The impasse in Washington is symptomatic of a general loss of perspective throughout America. I can understand the Tea Party's concern that we must get our financial house in order. I can also appreciate their looking at the budget resolution and the debt limit deadline as opportunities to drive their points home. I also admire their willingness to buck their leadership and think and act outside the box. The reality is that they control enough votes to get their way.
The question I ask myself, if I were elected to Congress, is this: if we give the Tea Party controlled Republicans their way, where would they lead us? Personally, I would rather make a compromise with them than let the government stay shutdown or default on our debt.
Progressive Democrats like myself and Tea Party Republicans have many things in common. We are both suspicious of big money interests that lobby both sides of the aisle to get special favors from government. We both want to see the middle class thrive and America return to upward mobility, though we may have different ideas about how to get there.
We both want to see the Federal Reserve audited, a fight that Ron Paul bravely waged and won after years of opposition from the oligarchs. We both believe that inflating the currency is robbing those who save or are on fixed incomes and primarily enriches the "banksters."
We both want to protect American workers from cheap labor at home, some of it illegal aliens, and abroad through globalization. We both want to encourage entrepreneurship and allow small businesses to flourish without government over-regulation. We both want to preserve our natural environment, enjoy our wild spaces, and breathe clean air, drink pure water, and eat healthy food. And speaking for myself, like most Tea Partiers, I want to preserve my right to bear arms.
So where do we differ? First let me say that I was a Tea Partier before there was a Tea Party. I grew up in the Midwest in a middleclass home. My father started his own business and made it a success. I agreed with his maxim that the best thing a person could do is meet a payroll so others could own their own homes, pay their bills and taxes, and educate their children. I was a Republican evangelical. I am still an evangelical Christian. (See my Web site online at: www.BronsonForCongress.com for the reasons I am no longer a Republican. It's too long to get into here.) I served my country for five years in the U.S. Navy. When I first ran for Congress in 1976, I announced my candidacy by throwing wooden boxes into Boston harbor from one of the original Tea Party ships.
I hate to say this, but the middle class is getting killed by "friendly fire." That includes the Tea Party. Where is the friendly fire coming from? It is coming from billionaires disguised as patriots. It's coming from politicians making millions when they leave government and go to work getting special benefits for near monopolies that feed off no-bid government contracts.
It's coming from fear mongers who lead us into wars, but are afraid to tax us for it, so they put it on our children's credit cards, our national debt. It comes from too big to jail banks that nickel and dime us to death after getting us to bail them out for their bad bets with our life savings. It comes from companies like Monsanto that want to own the world's food supply by patenting seeds and poison us in the process. It comes from people like the billionaire Koch brothers who fund the Tea Party and convince them to lower their taxes and regulations all in the name of free enterprise.
This is not free enterprise, it is corporatism, that Ron Paul warned us about. The next step is fascism, when corporations take over government and control all Americans. Their big lie is that government is going to take over all businesses when the reality, their deep cover, is that it is the other way around. Look around. The biggest welfare queens are the billionaires with their special influence over special interests. We all have heard the stories about welfare abuse, but it doesn't hold a candle to the billions reaped by huge corporations through their lobbying practices.
And when their schemes fail, who bails them out? You and me. I'm still bailing out my multinational employer of twenty five years with several thousand dollars a month of pension I earned that they stole through bankruptcy. But they are doing very well today. I wish I could say the same. And I'm not alone. This is not free enterprise, it is oligarchy. And we don't have a democratic republic anymore. We have government controlled by billionaires.
All this is happening in the wealthiest country in the world. Our GNP is roughly $16 trillion per year. Our federal budget is about $3 trillion. The military/industrial/security complex takes a third of that and spent trillions more on wars put on our credit cards. But who talks about saving money there? We would rather beat up welfare cheats than take on multi-billion dollar multinational companies that have robbed us blind.
If we had kept the same tax rates as we had in the 1970's, the average family would be earning $100,000 a year. But all the great productivity of this great country since then has gone to the top few percent while average salaries have remained stagnant and living costs have risen, so now it takes two wage earners per family to make ends meet. This way to the 14th century, as Nobel economist Paul Krugman says.
So to my Tea Party friends I say: play your cards as you see fit, but remember, the democracy and free enterprise system you think you are defending has already been stolen by your friends in high places.
Will Bronson is a retired airline pilot living in Lehigh Acres.