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Columbus Tea Party President Steven Carr on healthcare, national debt, & taxes

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    Tom Over
    Tom Over

    Wearing a sandwich board as he stands in the throng along Olentangy River Road protesting the pending health care bill outside the Columbus office of Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy is Steven Carr, president of the Columbus Tea Party.

    The board on his back reads “This bill is corrupt. Are you, Ms. Kilroy?” On the the front board is a magic market rendering of the US flag with pink stripes and a gold hammer and sickle in place of the stars. The words ‘Kilroy was here’ are written below the flag.

    “We just want to have an open dialogue. There are so many people just sitting at home screaming at the television. Well, we want to put it out there so the communication can flow.”

    Stooping slightly to press his preschool-age daughter protectively to his side as the honking-to-stop-Obamacare traffic streams by, Carr says he wants to be a Huffington Post-style site where “liberty groups” can post videos and get their voices heard.

    Carr says the healthcare reform bill is ridiculous. As some people in the crowd chant “kill the bill,” he says Obama and members of Congress want to impose on Americans a healthcare plan that they themselves—the politicians– won’t sign onto.

    “If it’s such a great thing for America, why can’t they pass it? Why won’t the Democrats even vote for it? It’s corrupt on so many levels, they had to buy it through the Senate with Nelson and with the ‘Louisiana Purchase.’ The had to buy off the unions with the ‘Cadillac Tax.’ Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama said ‘you’ll be able to keep your insurance and your doctor.’ On our website, we have Barack Obama now saying ‘something got worked in there and you may not be able to do that anymore.’ ”

    Carr says Obama is going against his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class.

    “The ‘Cadillac Tax’ on insurance is going to do that, but he gave an exemption to all government employees and unions. It’s so corrupt. How can you vote for something like this?”

    Carr says 300 million Americans are not likely to agree on the issue of healthcare or other issues.

    “There’s going to be people who want socialized medicine. That’s fair. But you don’t do it in a back-alley way. This is America. Get it out in the open, discuss it honestly, and then we decide as Americans—no backroom deals.”

    Carr says the $787 billion economic stimulus package—whose official name is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act– gave rise to the Tea Party movement by reaching a tipping point.

    “We’re not professional political activists. Most of us are just family members. Most of us have never done this before, but we had to get involved because, basically, our future and our children’s future is at stake. It (government spending) has gone too far. The line has been crossed.”

    There was no Tea Party movement to protest about the national debt in response to the Bush tax cuts in 2000 and 2001 or the spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because people had not yet reached a tipping point, says Carr.

    “The Tea Party is non-partisan. We think that both parties have screwed us royally. Both have put us into debt beyond belief. It’s not the last 8 years. It’s not the last ten years. This has been going on probably—since FDR definitely.” Carr guesses that the Tea Party movement would probably have formed even if McCain were president.

    He says getting corporations and very wealthy people to pay more taxes would not fix the national debt.

    “Taxes are not going to get us out of the hole we’re in. Pretty soon the interest on our debt will be insurmountable. In order to get out of this, Americans are going to have to do both: cut spending and there will have to be taxes. We’re not going to want to do that. But also throughout history—Reagan has shown that if you lower taxes more businesses will develop, will invest in themselves, will hire more people, and those people will pay taxes. The top one percent don’t pay their fair share ? They pay 33 percent of all taxes. You can look that up on any government site. However, if you keep taking more and more from them, it causes them to become ‘ I need to hide this. This is my money and people are taking it.’ So it causes people to do things which are unscrupulous to protect their property. Their money is their property.”

    Carrs says the United States will have to address tax issues, but that we should first focus on cutting government spending. He emphasizes that the Tea Party movement is non-partisan.

    “ Both parties, for their own power, have successfully divided the country into two camps. So, instead of looking at the politicians who have been doing this for how many decades, we’re saying, ‘oh, no, it’s their side’ (that’s to blame)…They have us bickering back and forth. I’m entrenched on my side, so I’m keeping my people in office. The other side is entrenched, so they’re going to vote for their people. So, we’re just perpetuating the system and dividing ourselves as Americans.”

    This sounds like someone from the Green Party saying the Democrats and Republicans comprise two branches of the same party.

    “That’s probably the only thing I have in common with the Green Party,” Carr says and laughs.



    As a progressive Democrat, I actually agree that the health care reform bill is pathetic and unconstitutional.

    It’s pathetic in that it mandates that people buy health insurance from for-profit companies but it doesn’t include a public option (or better yet, allow anyone to buy into Medicare).

    The Constitution clearly says that the government has the power to tax. But the govt. doesn’t have the power to mandate that people buy a product from a for-profit company as ObamaCare does. What’s next-forcing fat people to buy a gym membership? ObamaCare is a dangerous mixture of the power of the health insurance cartel and Big Government.

    As far as taxes, what planet is Steven Carr on? George W. Bush slashed taxes for the rich. Trickle-down economics creates a nation of peons.

    There’s been zero net jobs created the past 10 years. And real wages have been stagnant the past 30 years even though worker productivity gains have increased greatly.

    Look, we’ve spent trillions on two unnecessary, unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the U.S. spends more on our military than the rest of the world combined.

    The highest marginal tax rate is 32% whereas it was 70% when Reagan took office and 90% when JFK took office. Republican Eisenhower supported a high marginal tax rate—high taxes on the rich made possible free or inexpensive college education.

    Reagan drastically cut taxes on the rich and actually raised taxes on working people, particularly the FICA tax which is regressive.

    For decades, conservatives have spent money like drunken sailors and cut taxes for the wealthy and Wall Street when they control power.

    When out of power, the conservatives have been raising hell about rising debt and high taxes. But most of the national debt was run up during Reagan, Bush41, and George W Bush’s watch.

    Tom Over
    Tom Over

    So then, are many working class and middle class people fooled when they complain about nanny state programs bankrupting our country by giving handouts to lazy people who just want to collect ‘welfare’ ?

    I recall my father saying that conservatives are against welfare for poor people, but in favor of welfare for the rich.

    How can it be that so many working class and middle class people agree with this line of thinking ? I wonder about this. Conservatism, what’s in it for all of the non-elite ?



    Pilsner – I’m on planet earth, which will never be some Socialist Utopia. Trickle down does not make a country of Peons — marxism does. Look at history. Look up how many humans have never even used a telephone – and then bemoan that we’re a nation of peons! Where is the majority of the world’s poverty, hunger, and disease? It’s not on our shores. Our poor have televisions and cell phones and clothing. Read about Harding/Coolidge and see how spending cuts and tax decreases pulled us from the brink once before. Tax revenue ALWAYS increases with tax cuts. That has been proven time and time again regardless of your denial. Facts are facts.

    Tom Over — what does conservatism offer the non-elite? How about Freedom over your life. I would rather have freedom to manage my own life and fail– then be subject to the government and never have the chance to succeed. What variable do you attribute to America’s unprecedented success? Natural resources? Is that what Edison or Ford worked with? Or was it the freedom to make your fortune that drove men to create a modern day Atlantis? With Freedom comes responsibility, and unfortunately life cannot guarantee success. Freedom and responsibility and less government are values of conservatism. However, we’ve become a nation of whiners who think we’re [b]entitled[/b][u] to our health care, free college degrees, a McMansion and 2 new cars, our own reality series, and most definitely immunity from pain, failure, and disease. [i]What planet are those people living on?[/i]

    People are not entitled to commodities. If so, where does it end? Shouldn’t I also be entitled to clothing, food and entertainment?


    Here’s a scene from these caring, compassionate teabaggers here in Columbus.



    Thanks Mr. Harris! It’s sad, I’m not necessarily against “everything” the teabaggers “supposedly” stand for, but they do tend to come through as uncompassionate, rabid, irrational older freaks afraid of everything.



    The Republicans have been exercising a 30 year strategy of “Starve the Beast” as David Stockman, Reagan’s Budget Director called it.

    Their strategy is to bring the country to the financial brink and then slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid because of “financial necessity.” They could never slash such popular programs politically.

    Many Americans certainly vote against their interests. Look at the social contract in Europe, Japan and Australia. The wealthy and corporations pay much higher tax rates in those countries. Middle class Americans pay just as much taxes as Europeans and receive far less in benefits. Here’s what you get over there:

    -free or very cheap college all the way to the phD level if you get grades

    -free or very cheap health care. no one ever goes bankrupt because someone in the family gets sick.

    -secure pensions, not 401k’s that are tied to the volatile stock market.

    -free or very cheap childcare for parents who choose to work.

    I think there are many reasons why so many people vote against their interests. Corporate media bias, our campaign-finance structure, Christian fundamentalism, the U.S. mythology of Daniel Boone moving to the wilderness and being a rugged individualist which is totally bogus.


    Analogue Kid

    scarr wrote >>
    Read about Harding/Coolidge and see how spending cuts and tax decreases pulled us from the brink once before.

    Wait…did you just mention Warren G. Harding as a supporting example to your arguement? Really?




    @scarr- please explain why the national debt doubled during the Reagan years when the top marginal tax rate was cut in half and how George W. Bush ran up $5 trillion of debt after cutting taxes (almost another doubling).

    Newt Gingrich and John Kasich said the sky would fall when Bill Clinton modestly raised the top tax rate in 1993. Most people would say the 1990’s economy was far superior to the past 10 years. And Clinton passed onto George W. Bush a budget surplus!

    Marxism has proven to be a failure. But the closest thing to a libertarian paradise is Somalia where there’s low taxes and a weak government. Is that what you really want?

    Edison and Henry Ford would have been nobodies had they been born in Bangledesh. Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy several times before hitting it big. His product relied on the government to build roads and bridges and courts to enforce contracts and tariffs to protect against competition.


    pilsner wrote >>
    Marxism has proven to be a failure. But the closest thing to a libertarian paradise is Somalia where there’s low taxes and a weak government. Is that what you really want?

    Somalia is more akin to anarchy than libertarianism. You’ve got competing tribal units in open conflict with one another not a unified minimal government which enforces property rights.



    @rus– I don’t disagree. But Somalia still has low taxes and weak government control.

    Can anyone name a place where pure libertarianism worked? IMO, it would quickly turn into feudalism and economic destruction for the vast majority of the people. Just the kind of system that precipitated the American Revolution.


    pilsner wrote >>

    – I don’t disagree. But Somalia still has low taxes and weak government control.
    Can anyone name a place where pure libertarianism worked? IMO, it would quickly turn into feudalism and economic destruction for the vast majority of the people. Just the kind of system that precipitated the American Revolution.

    Depends on how you define “pure libertarianism”, but last time I was in Hong Kong it wasn’t bad.



    Hong Kong is capitalist, not libertarian. Libertarianism implies both broad economic liberty and broad social liberty. However, that’s essentially enough to answer pilsner’s point, since I doubt he was demanding examples of where broad social liberty “worked.”



    There’s fantastic wealth in Hong Kong along with plenty of poverty. Most of Hong Kong’s wealth comes from being an exporting port for Chinese made goods which are produced using a form of slave labor.

    Is that what conservatives consider freedom?



    I think you’re a little misinformed as to where Hong Kong’s wealth comes from. It’s not just a port anymore.

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