I have met the enemy, sort of, and I’m confused. I read the whole, schizophrenic platform of the Tea Party, and didn’t know whether to laugh or lie down on a highway and let the cars run over me. If the movement continues to gain ground, we could be in a smelly swamp of trouble.
The platform offered surprises and contradictions. For example, although these self-styled patriots repeatedly deride and demonize socialism, the platform contains some distinctly socialist-sounding ideas. The most astounding one came from platform number twenty-one, which explains how wealth should be redistributed. Really.
This is great, albeit perplexing news for those of us who don’t have much money. Isn’t the redistribution of wealth a socialist idea? Imagine a democrat making such a suggestion. (For details on how that will be accomplished, check out the manifesto, the Giant is Awake, available for downloading on the Tea Party website.)
Here’s more good news: government employees, including politicians, will only make as much in benefits and wages as the average taxpayer. I’m not kidding, see number thirty-six on the platform. They don’t say how they’ll determine the average salary.
The third and final piece of not-so-terrible news in the platform is only good if you’re an excellent test taker: the top ten percent of students will get free college tuition. Unfortunately, the less talented one is, the more he’ll have to pay, so that the bottom ten percent will have to pay double the cost of tuition. That looks to me like kicking a person when he’s down, but I guess that’s the liberal in me. The claim, in number fifty-seven in the platform, is that it’s a way to discourage mediocrity. What a concept!
Now for the bad news, but not all of it, because that will take more than I can write in the space of a blog. I’ll start with Social Security, the bugaboo of all good Tea-partiers. We’re not going to be able to collect social security unless we can live past the average life expectancy, currently 77.9 years of age in the US, according to platform number thirty-seven. I know, it’s insane, but then so is the whole tea party stance on social security. For example, number four says no more entitlements. Some view social security as an entitlement: I do not.
In number twelve, we learn that the feasibility of privatizing social security benefits must be studied, but that it may not be sustainable, and in that case, would be abolished. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m glad I’m not young anymore.
Tune in next time for more Tea Party truth.