I've noticed in the past year that there seems to be a trend of characterizing political opponents as having no plan and wanting to do nothing about a problem. I've seen it applied to people who oppose blanket amnesty for illegal aliens even though they have proposals for enforcing immigration laws and have suggestions for ways of getting illegals to self-deport. I've seen it applied to the Drill Here, Drill Now movement even as they advocated fostering American energy independence by drilling for our own oil. Now I see it being applied to the Tea Party movement.
Does the Tea Party want us to do nothing? Not necessarily. They just have no faith that what the government is doing is going to help the economy. President Obama and the members of the House and Senate are lawyers and politicans. They are not, for the most part, brilliant economists or successful businessmen. Hell, many members of Obama's administration can't even figure out their own taxes. Yet we're supposed to blindly trust these people to turn the economy around?
Congress can't even run its own restaurant without losing millions of dollars. These are the same people who created a Capitol Visitors Center that actually makes it harder for people to visit the capitol. What makes anyone think these people can come up with good projects to spend our money on that will improve the economy?
Let's face it. Their record on the current crisis is pretty dismal. They gave $45 billion of taxpayer money to Citigroup which promptly spent $50 million to buy a luxury jet from the French. (I must have been out the day my economics class covered how spending $50 million in France stimulates the US economy.) Northern Trust didn't want bailout money but they took it anyway when the government insisted and then spent it on a golf tournament they'd agreed to sponsor before the economy turned bad. The list of abuses of bailout money goes on and on and its obviously come as a complete shock to the politicians when it really shouldn't have.
A business that is being run in such a way as to cause it to fail isn't going to turn around simply because you inject more cash into it. The business will continue on its path to failure as long as the factors that are causing it to fail remain. Throwing more money at the problem only serves to waste money delaying the inevitable.
Of course the government's own programs aren't doing much to help the economy either. Just recently in the Pacific Northwest there was a politician bragging about how the "stimulus" money she had obtained for the local power company was going to help people out by creating lots of jobs. Sounded really good until reporters asked the head of the power company how many new jobs were going to be created and how soon people could start applying for them. Turned out that their current projects were already fully funded and they already had all the people they needed for them. The stimulus money was going to enable future projects but before anyone was hired for them, the company would have to determine what projects needed doing, define requirements, do environmental impact studies, submit the work to the bidding process, etc. By the time they got through all the governmental red tape, new jobs funded by the stimulus money should start appearing around 2011. If you're out of work now, a potential job two years from now isn't going to be much help.
The Tea Party doesn't favor doing nothing. They just have more faith in the people who currently employ over 70% of the people in this country than they do in the government. A lot of Tea Parties are fans of rebel economist Michelle Muccio. She has her own trillion dollar spending plan:
Of course a lot of liberals don't particularly care for her plan as seen in this interview with Bob Schieffer from CBSNews.com.
It's an interesting peek into the liberal mindset when Schieffer refers to allowing people to keep more of the money they earned with their own labor as "getting something for nothing."
Of course the politicians would never go for this plan for a couple of reasons. First, they're not willing to give up the power this tax money represents. Second, if they did suspend these taxes for a year it would be political suicide to reinstate them. Imagine how voters would react when the politicians started taking a significant bite out of their paychecks once more.
So the Tea Party isn't about doing nothing. It's about getting the government to get out of the way of the people who are best suited to turning the economy around and let them do their thing.
Update: Been trying to remember the details of that story about the Pacific Northwest and finally tracked it down. It was Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) who enabled the Bonneville Power Administration to take on another $3.25 billion in debt to pay for construction projects. Too bad it's not going to do much to help out her constituents.