Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cracker Paranoia

The fiscal cliff coverage in today's paper is relegated to the business page.  The story by Nelson Schwartz summarizes where we are at in the last week of the year and what economists think the impact that tax increases and spending cuts will have on the 7.7% unemployment recorded in November.  Consensus opinion seems to be pointing to several votes after January 1 to suspend the sequester and restore the Bush tax cuts for the 98% of us who do not earn more than $250,000 a year.
If the impasse lasted even longer and the full force of more than $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts hit the economy, the Congressional Budget Office predicts the country would slip into recession in the first half of 2013, with unemployment rising to 9.1 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013. But for all the pessimism recently, most observers still think a compromise will be reached, even if it takes a few more weeks.
We can say goodbye to the 2% payroll tax holiday that we've been enjoying since the stimulus bill was passed in 2009.

There is a good frontpage story by Trip Gabriel on the current state of the Tea Party.  Dick Armey has been removed as the head of FreedowWorks.  "He was eased out with an $8 million consulting contract."  FreedomWorks spent $40 million on the 2012 election cycle and Ted Cruz's senate win in Texas is all it can boast of.  Imagine if the Green Party -- any progressive third party -- had $40 million to spend.

Rather than campaign on fiscal cliff issues the Tea Party has decided to spotlight cracker paranoia:
Mr. Cummings, who is the Midwest coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, a national group, said a major issue he would be focusing on now was Agenda 21, a United Nations resolution that encourages sustainable development. It has no force of law in the United States, but a passionate element of the Tea Party sees it as a plot against American property rights.

Billie Tucker, an activist with the First Coast Tea Party in Florida, said she and others suspected that corruption on local election boards had led to Mr. Obama’s victory in the state. Activists want to investigate.

“Some people say it’s just a conspiracy theory, but there’s rumbling all around,” she said. “There’s all kinds of data, and no one’s talking about it, including, hello, the mainstream media.”

Another issue boiling is the “nullification” of the Affordable Care Act. Angry that Mr. Obama’s re-election means that the health care law will not be repealed, some activists claim that states can deny the authority of the federal government and refuse to carry it out.

At a Florida State Senate meeting this month, two dozen Tea Party activists called the law “tyrannical” and said the state had the right to nullify it.

Mr. Gaetz, the Senate president, a conservative Republican, said in an interview that he, too, disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law. But he called nullification “kooky.”

“We’re not a banana republic,” he said. It is “dangerous to the foundation of the republic when we pick and choose which laws we will obey.”
The Tea Party was never anything more than the John Birch Society pumped up with millions of dollars by the 1% and given a sheen of popularity by the mainstream media reporting on the legislative drama of Obamacare.  It'll be interesting to see if hardshell Obama-oriented conspiracy addicts can continue to provide the mirage of boots on the ground for the GOP.

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