Today is Tax Day and it is also Tea Party Day in Washington. Citizens who had enough of the bailout and are concerned about runaway spending are gathered to let Washington know their concerns. They were even partying last night taking over a bar on Capitol Hill to celebrate the impact they are having on elections and with elected officials.
They have chosen Income Tax day for their protests but income taxes for a family of four are historically low. (During Eisenhower in 1955 it was 6%, Nixon 10% and Carter almost 11 %) The average family of four pays about 4.6% in income taxes. Even 52% of self-identified Tea Partiers felt their income taxes were fair. So, maybe it isn’t taxes that are motivating them, maybe it is spending. They certainly don’t seem outraged that corporations like Exxon get away with a small tax bite because of off-shore corporations.
Anyone with half a brain knows that the deficits we are racking up are unsustainable. By most estimates the rate we are spending will be about 300 percent of the GDP by 2050. That kind of government spending finished off the Soviet Union and without a change in course it could finish off us.
The Tea Party people have it right, we can’t be bailing out Wall Street and charging the taxpayers. It can’t happen again. The problem is that the Tea Party people are not looking at where government spending might be cut. Fortunately the ladies of CODEPINK have given the Tea Party people an option. They are holding out an olive branch and suggesting a common ground with the Tea Party folks. Their idea is to stop endless wars and militarism.
This isn’t just a bunch of old sixty-year-old post-menopausal women who are making up figures, they’re on to something. The actual military spending is staggering. The Obama defense budget for 2011 is $663.7 Bbllion dollars, which is almost 42% of all worldwide defense spending. This does not include the war supplemental spending that will also come up for a vote. The two next biggest spenders? China comes in at 5.8% of the worldwide budget and France at 4.5%.
CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin quotes former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, who says “Is it not absurd to borrow hundreds of billions annually from China -- to defend Asia from China?”
Tea Partiers should remember that great Republican Dwight Eisenhower who said “Beware the military industrial complex.” President Eisenhower had it right. Maybe CODEPINK and the Tea Party people can reach a consensus on this overboard spending. Now that would be something to party for.
Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a Fox News contributor.
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