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Jerry Shenk


Who Says Democrats ~Republicans Can't Agree?

by Jerry Shenk
 

There are more than 18 trillion reasons why the fiscally-conservative grassroots -- Tea Partiers, Patriots, 9-12'ers and similar groups - aren't going away.

Dismissing general public alarm about deficits and the national debt,
Democrats and the media suggest that only "unruly" Tea Partiers
protest deficits, debt, and other national problems.

But, in 2010, Gallup revealed that the grassroots were mainstream. More than four in tenwere registered Democrats or independents. That's still true.

Democrats denigrate them, because grassroots organizations formed
spontaneously in response to Democratic fiscal and policy initiatives.

Big-government Republicans don't like them, because the grassroots know that
Democrats exacerbated the problems, but aren't solely at fault. Republicans,
too, have increased America's debt.

Warranted or not, President George W. Bush prosecuted wars costing more than
$1 trillion, and he signed authorization for the $700 billion Troubled
Assets Relief Program (TARP), No Child Left Behind, a deficit-financed
Medicare prescription drug plan and expensive, pork-laden farm and
transportation bills, among others.

Joining Democrats Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter, Bush 43 was one of
only three American presidents to oversee concurrent increases in defense
and non-defense spending.

Indeed, both parties have impoverished America.

The grassroots are only visible, vocal manifestations of public frustration
and anger. The political class's animosities notwithstanding, the grassroots
aren't the consuming issues facing America.

Arguably, the grassroots better understand and care more about America's
fiscal problems than do the invested politicians who created them.

In a political environment they believe to be stacked against productive
citizens, regular people -- the grassroots -- are learning or relearning
America's founding principles: personal liberties, the rule of law, limited
government, separation of powers, fiscal responsibility and free markets.

They reasonably expect physically-able, mentally-sound adults to be
personally accountable and self-reliant.

As responsible citizens, grassroots enthusiasts favor assistance for the
disabled and needy but doubt that every one of the nearly half of Americans
who receive benefits fits into either category. They don't accept a need for
eighty or more sometimes-overlapping or redundant means-tested federal
programs.

To them, it's unimaginable that any Congress and president would pass and
sign legislation opposed by a majority of Americans or squander a
trillion-dollar "stimulus" primarily on cronies and the politically-favored.

Most accept that some intervention may have been necessary to save America's
financial system but doubt that it had to be done on the TARP's massive
scale -- and they're certain that bailing out the United Auto Workers Union
with taxpayer funds allocated exclusively for the banking industry was
neither desirable nor legal.

Rejecting the notion that amnesty for millions of unskilled illegal aliens
will somehow cure poverty in America, the grassroots believe that amnesty
will only depress wages at the lower end of the pay scale, including for
struggling young and minority citizens.

The grassroots know that, today, "redistribution of wealth" doesn't mean
taking money from the wealthy and giving it to the needy so much as it means
confiscating everyone's money so politicians can redistribute it to their
cronies, supporters and donors.

Aware of the perils of big government, the grassroots object to elected
officials having made themselves and government employees a privileged
class, overcompensated and exempted from the consequences of their own policies.

Washington is broken.

Career politicians, massive bureaucracies, a strangling regulatory
environment, a byzantine tax code and revolving doors and incestuous
relationships among officeholders, staff members, media and lobbyists, have
broken it.

Elected officials and bureaucrats are doing very well. The rest of us are
stuck paying for their arrogance, their contempt, their poor judgment and
their lousy results.

Politicians speak incessantly, usually insincerely, often dishonestly, about "the plight of the middle class."

Ironically, the grassroots movement is quintessentially middle-class - nary
a plutocrat or oligarch in the lot.

The public costs of crony capitalism, tax loopholes, regulation and
government subsidies fall heavily on the middle class. If elected officials
were genuinely concerned about middle-class Americans, they'd be listening
to the grassroots.

But neither side wants the middle-class grassroots to succeed, because
fiscally-conservative dissidents who spread discontent among millions of
fellow Americans are bad for political careers and Washington's business as
usual.

For that, the grassroots must be silenced. And, on that, both Democrats and
big-government Republicans agree.



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