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November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
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How I Stopped Fearing the Tea Party Apocalypse and Started to Love It

I wish my Democrats were half as brave and principled as the Tea party "crazies."

Tea Party

The most memorable early executive act on the part of the newly elected President Barack Obama, for whom I voted in 2008, was to embrace his predecessor’s economic stimulus package, push it up to $800 billion and give it to all the many speculators and fat cats who had caused the collapse in the first place.

As far as I was concerned, this was an act of class betrayal of an enormous magnitude. The White House and the loyal media bombarded us with the notion that if we dared permit sick, corrupt financial institutions to meet their natural demise it would mean the end of civilization. They were—so we were told—just too big to fail. Millions of Americans could go underwater with their properties – that we weren’t afraid of, but if AG stock holders were left at the end of the day with what amounted to so much useless paper – that would have been catastrophic.

What Obama should have done back then, which would have surely brought us over the hump in a couple of years—instead of schlepping a delusional recovery for the better part of a decade—was to hand out trillions of dollars to local municipalities, so they would in turn give them to their citizens for make-work. Dig ditches, mow lawns, fix bridges, write poetry, I don’t care. It wasn’t about the end product – it was about getting money into people’s hands so the economy would be resurrected not on Wall Street, but in the thousands of towns and hamlets across America. Because when you give a poor man a paycheck, he goes right away and pays for food, clothing, rent. It’s the best distribution system known to man. If it took ten trillion dollars – what the heck, print ten trillion dollars and send them out to fix the country.

You would be worried about inflation, you’re saying? Well, since the dollar has been taken off the gold standard in 1971, inflation is caused by one, singular factor: what it costs banks to buy money from the Fed, the U.S. central bank. If they pay half a percent or so in interest—as they’ve been doing for decades now—then there’s no inflation. The only other possibility for an inflation is if there’s a shortage of goods, and then too many dollars are chasing too few goods and the prices soar. Look around you – we’re in a merchandizing glut, despite all the economic catastrophes and the poverty line and the single mothers – there are still way too many iPhones out there for each American.

But you don’t have to agree with me on any of the above to understand the following: If, back then, in early 2009, when President Obama was pushing his stimulus package in all the wrong directions, a group of 80 Democrats had stood up on their hind legs and said, Hell, No, We Won’t Go, I and all my Democratic friends would have rushed to the streets to cheer them on.

That’s the part I find hard to accept – why is it that when 80 right-wing parliamentarians are standing on their hind legs and telling their leadership and their president to go to hell, they won’t sign on to what they consider to be a wrong budget policy – why are they being attacked as messianic crazies, just this side of the loony bin?

Former Labor Secretary in the Clinton Administration Robert Reich, whom I happen to like very much, had this to say to Spiegel about the Tea Party Congress members: “Some of them really have contempt for the entire process of government. They’re followers of people who say that we ought to shrink government down to the size that it can drown in a bathtub. They hate government viscerally. They’re not in Washington to govern; they’re in Washington to tear it down.”

I’m not telling you anything you haven’t seen and read over the past month or so, and as the looming date of the “default” grows nearer, those character assassinations will only get nastier. And the polls are showing that America is buying it, and seems to be blaming the Republican party for our economic mess. And since our politicians live and die by the polls, it’s quite possible they’ll find a way out of this crisis, maybe for 6 weeks, maybe for 2 months, who knows.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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10 Responses to “How I Stopped Fearing the Tea Party Apocalypse and Started to Love It”

  1. WOW I think this says it all.

  2. Dan Silagi says:

    You're missing one minor detail about putting everyone on Medicare. Those folks who get Medicare paid into it over the years. If there were a simgle-payer system like those in France, Germany, and Belgium, all of which work extremely well, those who would enter it would have to pay for it by folding premiums into tax withholding from paychecks, just as Medicare and Social Security do now. I'm not opposed to this at all; it would probably cut the cost of medical care in this country by more than half, as the hospitals won't be able to charge $3 for a single Tylenol pill as they now do, and the rate of births by C-section will drop from the current 30% to less than 10%, as is the case in Europe. But taxes will go up, a lot, while health insurance premiums will drop, perhaps to zero for most people. And it'll cost far more than $100 a month for folks not on Medicare. Triple that, even with the massive cost savings resulting from a single-payer system, er, socialized medicine.

    As for the Tea Party, I personally want 5 minutes with Ted Cruz in a steel cage.

  3. Shemayah Shiloh Phillips says:

    Oh, hell no!

  4. Nathaniel James Warshay says:

    How about this? Just get rid of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Lower the age of Medicare to, say, zero, so that everyone has the same benefits and opportunity. Until you've lived without health insurance, healthcare or health, for that matter, you don't understand how debilitating bad health is, how costly it is, and how one is unable to really do much about his or her own situation while unhealthy.

    In line with the third of President Roosevelt's Four Freedom's, the freedom from want, we should not allow this to hinder our brain power, creativity, humanity.

    And the overall cost of healthcare in this country, where the government is relatively involved, is nearly twice what it is in Europe and Israel, and with worse results.

  5. Charles Jones says:

    WE MAY BE ”CRAZIES” BUT WE AIM TO STAY FREE

  6. Gil Gilman says:

    It's not treason…it's hostage negotiation.

  7. Sorry to disturb you here on this thread attached to this piece: I'm right-wing, patriotic, soft-nationalist anti-Obmama, anti-Democrat big time and am not even American, but a Hungarian Jewish man of 35. Again, sorry to butt in, but all i wanted to say is that Shakespeare like most English at the timer and also today, gee the world neevr changes but stayss the same!, was a rotten antisemtie, a base low-life Jew-hating bigot, which is a fact. Thought help to clerar this up against the oh so great writer…

  8. This article is beautiful. I think the abuse by CNN and, most surprisingly, the Huffington Post, has been completely unwarranted. It's about time somebody stands up to Obama.

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