Tea Party hype

Dear Editor:If you listen to the Tea Party, the United States is one step away from going over a debt-cliff, like Greece. Nothing could be further from the truth. Greece's debt as a percent of the total economy is 150%, Japan is 220%, and Italy is 120%. Meanwhile, we're below Germany, Singapore, Austria, the Netherlands, Bahrain, Brazil, and 35 other nations. In other words, we're not even in the same ballpark as Greece and a long way from a crisis. The Tea Party's fix to this artificial crisis, of course, is to tear government down; rip out assistance for the poor, sick and elderly; and lower taxes on the wealthy. In their view, if you throw enough red meat at the rich, "the market" will make everything good, ignoring the fact that it was the market that shipped our jobs overseas, created the financial meltdown of 2008, and kicked people out of work and out of their homes in the first place. Meanwhile, most Democrats and mainstream Republicans are busy echoing the notion that we are facing a crisis. Their fix is to only partly tear government down, and not be quite as mean-spirited as the Tea Party. By their triangulation they are therefore "the adults in the room", ignoring the fact that their "business-as-usual" got us into this mess in the first place. The reality is that the Tea Party, the Tea Party-Lite GOP, and Obama and other Wall Street Democrats have thrown the economy under the bus time and time again. Their economic priorities -- keeping their big contributors happy -- do NOT reflect what the economy needs and what most people want. Reducing our deficit, putting Medicare and Social Security on permanently sound footing and creating more jobs is easy, but only if you're willing to offend the top 1%. Once our politicians break that mental barrier the solutions become surprisingly simple and straightforward: use the power of Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs; cut out the expensive and useless middlemen insurances companies; reduce defense spending; tax corporations on the same basis as individuals; and use our trade policy as a tool of our economic policy instead of slitting our wrists on the altar of "free trade". Unfortunately, the candidates that we get to choose from often do not represent us, or they promise "hope and change" and deliver "more of the same." I think it's time that cozy politicians of all parties get a wake-up call. The best place to effect change is in the primaries, and failing that, to vote third party. I think they need to feel the heat. -- Joan Niertit, Downey

********** Published: August 04, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 16