Rumors of the Tea Party’s demise are greatly exaggerated.
Before, during and after the government shutdown, the Tea Party was dragged through the mud, chastised, called names and even told that our movement should die.
This all came about because the representatives we elected on the promise to fight Obamacare dared to do so. The irony is now that the Affordable Care Act is beginning to be implemented, the whole country is beginning to see that the Tea Party was right all along.
During the government shutdown last month, the president, democrats and the main stream media all blamed a small group of hard-liner Tea Party republicans for all of the country’s woes. The Boston Globe, for example, stated it was the “Tea Party movement’s strategy of shutting down the government and bringing the nation to the brink of debt default.”
Former George H.W. Bush administration official Bruce Bartlett expressed hope that the Tea Party would soon "die a well-deserved death" on MSNBC. In an Op-Ed published in USA Today on 18 October, Hank Plante after calling the Tea Party “extortionists” stated “members of the tea party will continue to be political extortionists as long as the news media and the rest of the public give them equal weight on the sanity scale.”
The Republicans in general and the Tea Party specifically were called extremists, obstructionists, jihadists and terrorists. We were told that the Tea Party was holding the country hostage and were willing to let the country default on its debt.
The real facts of the “shutdown” paint an entirely different picture. First, the government never shutdown. Eighty-five percent of the government was funded, up and running. The president through the Office of Management and Budget had the discretion to pick and choose which agencies and functions of the federal government would close and which would stay open. President Obama specifically chose to close what he believed would be the most visible and objectionable to the American people.
Second, the House bill fully funded the entire government, except Obamacare. Nothing else had to close. Additionally, the House then passed a long series of bills that funded each aspect of the government including the national parks, the National Institute of Health and all of the military.
The images of World War II veterans being denied entry into their memorial and senior citizens being rounded up at Yellowstone were absolutely unnecessary. The worst came when the commander in chief chose to deny death benefits to three families whose sons were killed in Afghanistan. Obama could have instead not funded Planned Parenthood, or Public Broadcasting or cut foreign aid. He made the conscious decision to hurt the American people as much as possible.
Meanwhile, all of the House bills to fund the government sat on Harry Reid’s desk at the Senate. He dug in his heels and absolutely refused to even debate or compromise on not fully funding and implementing the Affordable Care Act. The biggest lie of all was that the government was on the verge of default. The federal government takes in about $300 billion a month in revenue. That is more than enough to fully fund entitlement programs and service the debt. The government was never at risk of a debt default. The national narrative as espoused by the White House, his party and the complicit media was it all was the Tea Party’s fault.
Since then, the Republicans caved to the pressure and kicked the can down the road. The government is fully funded and the debt ceiling raised until February 7th 2014. So, nothing has changed. We are just going further into debt and federal spending, at least for now, can continue unabated down the road to fiscal ruin.
Obamacare became active on 1 October. Just one month into the implementation of the ACA, the news is grim, just as the Tea Party predicted. Under the new law, the government will fine you if you don’t go onto the healthcare.gov site, which doesn’t work, and sign up for a plan you don’t want and that will increase your rates so much you can’t afford insurance at all. A study conducted by the the American Action Forum, calculated that the Obamacare increases for individual health insurance policies to be 193 percent for women on average, and 260 percent for men. With such rate increases, millions of Americans will be forced to drop their coverage.
And, millions of Americans will lose their employer provided health insurance. Even the Congressional Budget Office predicts that because of Obamacare, up to 20 million Americans will lose their employer based coverage. But, the president said “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period”
He lied. And he knew he was lying each and every time he said that. Forbes reported today that in a 2010 Federal Register document, the Obama Administration predicted that up to 93 million Americans would lose their healthcare coverage.
As reported by News Busters on 31 October, Section 1251 of the Affordable Care Act contains a “grandfather” provision that, in theory, allows people to keep their existing plans if they like them. But subsequent regulations from the Obama administration interpreted that provision so narrowly as to prevent most plans from gaining this protection.
Page 34552 of the 2010 Federal Register reads “The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013.”
Forbes did the math: 51 percent of the employer-based market plus 53.5 percent of the non-group market (the middle of the administration’s range) amounts to 93 million Americans.
These numbers as grim as they are, vindicate the Tea Party. We knew all along that not only was the ACA unconstitutional on many levels but that it would destroy the best healthcare system in the world. We held true to our convictions when we were bashed every day in the media. We knew the president, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were all lying.
We held strong to our beliefs of smaller, fiscally responsible government. We knew that only a return to America’s founding principles would restore this great representative republic with a federal government bound to the limits set forth in the Constitution.
We held strong then. We must hold even stronger now. The Tea Party is not dead. It will be the Tea Party and those that follow us that will save this country from itself. This is our challenge. This is our time. If not us, who? If not now, when?
As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
We will not be the generation that loses freedom in America. We must now redouble our efforts to bring sanity and responsibility back to government. We must seek out and support true constitutional conservative candidates wherever we may find them whether they are in our home district or across the country and fully support them to propel them into office.
We can do this. We owe it to our children and our children’s children. The Tea Party will be ones who lead the restoration of our country. To paraphrase Shakespeare: We few, we happy few, we band of Patriots; For he today who stands with me shall be my brother.