The Center Square
(The Center Square) – A freshman Republican state senator from Franklin wants Wisconsin to get tougher on second chances for some violent criminals.
State Sen. Julian Bradley, R-Franklin, is looking for co-sponsors for his legislation that would limit who would qualify for parole, probation and expungement in Wisconsin’s prison system.
“My goal is to ensure that those who have been convicted of a crime are held accountable,” Bradley told The Center Square on Monday. "After a first conviction, criminals shouldn't be allowed to revictimize our neighborhoods and families."
Bradley’s proposal would ban anyone convicted of a second crime, particularly while out on parole, from being given an expungement. He also wants the Department of Corrections to recommend revoking extended supervision, parole, or probation for anyone charged with a new crime while on release.
“It isn't the Legislature's job to help hide a criminal's record so they can obtain future employment,” Bradley said. "The burden of proof to show an offender is now worthy of the public's trust is on them, not the government, to show they can be trusted to be law-abiding citizens."
His legislation takes the opposite track as a number of other criminal justice reform suggestions from Wisconsin lawmakers and is the opposite of rule changes that the Department of Corrections is considering.
“In 2020, the Department of Corrections released at least 1,600 prisoners early due to the coronavirus outbreak," Bradley said. "We need to ensure the department has strict guidelines monitoring those who have broken our laws and were supposed to be in prison serving out their sentences. They shouldn't be given extra chances to commit new crimes because of the pandemic's extraordinary circumstances."
Bradley said violent crime numbers in Wisconsin, and in Milwaukee in particular, show the need for the state to get tougher on crime.
“In Milwaukee, homicides were up 95% from 2019," he said. "Aggravated assaults were up 25%, motor vehicle thefts were up 49%, and arson was up 45%. This year already, 808 vehicles have been stolen in Milwaukee – a 152% increase compared to the same time last year.”
Bradley is looking for other lawmakers to join him on the legislation. At this point, only state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, is attached to the plan.
(The Center Square) – A $15 minimum wage would result in 1.4 million jobs lost and disproportionately hurt younger workers and those with less education, a new Congressional Budget Office report says.
President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Democrats have proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, more than double the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.
Biden says such a move would lift million of Americans out of poverty. While the CBO confirms the poverty-reducing impact, it also says it would hurt the economy.
"In 2025, when the minimum wage reached $15 per hour, employment would be reduced by 1.4 million workers (or 0.9 percent), according to CBO’s average estimate," the report says. ... "Young, less educated people would account for a disproportionate share of those reductions in employment."
The higher minimum wage also would result in increased prices for consumers, including on health care, and businesses would be on the hook for higher unemployment premiums because more out-of-work people would seek the benefit.
“Under the bill, Medicaid spending would increase because the effects of increases in the price of health care services and increases in enrollment by people who would be jobless as a result of the minimum-wage increase would outweigh the effects of decreases in enrollment by people with higher income," according to the CBO. "Prices, such as those for long-term services and supports and medical services, would increase as a result of negotiations that accounted for higher costs of labor facing health care providers.”
Other ramifications of a $15 minimum wage, according to CBO, would be less investment by businesses.
"Some businesses would invest in capital goods to replace workers," the report says. "Other businesses, however, would be discouraged from constructing new buildings or buying new machines if they anticipated having fewer employees to use them. On average, over the 2021–2031 period, real investment would be slightly lower than it would be if current laws did not change, CBO estimates. That reduction in investment would reduce workers’ productivity and lead to further reductions in their employment.”
The Georgia Center for Opportunity, which advocates for those in poverty through free-market solutions, said the negatives of such a large minimum wage hike outweigh any benefits.
"Workers need immediate help, but doubling the federal minimum wage when Georgia small businesses are closing left and right is not the right answer," Buzz Brockway, GCO's director of public policy, said in a statement. "Recent data have shown us that unilateral minimum wage hikes hurt low-income, low-skilled workers the most. What's needed for low-income Georgia workers is more than a temporary fix: What's needed is practical training and credentialing to help them 'upskill' into better-paying jobs and careers."
(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor is breaking out the puns to support Gov. Tony Evers’ push for legal marijuana in the state.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes used one of his two Twitter accounts to offer-up puns over the weekend.
“Maybe I’m being blunt, but it’s high time we stop living in the failed past,” Barnes wrote in one tweet. “Other states take advantage of Wisconsin weed tourists who leave the state for greener pastures. What was once a pipe dream is now long overdue.”
“We have to do this. If Iowa legalizes before us, Wisconsin will be in a geographical weed bowl,” Barnes wrote in another.
Barnes seems to have taken on the role of promoter-in-chief for Evers’ legalization push.
The governor is asking lawmakers in Madison to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana in the state.
“Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin — just like we do already with alcohol — ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreational and medicinal users and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state," Evers said in a statement.
Barnes added from his official Twitter account: “In the year 2021, there's no reason Wisconsin shouldn't join the 15 other states — red and blue — that have legalized marijuana.”
He also tweeted: “[N]ot only will this plan create jobs and reduce justice system costs, we can invest the revenue it raises in creating a more just and equitable state.”
There is little chance Evers’ proposal becomes law. The Republicans who control the state legislature have opposed marijuana legalization in Wisconsin for years.
But they are not alone.
Taxpayer groups are also suspicious of the governor's proposal.
Eric Bott with Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin said there are real questions to ask about who would benefit from legalization, and not just people who want to use marijuana.
“The details of [Gov. Evers’] regulatory scheme matter a lot (or would if this were passable),” Bott tweeted over the weekend. “Wisconsin doesn’t need another crony three-tier system that helps a few gain advantages at the expense of the many.”
Both Illinois and Michigan have legalized marijuana. Wisconsin’s other neighbors have legalized CBD or medical marijuana in some shape or form.
U.S. House and Senate Democrats have reintroduced the PRO ACT, a sweeping pro-union bill that would wipe out right-to-work labor laws in 27 states.
Democrats argue the PRO Act will create safer workplaces and increase employee benefits by expanding union organizing. Those opposed to it argue it will force small businesses to close, cost an untold number of jobs and worsen the economy, and “impose a laundry list of other union boss power grabs.”
A version of the bill was introduced in 2018 and 2019 and the Democratic-controlled House passed a version of the bill along partisan lines in 2019.
The bill, which includes sweeping changes to labor laws, is the “most significant worker empowerment legislation since the Great Depression,” unions claim.
Among its many provisions, the bill would advance union organization and collectively bargaining rights by authorizing the National Labor Relations Board to levy fines against employers who violate workers’ rights and unilaterally overturn a workplace election. It also would ensure that workers can participate in secondary boycotts and collect “fair share” fees.
The bill would make it illegal to permanently replace striking workers, adopt California’s ABC Test to give union officials the power to force tens of thousands of independent contractors into unions, shut down Big Labor’s competitors by granting special powers that enable union bosses to drive merit-shop companies out of business, reinstate the Obama-era “persuader rule” that makes it more difficult for employees to hear both sides before getting the chance to vote on unionization, and the Obama-era “joint employer” standard which allows for increased litigation, among many other provisions.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right To Work Committee, says instead of calling the bill the PRO Act, it should be called the “Pushbutton Unionism Bill” because “it will make forcing workers into an unwanted union as easy as pushing a button.
“After Big Labor poured millions in forced-dues dollars into their campaigns last year, these politicians have put workers back in their sights at the behest of the union bosses that helped get them elected,” Mix added.
In 1935, Congress gave Big Labor the power to force employees to accept their “exclusive representation,” and made it illegal for workers to represent themselves. Workers, regardless if they wanted union representation or not, were required to pay for it, even in cases where representation opposed their best interests.
It took another 12 years for Congress to amend previous laws. After the Taft-Harley Act of 1947, states were given the ability to “opt out” of the NLRA’s forced-dues provisions by passing state right-to-work laws. There are currently 27 states with right-to-work laws. The PRO Act would reverse the changes of the right-to-work laws in these states.
Doing so would kill jobs and economic growth, the National Right To Work Committee argues. Its calculation of job growth in right-to-work states is double that of growth in forced-unionism states, and the average family living in a right-to-work state has $4,258 more to spend in after-tax real income.
Democrats disagree, arguing that “unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing growing income inequality.” They point to studies showing that union members earn on average 19 percent more than those with similar education, occupation, and experience in a non-union workplace.
“The PRO Act would reverse years of attacks on unions and restore fairness to the economy by strengthening the federal laws that protect workers’ right to join a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits,” the sponsors of the bill argue.
But other groups like the International Franchise Association argue the bill will wipe out small businesses, including franchises.
Franchising is an industry that empowers new entrepreneurs to operate under a national brand, allowing small businesses and national companies to grow faster and contribute more to local communities and the wider economy, IFA argues. The bill would seek to unionize franchises, thereby preventing national brands from partnering with small businesses.
Implementing an Obama era “joint employer” standard, IFA argues, “puts franchisors at risk of being sued for things they never did and had no power to stop. Faced with this reality, franchise companies are much less likely to partner with local entrepreneurs, lest they open themselves up to a slew of lawsuits.”
An NLRB 2015 joint employer rule action led to nearly double the amount of litigation against franchise businesses, IFA notes, costing them $33.3 billion per year. The Obama standard also prevented the creation of 376,000 new jobs in less than four years, IFA adds. The PRO Act would make this provision permanent, resulting in higher losses and lower job creation and small-business formation, the association argues.
The 2021 House bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan, House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott of Virginia, Rep Frederica Wilso of Florida, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania.
The Senate bill was introduced by Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair Patty Murray of Washington and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
(The Center Square) – Nothing is changing about Wisconsin’s coronavirus emergency order or the state’s mask mandate. At least for the time being.
Republicans in the State Assembly did not vote to overrule the governor on Thursday, largely because of questions about nearly $50 million a month in enhanced food stamp benefits.
Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services on Wednesday said ending Gov. Evers coronavirus emergency order would also end the state’s eligibility for enhanced SNAP benefit funding. DHS said those benefits totaled $49.3 million for 242,507 households this month alone.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, on Thursday said not including a work-around for those benefits in the original override was a misstep.
"Unfortunately when our Senate colleagues passed it, they didn’t necessarily do the same due diligence, which is why we had to add that amendment to AB1 today. We do not want to repeat that mistake,” Vos told reporters at the Capitol.
Republicans in the State Senate approved the override Tuesday. Senators on Thursday added a fix for the food stamp mistake into the coronavirus relief package passed by the Assembly. But that too appears to be dead for now.
State Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said Senators did what was necessary “to preserve those funds going forward.”
Vos said he wants to double-check before taking the next step.
"I think the amendment that we worked with in the Senate probably fixes the issue but I don’t know that for sure,” Vos added. “Our job is to guarantee when we pass legislation we know what the ramifications are.”
Democrats in the legislature are satisfied to have the governor’s emergency order and mask mandate remain in place.
“I am both relieved and not surprised that we are here not taking up repealing the mask mandate,” Rep Gordon Hintz, R-Oshkosh, said during the Assembly debate. “I hope the extra time allows cooler heads to prevail.”
Republicans in the Assembly and the Senate say overturning the governor’s emergency order and mask mandate is not about masks. They insist the move is about reining-in the governor who they say has overstepped his legal authority.
(The Center Square) – Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate approved a resolution that rolls back Evers’ latest emergency order extension on a largely party line vote.
The resolution prompted Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol on Tuesday to paint a dark picture of what will happen in the state without Gov. Tony Evers’ latest emergency order and mask requirement
Gov. Evers has issued several emergency orders since last March dealing with the coronavirus. State law limits his emergency powers to just 60 days, though the Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering that question right now.
Last week, Evers issued another extension that would carry the state’s emergency coronavirus restrictions and mask requirement into mid-March.
Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, said Wisconsin has been under one emergency order or another since last March.
“There is no such thing as a perpetual emergency,” Stroebel told senators. “Reissuing emergencies every 61 days is transparently attempting to circumvent the law.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said earlier on Tuesday that lawmakers want to check the governor rather than decide who should wear a mask.
“I don’t think the Constitution envisioned a single person being able to make rules forever by himself,” Vos told reporters. “I’m going to say people should still wear a mask, especially if you’re in a group of people that you don’t know.”
Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said the vote is not about face masks or even coronavirus restrictions. Nass said the question is about the balance of power in state government.
“This is not about face masks, Nass said. “This is about repeatedly issuing emergency orders, contrary to what the law allows. This is about the rule of law.”
Nass said lawmakers must act to “protect the governed from an abusive government.”
Republican Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, and Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, voted against the resolution.
Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said Tuesday during the Senate debate over the governor’s order he is annoyed "because my neighbors are dying,” adding: “This will shut down our state. Moving this forward will shut down our state and hurt even more. And maybe you’ll feel great and pat yourself on the back. But the rest of society will say ‘What the hell are you doing?’'"
“I know you can work things out,” Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, said, addressing Republicans favoring a new round of negotiations with the governor. “I know you’re going to alienate your base. People are going to be mad at you. People will be mad enough that they will storm the Capitol, kill people, break windows, think they are taking over the U.S. Capitol.”
Carpenter didn’t stop there. In a 20-minute speech from the Senate floor, Carpenter blamed former President Trump for a lack of a national mask requirement, too few vaccines, an angry political culture, and thousands of deaths.
Carpenter also said the same people who oppose masks in Wisconsin are the same people who wanted to kidnap Michigan’s governor.
After the Senate vote, the Wisconsin Assembly scheduled a vote on the resolution to roll back the governor’s order on Thursday.
(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s largest business group says Gov. Tony Evers’ planned PFAS chemical lawsuit is nothing more than a political stunt.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce on Friday said the governor is way off base in announcing he will sue to punish companies for years of what he called PFAS pollution.
“They want to sue businesses for the past use of compounds for which no standards have been set under either state or federal law,” WMC’s Kurt Bauer said.
PFAS chemicals, or forever chemicals as they are also known, are in everything from Teflon, to waxes and paints, to food packaging materials. PFAS chemicals are also used in firefighting foam. That is where they are most common, and where Gov. Evers has focused his pursuit.
Bauer said the governor is trying to make a political point, while ignoring the reality of how businesses have been trying to work with environmentalists across Wisconsin.
“The business community has worked cooperatively with policymakers and regulators to address concerns stemming from the use and testing of firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals.” Bauer added. “[This] action doesn’t recognize the sincere attempts by businesses to collaborate with governmental entities on the complexity of PFAS-related issues.”
Environmental groups, on the other hand, are thrilled with the governor's decision.
The group Clean Wisconsin says Gov. Evers needs to sue, blaming state lawmakers for not going along with the governor’s earlier requests to implement new PFAS standards into state law.
“Against legislative inaction and limiting any PFAS protections at the behest of industry and PFAS-users, this action finally provides accountability and prioritizes public health,” Clean Wisconsin director of government relations Carly Michiels said. “Industry and heavy PFAS-users cannot continue to drive the narrative to protect their own pocketbooks, forgetting those most harmed by their actions.”
Gov. Evers’ office says the state is monitoring 50 sites for PFAS contamination or pollution across the state.
There is no federally mandated PFAS threshold, meaning there is no EPA required level for what constitutes pollution or contamination. The EPA does recommend that PFAS levels be under 70 ppt (parts per trillion) in water samples.
Gov. Evers is recommending 20 ppt, or almost four times lower than what the federal government recommends.
Bauer and the WMC said on Friday tht “the Evers Administration seems dead set on disparaging Wisconsin employers regardless of whether there is an actual health risk associated with certain PFAS compounds.”
(The Center Square) – Among the more than 30 executive orders issued by President Joe Biden halting previous policies for an initial 60 to 100 days is an order halting a requirement that community health centers provide insulin and epinephrine at discounted rates to low-income and impoverished patients.
The initial rule change would have reduced insulin and epinephrine costs effective Jan. 22. The new order halts this plan by 60 days, pending review.
“Many patients have expressed that the freeze will indeed impact their ability to acquire affordable medications,” David Balat, head of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s healthcare initiative, told The Center Square. “The party that won political points on saying they wanted to protect those with pre-existing conditions is now hurting those very people.”
In response to the department’s announcement, Balat tweeted that temporarily postponing a rule requiring lower costs of much-needed drugs like insulin “isn’t a partisan issue. Insulin and epinephrine are expensive. There’s no reason to not let this order stand and I ask that you [President Biden] reconsider this position.”
Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw agreed, adding, “Why add this to the chopping block? To ‘own Trump’? Why exactly does Biden NOT want to pass on cost savings on insulin? Diabetics deserve better.”
According to the directive from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” federal agencies were instructed to delay the effective date of rules published in the Federal Register by the previous administration that had not yet taken effect for a period of 60 days from the date of the memorandum.
The rule change impacting insulin and epinephrine costs applies to all health centers that receive section 330(e) grant funds and participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program.
The Biden rule change is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 26.
The previous rule required community health centers to make available insulin and injectable epinephrine to low-income or indigent patients at the same price the health center paid through the 340B Program, effective Jan. 22. Now that date may or may not be March 22 pending review.
The temporary delay for the effective date of the final rule, the administration argues, is to allow HHS officials the opportunity to review the regulations.
According to Bloomberg Law, critics of the previous rule change claim that health centers providing the two medications in question “already pass on those savings and this [Trump] rule is merely an administrative burden that paints them as entities that price-gouge patients.”
Last year, Trump also signed an executive order to lower prescription drug prices.
In the last 20 years, our country’s national debt has exploded. In 2001, when George W. Bush took office, the national debt was $5.8 trillion. It took around 225 years – booms, busts, depressions, wars, etc. – to amass that much national debt. In just eight years, Bush and a compliant Congress doubled the number to $11.7 trillion. In Barack Obama’s two terms, another $8.6 trillion was added. During the past four years, Donald Trump and Congress fought many battles, but not over this: In that time, America’s future was mortgaged to the tune of another $6.7 trillion. Today, the national debt is around $27 trillion, a four-fold increase in the last two decades. That doesn’t count unfunded mandates. And there is no end in sight.
Whenever human beings gather to accomplish a task, any task, without strong and effective oversight, a natural evolution takes place. Whether it be in business, academia, philanthropy or government, every activity morphs from the original goal to self-aggrandizement. In government, this process is particularly toxic. There are no profits, let alone a profit motive. No concern with productivity. No incentive to turn off the proverbial lights. No measure of success. No motivation to end counterproductive activities.
Add to this mix the influence of public employee unions. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman were opposed to them for reasons that long ago became apparent. The goal of all unions is self-preservation – just as management’s is to maximize profits. But public employee unions add two other noxious elements to the mix: (1) defending job incompetence and (2) heavy-handed involvement in the electoral process in a search for pliant politicians who can help them achieve their objectives by spending ever more of the public’s money.
Now, out of the blue, the experts-for-hire have a new scheme to justify continued fiscal irresponsibility: modern monetary theory. It holds that so long as interest rates are lower than inflation rates, politicians can spend away. That is not a theory. It is idle wordplay, and the victim of such sophistry is the American taxpayer – and future generations of American taxpayers.
Never in our history has fiscal soundness been more important. The exploding annual deficits of the last 20 years have produced a national debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product that is as high as it was during World War II even though our nation is at peace. Moreover, many severely underfunded programs such as Social Security and Medicaid are not included in today’s debt calculations, although they should be.
The passage of a 5,593-page must-pass-quickly bill in December was indisputable evidence that the national debt will never be addressed from the top down. That legislation was sent to the Senate two hours before the vote. Who can read 2,800 pages per hour, 47 pages per minute? How can responsible lawmakers vote on bills they have not read? While our political leaders have repeatedly told us how important this bill was to the survival of so many Americans, they delayed the bill for months for political reasons. A crucial-to-the-survival-of-so-many-Americans pork-filled bill? Some $10 million to Pakistan for “gender programs”? Another $700 million to Sudan for Lord knows what? And on and on and on.
History has a clear and repeated message: If we do not address this exploding debt, it will bring to life all-knowing leaders, leaders who Friedrich Hayek said possessed the “fatal conceit.” They think they know more than is knowable. Leaders who have all the answers for everything they define as a problem: More regulations. More government control. More taxes. This is a noxious cure that has never succeeded, one that has left country after country in economic tatters.
Fortunately, the world in changing. Today, we have the means to address this financial irresponsibility, this threat to our country as our founders envisioned it. We are immersed in the Information Age, the Big Data world, the Cloud world, the Bitcoin world. The cost of communications is close to zero. Smartphones, iPads, and computers are a crucial part of everyday life. With the touch of a finger, one click, information on every topic is available 24 hours a day. Buy anything. Sell anything. Today, instant access to information is embedded in our culture. Why should government expenditures be exempt?
Transparency has always been the best antidote to rein in profligate government spending. Having instant information at our fingertips gives fiscally responsible Americans a powerful new weapon in the War on Waste. Today, there is no reason why every local, state, and federal government expenditure is not online, in real-time, available to every citizen. Taxpayers should be able to attend a school board meeting and pull up school expenses on their phones.
OpenTheBooks has a formidable weapon to unleash the voting public’s ability to address this exploding national debt, this lack of transparency, this threat to our democracy – the OpenTheBooks Government Expenditure Library, which contains over 5 billion (and growing) local, state, and federal government expenditures. Last year, we filed 41,500 Freedom of Information Act requests. We sued several government entities to encourage them to provide us the same information we collect from other states.
The OpenTheBooks Government Expenditure Library is open to everyone: Citizens. Politicians. Students. Academics. Scholars. Journalists. Think tanks. Everyone – 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Transparency can be as revolutionary as the Internet has been for the economic well-being of the world. Transparency can not only enhance the odds of the survival of this, the greatest country in the history of the world but, over time, it will contribute to our prosperity, our health, and our happiness. Wasted taxpayer dollars are not just nonproductive. Waste allowed to exist encourages more waste. Fraud allowed to exist encourages more fraud. A financially sound economy, one that works to remove waste, fraud, duplication, and incompetence, will increase respect for government, for the rule of law.
OpenTheBooks places the future of this great country more firmly in the hands of the voters. To ensure our elected officials realize this, we have to communicate continuously with them what we expect and how we will vote. I suggest we begin with one clear public statement: “I will never vote for anyone who has voted for a bill they have not read.”
Obviously, our elected officials are unwilling to address this explosive, increasingly crucial national debt problem. Fortunately, we the taxpaying voters today have a weapon at our fingertips to successfully wage a War on Waste. Successful because our political leaders will quickly recognize that if they want to be reelected, they will have to respond accordingly.
“The cause is great, and it is for me I say, give me liberty or give me death.”
– Patrick Henry
When patriots angrily destroyed a shipload of tea in Boston Harbor in 1773, their “Tea Party” was the most significant incident in Western hemispherical political history. What began as a resistance movement against violations of man’s God-given rights provided the impetus for the revolution for independence and formal self-governing. This not only made America a nation, but the architect of modern republican governing. It was the best of times for liberty and the worst of times for tyranny.
Some 236 years after the uprising in Boston Harbor, in reaction to a government that was abusing funds in the public treasury at the expense of individual liberties, a Chicago radio host “got mad as hell and said: “He was not going to take it anymore.” On Feb. 19, 2009, Rick Santelli of CNBC challenged his disciples to join him at a “Tea Party” to protest runaway spending and violations of of their Constitutional rights. This was the catalyst that christened America’s Tea Party Movement.
With American socialism forced upon us, there is no better time to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tea Party movement than to call them back into action. The Tea Parties were individual groups of patriots, unlike today’s individual protesters. They were well organized and knew their Constitution. They were fed up with Barack Obama’s polices of “fairness and identity voter coddling” as they watched Congress pass every law he proposed.
“It is time everyone pays their fair share.”
– Barack Obama
Viewed as a threat to Obama’s extremism, the Tea Parties were labeled right wing agitators. The liberal media recanted the left’s tried-and-true tactic, condemning the patriots as a white patriarchy resistance movement, angered over Obama’s race. Yet well over 30% of them were non-white.
Tea Partiers were patriotic, religious middle and upper class moderates and conservatives. They began each protest pledging allegiance to America, and ended with prayers of gratitude for liberty. When attacked by leftist agitators, they turned the other cheek in a show of strength. As buses of paid union protesters arrived to harass them, they refused to take the bait and kept on protesting.
As Obama, Pelosi, Reed and Congress doubled down on assaults against our Constitution and our liberty with partisan spending, the Tea Party movement exploded. Peaceful organized protesters all over the U.S. were confronted with insurgents and union workers, paid to disrupt protests against Obamacare. Subversives insulted them, tried to start fights, but could not disrupt their mission to fix America.
“Obamacrats couldn’t make them act like them and resort to violence.”
– David Webb
On Sept. 12, 2009, a Tea Party protest, the largest peaceful protest in history against federal abuse, took place in Washington, D.C. against Obamacare. The Tea Party was upset at how Obama used crooked deals and shady tactics to get it through Congress. According to FreedomWorks, an estimated crowd of over 600,000 conservative protesters participated without one act of violence.
Among the speakers at the rally were House Majority Leader Dick Armey and other congressional Republicans, including Reps. Mike Pence of Indiana, Tom Price of Georgia, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and South Carolina’s Sen. Jim DeMint. Pence set the tone for the rally: “Americans wanted health care reform, but never wanted government to run their health care."
Throughout the event, protesters prayed, sang patriotic songs, chanted political slogans, waved the American flag and signs. Gene Healy of the libertarian Cato Institute issued this statement: “They had grave concerns about the economic future of our nation and theft of free market health care.”
Groups of agitators tried to disrupt this landmark gathering throughout the day, calling them racists and radicals and shouting obscenities. The patriots continued to ignore them until they wimped out. By the time they left Washington, the capital grounds were cleaner than when they had first arrived.
In 2013, an IRS official admitted under oath that Obama had asked them to thoroughly investigate the Tea Party and other center-right groups. But this backfired when over 500 groups sued the IRS and won "substantial settlements." Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: "There is no excuse for this! These groups deserve an apology from the IRS. This abuse of power is absolutely wrong.”
Obama claims his greatest gift to America was one they did not want: Socializing their free market health care on Christmas Eve 2009. And it cost him. During his two terms in office, Democrats lost the House, the Senate, and more state legislatures and governors than any other president due to the Tea Party.
“Republicans encouraged the “tea-baggers” to protest everything.”
– Barack Obama
Ten years after the Tea Party movement began, the House Tea Party Caucus is long gone. So too are most of the 87 House Republicans elected in the biggest GOP sweep since the 1920s. In a recent Rasmussen survey, only 8% of all voters identify with the Tea Party. In 2010, Rasmussen found that 39% of voters surveyed identified with the Tea Party and 41% agreed with their politics.
The Tea Party was the only faction in the Republican Party that showed concern for civil liberties. Sen. Rand Paul tirelessly safeguarded the 4th and 5th Amendments. Tea Partiers had a fetish for intransigence over compromise that raised the bar on eventual compromises on policies for the moderates and conservatives. Today’s socialist left is garishly demanding and won’t compromise.
But it’s hard to celebrate the anniversary of someone who can’t be found. What happened to the Tea Party? Average Americans, not patriotic organizations or Tea Party groups, elected Donald Trump. And most average Americans don’t belong to organized political groups. They depend on citizen-led political activists to inform them when Congress and the president need their help. Yet Tea Parties have been asleep for almost a decade. It is time these Rip Van Winkles wake up and put on a pot of tea for American liberty.
“Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.”
– Phyllis Diller
Aristotle wrote, “Ignorance is dangerous.” The socialist left claims they have a mandate. Yet the final tally shows Biden only won by an ambiguous 4%? But we all know numbers don’t mean a thing to socialists. A win is a mandate, even if 50% of America voted against socialism. The right of center and conservatives in Congress will be eaten alive without citizen support. We need the Tea Party and their organized leadership to rescue our liberty by electing patriots in the midterms.
The far left and socialists control government and traditional media. Conservative views are being censored on social media, as well as radio, TV and print media. We need organized groups like the Tea Party who are willing to do what they do best. We need help vetting and supporting patriotic candidates who will win the midterms. We need to bring back the Tea Party caucuses and groups around the nation, to keep the fires of patriotism alive. We need organized, dedicated patriots now.
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
– Edward Abbey