The Tea Party Or The You Can Have Your Cake And Eat It Too Party?

Posted: October 18, 2010 in Current Events, Politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

We all know that one of the main planks of the Tea Party agenda (and thus the Republican agenda, since they are seeking to take advantage of the Tea Party wave) is to reduce the size of government so that we can eliminate the deficit and start paying off the national debt.  But do they really want smaller government?  Do they really even understand what that means?  Polls like this recent New York Times poll are very revealing!

So 92% of Tea Party respondents said they would prefer to have a smaller government that provides fewer services.  However, when asked if services such as Social Security and Medicare are worth the costs of those programs, 62% of those very same Tea Party respondents said yes.  Hmm, maybe Christine O’Donnell should reconsider her ad campaign where she said she is not a witch, because it is going to take some kind of spell to cut government spending while not cutting government spending!

I see this kind of stuff in other polls too, and not just those polling the Tea Party.  People say they want the size of government to be reduced.  But then when you start listing government programs, people will say “yeah, let’s keep this, and that, and that”.  This is why in the Republican’s “Pledge to America”, if you look at the items they say they are going to focus on to eliminate the deficit, they are only actually only considering 15% of the total budget, or about $530 billion.  OK, so the deficit is $1.3 trillion and the total debt is $13 trillion.  And we are going to get all that under control by focusing on reigning in the waste within a $530 billion piece of the budget?  I know I just work in the actuarial field, but that math looks a little fuzzy to me (but it’s OK, we will make it up through tax cuts……..um what?).

I think people really overestimate the amount of government waste or really underestimate the size of our deficit (or probably both).  To completely eliminate the deficit without raising taxes, the budget would have to be cut by roughly 35%.  I agree that there is government waste, but is there really 35% of waste to be found?  Of course, some people are even more clueless about our government than that.  We all remember hearing about the classic “keep your government hands off my Medicare” statement.  Or what about Craig T. Nelson whining on Fox News about government bailouts and then claiming nobody helped him out when he was on food stamps and welfare.  Where do these folks think stuff like Medicare, food stamps, and welfare come from?  I don’t know, but I would like to think it might be the something-for-nothing fairy!

Photo of what is believed to be the Something-For-Nothing Fairy. Must be protected from government at all costs!

Anyway, I think what people really want is big government spending and low taxes.  And that’s how you get trillions of dollars into debt!

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Comments
  1. Tim Towers says:

    Wow, that was an awful lot of words to say nothing. You question what people think but provide no facts to contradict their statements other than your an actuarial. So what is the solution? By the way those polls are answers to very specific questions that only allow simple answers with no explanations. I am a Tea Party person and I believe that they should leave Social Security alone. Now if I stopped there you would be all, see, exactly what I’m talking about. The truth is it should be left alone for those that have paid so much into it but should be phased out for those who are younger and replaced with a program that the government “can’t” rape when they run out of money. And by the way, I worked in DC for 12 years and there is a huge amount of waste that if controlled would be a significant savings and deficit reducer. It’s time to stop throwing bomb and time to start offering solutions if you have any to offer.

  2. gesvol says:

    I’m so glad you managed to slog through my many words of nothingness! Really this blog is about nothing anyway, it’s the Seinfeld of blogs.

    I just found the response interesting, the whole support for a government that provides fewer services while at the same time supporting the money spent on very expensive services provided by that same government is an apparent contradiction, if not an actual one.

    I don’t pretend to have “the solution”. The problems our nation faces are often difficult to solve. I will point out that if we continue to provide old age, survivor, and disability insurance for all Americans, it is going to be expensive regardless of what form it takes (so one possibility would be to no longer provide it to all Americans, but would the public support that option?).

    Here is an article that includes potential Social Security reforms. It is more focused on ensuring that benefits paid out do not exceed revenue brought in from payroll taxes and trust fund investment, not the overall expense of the program.

    Social Security Reform

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