This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
The Tea Party membership is being set up for yet another huge betrayal by the DC Republican establishment. The members had very clear expectations that specific spending cuts would fix the government’s budget problems. The Republican leadership is betraying them by cutting things Tea Party members do not want cut, and are not cutting the things they were led to believe would fix the budget problems.
Tea Party members expected the new Congress to fix the budget by cutting “government waste,” stopping corporate bailouts and handouts and cutting a list of things they believed the government spends most of it money on. On top of this, Republican groups ran ad after ad after ad blasting Democrats for cutting Medicare and not increasing Social Security’s cost of living adjustment. Tea Party members voted based on these promises and these promises are being broken as the new Congress convenes.
The very things they do not want cut will be up for cuts, and the things they want cut will not be cut. They are going to find out that the very people who campaigned against cutting Medicare and for increasing Social Security are actually planning to cut Medicare and Social Security. And they are going to find out that the budget cannot be fixed by cutting the things that the Republicans let them believe the government spends most of its money on.
Fact: Republican groups ran millions and millions of dollars of ads promising not to cut Medicare, and to increase Social Security. Republican establishment ran millions and millions of ads against Democrats for “cutting $500 billion from Medicare” and not increasing Social Security cost-of-living. As a result, for the first time the senior vote went to Republicans.
Here are just a few of the ads that saturated the airwaves, saying that Democrats should be thrown out for cutting Medicare:
Fact: Polls show that Tea Party members believe that the government spends much of its money on foreign aid and welfare for illegal immigrants and Tea Party members expect the budget to be fixed by cutting those. The public thinks the deficits are caused by things like foreign aid. The Republican establishment was very happy to let them believe that, and to take their votes. The Republican leadership has done nothing to disabuse them of that notion, and continues to refuse to specify any actual spending cuts they plan to make.
Fact: People believe that much government spending is wasted. They want the waste cut, but they don’t want cuts in things that are done for them. That is not what they think of as “waste.” The Republican leadership has encouraged people to think government wastes money and the budget can be fixed by cutting :waste instead of things the public wants. They continue to lead the public to believe that so much is wasted, even after two terms of Reagan elected to cut waste, one term of the first Bush elected to cut waste, and two terms of the second Bush elected to cut waste. (Except, of course, military spending, which is were serious waste occurs but is “off the table” for cuts.)
Fact: aside from military, debt interest and various subsidies for large corporate interests, government largely spends money on We, the People. This is what Tea Party supporters, mislead by the Republican leadership, and discovering. The money isn’t wasted (except in the military budget) and isn’t misdirected. People do not want spending cuts on things the government does for US like Medicare, health research, education, unemployment benefits, mass transit, aid to the poor, etc. They were led to believe that the budget problems would be fixed by cuts elsewhere and that is hatt they expect. Anything else is a betrayal of their trust.
So, once again, what will Tea Party members do when their leaders betray them?
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