process. They may even show up to a rally or two.
Several years ago my parents chose to support the opponent of a senator who was very popular in this area. They received several letters while doing this. Some politely asked them to stop. Some were rude and unsigned. Some were threats. Were these letters representative of the Senator's party or the Senator himself? of course not. They were from extremists.
The point is, everyone has their extremist; Republicans, Democrats, and TEA Party.
So what about the question at the start? Where does the TEA Party expect these spending cuts to take place? How do we balance the budget? What are the specifics?
I can't speak for all the TEA Party or even the Martin County Tea Party. That's not what they do. All I can offer is my personal opinion to those in office.
1. Look at the Constitution. Understand what powers the constitution gives to the Federal Government and what it gives to the States.
2. Look and see if any Federal Government programs overstep the boundaries set. (Yes...There will be debate on this. Much of the debate will involve social issues.)
3. If you as an elected official see a place where the Federal Govt. has overstepped their bounds, work to cut that program from the budget or work to transition the program to the proper state authority.
4. Review foreign aid.
5. Become familiar with alternate taxing methods such as the Fair Tax or the Flat tax and see how they can be used to generate more revenue by removing tax loopholes.
6. Consider the possibility of raising revenue by leasing some Govt. Properties.
I say with every confidence, without the TEA Party sounding the alarm there would be no effort on the part of the Democrats or the Republicans to address America's Debt Crisis. Until the TEA Party movement came along, both parties were happy to keep spending despite the massive debt they were placing on the next generations. That reason alone makes me proud to be a small part of it.