What Republicans Want… I Don’t Know


gop_elephant__question_lgAs the fiscal cliff debate unfolded over these past couple of months, one thing became clear – the Republican position is murkier than ever. I honestly have no idea what the right wants concerning issues like entitlement reform, spending cuts, and the debt.

We know Republicans want tax cuts; specifically for the wealthy. The fiscal cliff became a battle waged solely over the Bush tax cuts for top earners. The small percentage of people affected by those top-tier tax cuts became the most important Americans, and the Republican Party was willing to let taxes increase on everybody in order to make an ideological statement.

The logic of this position is still baffling. Republicans were fighting to keep taxes low for the top 2 percent with the threat of raising taxes on 100 percent of the population. While arguing higher taxes would hinder economic growth, more than half of House Republicans voted to go off the cliff and raise taxes on everyone. It was an illogical position from the start.

We can be sure Republicans want to cut taxes for the rich; however, the same cannot be said for the middleclass and less affluent. Although there was very little discussion over the payroll tax cut, an EPI study concluded extending the payroll tax holiday would provide the greatest benefit to cost ratio of all the taxes that were scheduled to increase on January 1. Disappointingly, Democrats did not fight too hard for an extension, but it shouldn’t have even been a fight. Why would the Party so concerned about cutting taxes for the top 2 percent be against extending tax cuts for everyone else? Possibly because the payroll tax cut largely benefited the middleclass, not campaign donors “Job Creators.”

Delving deeper into convoluted Republican positions, one doesn’t have to listen to John Boehner too long to hear talk of reforming entitlements and getting the debt under control. Both ideas sound very conservative, but without any substantive policies back those ideas, it’s nothing more than base-appeasing rhetoric.

Concerning entitlement reform: throughout all the negations, Republicans proposed no actual entitlement reforms, instead, demanded President Obama lay out his own reforms. Besides being a cowardly political move (fearing reform proposals would be fodder for a future attack), why should that be the President’s responsibility? The President wanted to raise taxes and Republicans wanted to reform entitlements. It would make sense for each side to devise a plan according to their desire. The President did his part, but Republicans did nothing, and then blamed Democrats for inaction.

Furthermore, President Obama actually offered changes to Social Security. He proposed calculating Social Security benefits with a chained CPI method. Fancy talk for a benefit cut that slows growth in Social Security spending. Republicans rejected this offer because it would have meant going against their illogical and ideological position to never raise taxes (on the rich). So what do Republicans mean when they speak about entitlement reform? They offered no ideas of their own and rejected the one put forth by President Obama. To be fair, the Ryan Plan did offer changes to entitlements, but they were not reforms. They fundamentally changed the programs; drastically cutting benefits, with no evidence of actually working in practice.

Beyond entitlement reform, is talk of debt management. But where is the evidence Republicans care about decreasing the debt? Their whole position is to lower taxes and magically increase revenue. It is no coincidence that as tax rates are at all time lows, tax revenues have also been at all time lows. Republicans say closing loopholes will bring in revenue, but have yet to mention a specific loophole they are willing to close. They say they want to rein in entitlement spending, but haven’t offered any reforms to those programs besides simply cutting them. And they say they want to cut wasteful spending, but at the same time favor allocating more money to defense than the next 13 countries combined (and still want more!).

Truly, I am confused about the Republican position. Yes, they want lower taxes, but really only for the rich. Other than that, who knows? They talk big about reforming entitlements and decreasing our debt, but none of their policies reflect those beliefs.

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Yes, Let’s Talk About Gun Control


360_fareed_0820It seems the only time the issue of guns and gun control is at the forefront of the national conversation is after a tragedy like that of Sandy Hook Elementary School.  At the same time though, as the nation ponders the issue, there are also societal murmurings and whispers that we must not politicize this event, or use it to advance political agendas. Here lies the crux of the problem of gun violence in our country. The only time we as a society think about reforming gun laws occurs simultaneously with an understanding that we must not use one event – one tragedy – to determine the laws of our nation.

So we are stuck with the status quo. We are stuck with a system where attaining a gun comes with relative ease, including guns meant for killing. Assault rifles, semi-automatics, and high-capacity magazines can all be legally obtained. These are weapons not for sport, not for hunting, and not for personal protection; they are weapons designed to kill.

Advocates of guns will give their usual objections about gun control laws after tragedies like the one that occurred last week, saying people like the shooter are insane, mentally disturbed individuals; gun control laws will not prevent people from shooting up schools, malls or movie theatres. This may be true. It may be impossible to create gun control laws to stop disturbed individuals intent on killing indiscriminately from doing precisely that.

But, let’s remember, the vast majority of victims of gun violence are not the victims of mass shootings. Gun violence happens daily. There were close to 9,000 gun related homicides in 2011 accounting for 67 percent of all homicides, and the frequency of gun violence in the United States is much greater than that of other OECD countries; however, it takes a national tragedy for us to talk about gun control. This is problematic because the dialogue around reforming gun laws centers on trying to prevent the next Sandy Hook, or the next Aurora movie theatre, which is without a doubt, a difficult task.

A not as difficult task is creating laws that will help curb all the other forms of gun violence. Restricting access to guns, and banning guns solely meant for killing is a good start. A Harvard Study discovered that where there are more guns there are more homicides – a not-so-groundbreaking revelation. This coupled with the fact that the majority of guns are obtained legally leads us to conclude that if guns were harder to obtain, gun violence would be reduced.

Instead of implementing reasonable gun control laws, we do nothing because we become ensconced with the belief that no amount of laws will prevent insane individuals from shooting up public places. We let the extreme cases of gun violence paralyze all gun-related policy. Instead of enacting reasonable laws like stricter background checks, closing the gun show loophole, banning semi-automatic and assault weapons, increasing funding for mental health problems, and banning magazines and clips that hold inexplicable amounts of ammunition, we do nothing. We hide behind the excuse that these laws will not stop all gun violence.

However, just because these laws may not have stopped Adam Lanza or James Eagan Holmes from committing such horrifying acts doesn’t mean new laws would be useless or in vain. Gun violence is so prevalent in this country that homicides simply become statistics, and it’s only until we face mass murder that we stop charting those statistics and put a face to them. It’s why only after a shooting rampage do we think about reforming gun control laws. Let’s remember, every statistic is a person, a person with a family and friends, and if stricter gun control laws can prevent just one of those cases, I say it’s worth it.

This doesn’t mean restricting individual freedoms, or eviscerating the Second Amendment. I’m not saying all guns should be banned, but gun ownership is a privilege, not a right, and therefore it should come with restrictions. The goal of gun control laws is not to make us less free – but to make us safer.

Not Makers and Takers, Just People


One theme that emerged from this most recent election (and from the comment section of this post) is that the American electorate is divided into two categories – the makers and the takers. This being embodied by Mr. Romney’s “47 percent” comment (those who pay no federal income tax) and his post-election comment about President Obama’s victory being the result of him promising gifts. Fox News agreed with this line of thinking, which prompted Bill O’Reilly to say half the country just wants “things.”gifts

Where I disagree with Bill O’Reilly is that he believes only half the country wants “things” – the whole country does. Every single person wants some “thing.”   The nation isn’t made up of makers and takers – it’s made up of HUMANS. Take any Econ (micro) 101 class and at the core is the basic principle that people act out of self-interest. People make decisions to maximize utility, or as I had one Professor put it, “People make decisions to make them happier.”

It’s not that we have a nation of have’s and have not’s or makers and takers; we have a nation of people. People who want to maximize their wellbeing. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when people vote in their own self-interest. Women, Hispanics, and the youth tend to vote more Democratic because Democratic ideals and principles align more closely with their self-interest. Conservatives can say Democrats are in the business of giving away gifts, but this same practice goes for Republicans as well.

The wealthy, the ones who vote Republican, are voting in their own self-interest. The Republican Party is committed to lowering taxes on corporations and top earners. They are committed to fewer environmental regulations. And they are committed to rolling back financial reform. All these are gifts to many Republican donors and voters. It’s pretty simple; both parties offer “gifts” – then the people vote accordingly.

The right doesn’t see it this way though because they believe their model is not just about helping the rich; they believe their model will benefit everyone – that wealth trickles down. It’s a convenient way of thinking, but it’s disconnected with reality. Taxes are at all time lows and have been on the decline since the 80’s, yet we’ve seen no economic boom, only an increase in income inequality. Lax environmental regulations have contributed to an increasingly warmer planet. And dismantling regulations like Dodd-Frank would get rid of the one piece of legislation attempting to prevent another financial collapse.

Republicans like to believe Democrats want people to stay reliant upon the government, which is why the left is usually more in favor of expanding the safety net. However, unlike the Republican model, the Democratic model has historically been successful. Democrats believe in the idea that wealth and prosperity do not stem from the rich or the ‘job creators’; they believe it starts with the average worker. And contrary to a lot of conservatives, this isn’t liberal dogma or some high-minded moral sentiment, it’s actually economically backed. Economies operate on simple supply and demand. As overall demand (or aggregate demand) increases the economy responds and grows.

Demand starts with the many, not the few. It starts with the average person spending their disposable income on goods and services. So in times of recession when people are out of work or their hours are cut, they have less disposable income and the economy slows. This is where government can help, it can step in and provide people with income assistance to not only ensure people can survive, but to actually help get the country out of its slump. It was government spending that got us out of the Great Depression, and although Republicans will disagree, economist are pretty much in agreement that Obama’s stimulus helped in this recovery. So it’s not that Democrats want people to stay reliant upon government, rather, Democrats realize government can help; government can do good.

The right can say Mr. Obama gave people gifts, but it’s no different than when Republicans offer gifts to their supporters. The only difference being that Democrats’ gifts have to lead prosperity in the past while the Republican gifting model has only lead to sharp income inequality, lackluster economic performance, and oh yeah, all those tax cuts that have done nothing but contribute to our debt.

Understanding a Progressive Tax Code


FeaturedImageAs confusion over tax rates and the fiscal cliff dominates the conversation in Washington, it is becoming apparent people do not understand how a progressive tax code works. . A progressive tax code increases a person’s tax rate as their income increases unlike more regressive taxes, which set a uniform rate regardless of income. The federal income tax, being the most progressive tax, has 5 different brackets or tiers. As an individual earns more, that income is taxed at a higher rate with rates set at 10%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%. The top rate of 35%, which gets all the attention, is only paid on income over $200,000 for an individual or over $250,000 for a couple.

Now, if a person makes $251,000 a year, all that income is not then taxed at 35%. Only $1,000 (the amount over $250,000) is taxed at 35%. Everybody, from business owners to the working poor, pays the same amount in taxes on the same amount of income. Whether it’s a CEO who makes a million dollars a year or a factory workers who makes $50,000 a year, both pay the same tax rate on the first $50,000 they earn. The difference is the CEO goes on to make much more, and that money, and only that money, is taxed at a higher rate.

Understanding people will not all of a sudden be forced to pay exorbitantly more in taxes because they make more money has important implications for a lot of the arguments thrown around in tax rate discussions.

It seriously weakens the argument that raising taxes will disincentivize people to make more money – the “why work harder if Uncle Sam is just gonna take my money” people.  This argument falsely assumes if you make too much money then you will be bumped up into the next tax bracket and therefore have a greater tax burden. As noted before, it is only those dollars above the set limits that are taxed at the higher rate; it’s only the dollars greater than $250,000 that are taxed at 35%.

This also has important implications for the debate over whether or not to let the Bush tax cuts expire. The Bush tax cuts were across the board cuts for every income bracket. If they do expire the 10%, 25%, 28%, 33%, and 35% rates will increase to 15%, 28%, 31%, 36%, and 39.6% respectively. It is unlikely we will see all these rates go up, but what is likely to happen is the top two rates will go up (33% to 36% and 35% to 39.6%).  This has prompted rage from the Republican Party, and is the basis for the claim that the President is engaging in class warfare.  The richest Americans will pay higher taxes on some of their income, but as Ezra Klein has pointed out, “It’s an under appreciated fact that extending the Bush tax cuts on income up to $250,000 cuts taxes for rich people, too.”

Republicans also defend low rates on the top 2 percent of people by deeming it as an attack on small businesses citing those that file their earnings as personal income.  Small businesses, ones that pay their taxes on an individual basis and make more than $250,000 would see a higher tax burden if those top rates expired. But, those businesses still receive a tax cut on their income up to $250,000. And 97 percent of small businesses do not fall into this upper echelon.

So as the parties continue to wage debates over tax rates and the Bush tax cuts remember the importance of a progressive tax code in all these discussions.

Are Republicans Turning Keynesian?


With the election over, all attention is now being directed at the fiscal cliff. Basically, at the beginning of 2013 a series of tax cuts are set to expire like the payroll tax break and the Bush tax cuts. Along with the expiring tax cuts is a slew of mandatory spending cuts.  Both parties agree this could throw the country back into a recession. Both parties agree this contraction in spending will hurt the economy. And both parties agree this is something we need to avoid.

Before I continue, I’d like to rewind the clock a couple of years back to when Republicans took control of the House. In 2010 a Republican wave swept into Congress and changed the national dialogue from economic recovery to deficit reduction. They made the national debt and deficit the central issue. They claimed that addressing the nation’s spending problem would put us on a ‘path to prosperity.’  The story went something like this: We have to stop the reckless spending in order to restore confidence in the markets, this will in turn lead to an increase in investment, and we will then see a robust recovery. In economics this is known as expansionary austerity i.e. Europe’s recovery plan.

Now, fast-forward to today where the Republicans could get everything they wanted back in 2010 by simply doing nothing. If Republicans truly bought their argument that government was spending too much money, and the best way to improve the economy was to cut spending then Republicans should be more than willing to drive right off the fiscal cliff. The expiring tax breaks combined with the mandatory cuts would reduce government spending by over $700 billion just in 2013 (5.1% of GDP). The deficit hawks of 2010 should be drooling over this, but instead of embracing the fiscal cliff, Republicans agree with Democrats that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

So, back in 2010 Republicans believed government spending was the problem and needed to be reined in, but now Republicans are arguing that cutting government spending will throw the economy back into a recession. Essentially saying that not only can government spending be helpful, but cutting it would be hurtful. The Republicans have officially becomes Keynesians!

So what happened?

Is the Republican Party really changing? No. Although Republicans talk about being fiscally conservative, and talk even louder about solving the ‘debt crisis’ – they really don’t care about the debt. The poster child of fiscal conservatism, Paul Ryan, devised a plan that would take over two decades to balance the budget.

What’s going on in the Republican Party is much more cynical. They are using the guise of fiscal responsibility in order to advance their agenda of changing the role of government. They believe in a minimalist government. Not one that actually tackles the debt problem, but one that cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans and sets up a system for the rich to get richer, the poor to get poorer, and the middle-class to disappear. They envision an Ayn Rand world where government has no responsibility to take care of the less advantaged. Hence the reason why the Ryan Plan cuts Medicare, and makes even deeper cuts to Medicaid. And why the vast majority of the savings in the plan comes not from bloated defense spending, or slight tax increases on the top two percent of earners, but rather to programs that benefit the poor and the needy.

You may agree with this. You may think government should let everyone fend for themselves – but don’t be fooled into thinking this is fiscal responsibility. Don’t be fooled into thinking the only way we can balance our budget is on the backs of poor by cutting the programs on which they rely. And don’t be fooled into thinking that giving the ‘job creators’ more money will somehow lead to prosperity.

Republicans are not the party of deficit hawks or fiscal conservatives (which is why they don’t want us to go off the fiscal cliff). They are the Party that wants to fundamentally change the role of government in the economy. A role that no longer helps the most disadvantaged in society, but one that caters to the most advantaged

Why the Economy Doesn’t Matter


Okay – obviously it does. We still have weak economic growth, high unemployment, and a lack of consumer confidence. However, as Keynes pointed out decades ago, and as Paul Krugman recently referenced, due to “use, decay, and obsolescence” economies eventually fix themselves. Basically, as products, machinery, or equipment grows old, breaks down, or becomes obsolete – it needs to be replaced. This means businesses and individuals start buying more products, and the economy returns itself to normal.

I bring this up because so often the question in the Presidential race is who is best suited to fix this economy. Not to say this issue shouldn’t be addressed, but it overshadows so many other issues. Since we are in a recession, we as a country forget there are other problems and issues a President must address.

The United States is facing an education crisis; our standing on the world stage continually dropping. Not to mention there are underfunded and understaffed schools across the country.  Both sides have offered little more than campaign platitudes, and good feeling rhetoric like “Hire more teachers!” In fairness to the President though, he does have his Race to the Top initiative, which focuses on increasing funding for k-12 education. (He did a terrible job communicating details of the plan during the debate) Similarly, Democrats have been trying to increase funding for Pell grants, and are working to  keep interest rates low on student loans. Conversely, the Ryan plan slashes education, including cuts to programs like Head Start and Pell grants. Also, we have seen Republican Governors attempt to balance their budgets by getting rid of teachers and other public employees.

The next President is also likely to make two Supreme Court nominees, which means whomever wins this election, his stance on social issues will have a greater bearing on policy than normal. This is troubling, especially considering we have absolutely no idea what Mitt Romney actually believes on the issue of abortion, and in the debate, Paul Ryan hinted he would be in favor of overturning Roe vs. Wade. Furthermore, as state courts contemplate the issue of gay marriage, it is only a matter of time before the Supreme Court weighs in. Yes, jobs are important, but it is also important that women continue to have the right to make decisions about their body, and it is also important we work toward giving all persons equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.

Finally, as I’ve argued before, the greatest threat to this country is not the debt, it’s not China, and contrary to many Catholic groups, it’s not gay people – it’s climate change. Climate change not only threatens the lives  of people across the globe, but it has and will continue to devastate the world economy. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to fix, and the harder it will be to reverse. Addressing climate change will be the single most difficult task our country has faced. Not because we don’t know how to fix it, or it’s a problem on too big of a scale to solve – it’s because one of the political parties doesn’t even believe it exists. Even though the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in support of climate change, the right insists it must be a left-wing conspiracy.

So as election day nears, remember, this country faces more challenges than just the economy. They are challenges of a type that being a businessman doesn’t automatically qualify you to address. As voters we should elect a President who believes in funding the eduction of future generations, not cutting it in the name of fiscal responsibility. We should elect a President who believes in protecting the rights of women and extending equal rights to all persons, not suppressing individual liberties to cater to the extreme wing of the base. And although both parties have stalled on the issue of climate change, for God’s sake, we should elect a President who sides with the scientists (and the rest of the developed world for that matter) and recognizes the threat is real, not one who believes the entire scientific community is pulling some giant prank.

P.S. I also believe Obama is better suited to fix the economy – See here, here, here, and here

The Purpose of a Tax


Taxes* serve two purposes: the first is to provide governments with revenue, and the second is to deter or regulate activity i.e. sin tax on alcohol or trade tariffs.

Notice, neither purpose’s main role is to serve as a catalyst toward economic growth like Republicans believe. Republicans are confident, just so sure, that if we lower taxes the economy will prosper. But understanding the purpose of taxes, and just basic tax history, there is little evidence to support the Republican model. Tax rates have been consistently decreasing for decades, yet the economy has still had its ups and downs. The point is economic growth is not solely determined by tax rates – it’s not that simple.

I think Democrats better understand the purpose of taxes. Democrats do not argue higher taxes lead to economic growth (because it is true at a certain point when taxes go too high they will deter economic activity). When liberals reference the higher Clinton era tax rates, they are referring to the strong economic growth that went on during that time. The significance being high tax rates did not deter economic activity. They did, however, serve the role of raising revenue, which led to 4 years of a balanced budget.

So Republicans are framing the debate around taxes incorrectly. It’s not; we need to lower taxes because that will lead to economic growth. Instead it’s at what rate should taxes be set in order to maximize revenue, but at the same time not deter economic growth.  So the tax rate should not be viewed as an economic starter, but only an economic deterrent.

Given our current tax code, it’s hard to argue that it is high rates that are hindering economic growth. Taxes were slightly higher in the 90’s and drastically higher in pervious decades, and in both cases economic growth was much greater. If taxes now are lower than during an era of greater economic prosperity then there is no reason to believe lowering them more will solve the problem. So the basis of the Republican argument, taxes are too high, is really an unfounded claim.

Now, this is not an argument that government should try to squeeze every penny out of taxpayers it can without hurting the economy. But given the country’s increasing deficits, under funded schools, crumbling infrastructure, growing numbers of people living in poverty, a disappearing middle-class, and a slew of other problems, more revenue is not inherently bad.

The larger point in all this is Republicans’ answer to every problem is to cut taxes. That’s obviously not the solution. Tax rates are historically low, and there’s no evidence that further reducing them would spur on economic growth. Instead we should set tax rates so they can serve their purpose of raising revenue without being a drag on the economy.

We need to look at other ideas to promote economic growth outside of just ‘cut taxes!’ This could be rebuilding our infrastructure, investing in new infrastructure like high-speed rails, investing in new alternative forms of energy, or creating policies that promote hiring here in America rather than overseas. Here is where the Democrats have an edge, the stimulus package that was passed, and The American Jobs Act (that was not passed) were filled with ideas to boost economic activity. They were ideas that went beyond cutting taxes for the rich in the hopes the wealth will trickle down. Although some may disagree, most economists concur that the stimulus did work, and the American Jobs Act would have reduced unemployment.  Economic growth will not come from padding the pockets of the wealthy, but from investments aimed at putting people back to work.

*To make things simple, taxes in this post refers to individual tax rates

The Greatest Country?


The Mitt Romney platform for foreign affairs is America does not apologize for being America – America is right and you are wrong. Why I think this is important is because it embodies a larger ideal of the Republican Party. Today’s Republican Party holds dearly the belief that America is the greatest country and can do no wrong, and because of that feeling they see no reason to make any changes. They offer no solutions to advance the status quo.

Climate change that is ruining our environment – it doesn’t exist. A growing population living in poverty with a vanishing safety net – people just need to work harder. Students riddled with debt from the increasing cost of college – just go to a cheaper school or ask your parents to help. Women’s rights systematically being rolled back – just say it’s an attack on religion. A middle-class disappearing – just continue a tax policy that benefits the wealthy. A healthcare system that simply cannot support itself – just cut benefits.

Instead of addressing these problems, Republicans just turn a blind eye, or make some excuse, and say this is greatest country in the world. America is the land of the free and the home of brave. America has freedom, it has Democracy.

Let’s not forget the land of the free and the home of the brave enslaved African-Americans for nearly a century. Let’s not forget our free nation made women and minorities second class citizens for decades. And let’s not forget our democratic country now faces income disparity that is leading to a rich and poor America.

I believe America is the greatest country in the world, but not because we have freedom here. There are plenty of countries who are free and have fully functioning democracies. But we are still better.

We are better because as a country, when faced with adversity, we didn’t brush off major problems and make excuses – we fought to make a change. People literally fought to end slavery.  People fought for civil liberties. Women have fought for equal rights. Today we see environmentalists fighting to save the earth. Occupy protestors are fighting for income equality. And we even saw the President fight to make healthcare a right and not a privilege.

America isn’t great because we are free, America is great because throughout our history we tackled problems in order to make every American better off. I don’t see that coming from the Republican Party today. I see the Republican Party in rut, unwilling to offer any new ideas or solutions. I see them as content, without any intention of truly making the country better off.  It is not enough to just say America is the greatest country in the world – action actually has to be taken – or America may not stay the greatest.

Paul Ryan and The Tea Party: A Not So Serious Bunch


Remember this picture…

Yes, this is the infamous Tea Partier who vehemently proclaimed government, and its wasteful and inefficient ways, needs to stay out of Medicare. Obviously, the statement is laughable since Medicare is run by the government (not to mention run more efficiently than private insurance).

It should have been at this time we realized the Tea Party was not a serious party. We should have realized they were a party of false assumptions, far-right idealistic plans, and absurd platforms.

Sadly, this realization did not happen, and the Tea Party was not only given legitimacy, but they were actually given positions of power. Now we have an extreme sect of the Republican Party that has no business being in Washington.

I disagree with Republicans, but I believe they create a nice balance with Democrats. The Tea Party on the other hand, has paralyzed Washington with an unrealistic, fantastical and detrimental set of demands.

They say they’re fiscally responsible, but to put it bluntly – they have no idea what they’re talking about. Part of their platform is to eliminate the national debt. First, our founders believed the country should have a national debt. Second,  Andrew Jackson actually paid off the national debt once before and it sent the country into a recession. Finally, a report was done by the Clinton administration that said paying off the national debt would have detrimental effects on the economy, both globally and domestically. The study concluded the country should carry a national debt.

They say they’re Taxed Enough Already, but in reality taxes are historically low. And I’m not just referring to the income tax. The capital gains rate is lower than it’s been since the 1930’s. And the corporate tax rate is lower than it was during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I’m pretty sure business was good then.

They say they’re patriots – doing the work of the founders. Well, clearly they didn’t get the founder’s message about the national debt. Furthermore, the Tea Party constantly associates themselves with evangelicals. (I actually went to a Tea Party meeting that opened with this prayer, and I quote “Thank the Lord for the Romney/Ryan ticket.” Who knew God was rooting for the Republicans in 2012.)  One would think a group of patriots would listen to Thomas Jefferson who declared there to be a “wall of separation between church and state.” 

They are a delusional party with policies that are simply out of touch with reality. I think the nation is coming to the realization the Tea Party is not a serious party, but rather a well funded group of far-right-talking-heads who have a loud voice – and nothing more.

This brings me to a recent quote about Medicare, “We’re going to restore this program, and we’ll get these bureaucrats out of the way.”

Translation: Keep government out of my Medicare.

Who said this? It was not a fringe Tea Party leader or Fox News pundit, no, it was vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan.

Just as this line should have hinted that the Tea Party was not a serious Party a couple of years ago, Paul Ryan saying it today should be a red flag. As much as the news and media wants Paul Ryan to be an intellectual conservative, he’s not.  He’s a lot like the Tea Party.

His plan is unrealistic and lacks necessary specifics like which loopholes he plans on closing in order to pay for his tax cuts. It’s not the plan of a fiscal  conservative. It’s a plan that sounds good to the base because it increases addresses the deficit and tackles entitlements. In reality, it does neither.

As Paul Ryan goes around promoting his agenda, remember, his plan is nothing more than idealistic ideas lacking any realistic backing. Just as the Tea Party is losing its influence, we the people need to stop giving Paul Ryan credibility.