Who Are the Tea Party Patriots and What Do They Want?

The Deficit Chart

Speakers' Platform at Atascadero Tea Party with Deficit Chart in Background
Speakers' Platform at Atascadero Tea Party with Deficit Chart in Background | Source

An Inside View of the Tea Party Patriots

I first attended tea party rallies in 2009 as a concerned citizen. My initial purpose in attending these rallies was to see what was going on and to write about it. I always take my little Flip camcorder to record what I see and hear. I did the same at the April 16, 2011 rally at he Atascadero Sunken Gardens, Atascadero, California. This time, though, I was an official part of the organization called the Tea Party Patriots.

As an insider now, I'm hoping to satisfy others who might be as curious as I was about who these tea party people really are -- the organizers, and those who come to the rallies. Of course, I can only tell you about my local group here in North San Luis Obispo County, California. It's the only one I know. It's quite different than the stereotype many people have of the tea party movement. (In the beginning of 2012, our local group, along with most other California groups, left the Tea Party Patriot National organization in order to retain our grassroots character.)

Why I Joined the Tea Party

I am not a political person. I am a bookseller and I work hard at it. I am never caught up. I'm loving my new opportunities to find an audience for my writing since I joined HubPages and Squidoo. I'm also a Zazzle addict. I would much rather be doing web page work for the business, writing, or designing Zazzle products than going to political meetings and rallies.

So why did I get involved with the North County Tea Party Patriots? I was afraid that if all the people like me -- working people, small business people -- ignored politics, the politicians in power who are pushing a socialist agenda would soon transform the America I grew up in to an entirely different kind of country, and that personal liberties we have become accustomed to will soon be a thing of the past.

The Tea Party Patriots have three priorities they are fighting for: Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free markets. As things stand now, those in control of our national government chafe under the constraints of the Constitution they have sworn to defend. Our President is trying to use executive regulations to usurp the Constitutional power Congress has been given to make the laws. The Courts are also usurping that power.

Government spending is out of control. State, county , and local governments can't print money and have to live within their means, and the federal government is trying to reduce the cost of its legislation by expecting the states to carry more of the burden.The states, in turn, are passing those costs to county and local governments. Governments at all levels want to tax an already overtaxed people even more. If the people resist, they say they will need to cut essential services -- while retaining commissions that duplicate each other, pass burdensome regulations, and then enforce those regulations.

I also see corruption in both major parties that disturbs me. Those who make our laws exempt themselves from having to follow them. It would seem many of our politicians in power consider themselves above the law. Instead of being examples of good citizenship for our children to follow, they are examples of doing anything they can get away with. I think many believe the people who elected them are there to serve them, rather than the other way around. A good many of them are deaf to their constituents and would prefer not to have to be accountable to them. This is not the kind of government our founders envisioned.

These are some of the reasons I have become politically active when I really didn't want to be. I'm hoping some of these issues can be addressed and corrected. I'm hoping it's not too late.



Why Do People Come to Tea Pary Rallies?

Not Everyone Who Comes is a Tea Party Patriot

Why Do People Come to the Rallies?

One way I serve our our local group is to record on my camcorder and camera what happens at the rallies. Before one tax day rally started, I took my camcorder around to interview some of the folks who had come out to our San Luis Obispo County Tea Party Rally. They consented to be on video record. I asked them one question: Why did you come today?

Some, as you will see, probably came just to see what we were about. Some came to support the Tea Party movement. Some knew exactly why they were there and were able to articulate it in a few sentences. You will hear what they have to say in the top video to the right. I did interview my husband, too -- he's the clown who said he's there because his wife made him come. It's not true.He just likes to tease me.

I did these interviews before most people had arrived. It was a warm day and many people preferred to sit in the shade at the edges of the park under the trees. Some who had not brought chairs were seated on the park's benches and around the fountain, so people were spread out. Only a few sat in the middle where they show up in this video. My husband counted around 400 people.There was a lot of competition from other events that day, and there were probably some who had to stay home and work on their taxes.

At least one person I ran into was there to heckle the tea party people. He seemed to be intent on getting his own talking points out to those in the crowd, but did not seem interested in a real discussion. I invited him to talk to my husband, who was born in a socialist country, but he wasn't interested. I have put him in the lower video to the right just to give him a fair shake. You will see I disagree with him, but I did not have time before the event started to give my reasons. I don't think he was interested in hearing them anyway.

All videos used in this hub are ones I took myself. Some are a bit shaky because I was trying to move closer to the speaker or go around people who were moving in front of me. There really wasn't much to look at anyway, since it was what the speakers said that's important. As far as the crowd goes, it was peaceful. People appeared to be there to learn rather than to protest with their voices. They were making their statement just by being there, and some carried signs to express their feelings and ideas.

People Who Do the Work

Dennis Morrison usually is the MC and helps get speakers when the North County Group does its own rallies. He worked with Matt on this rally. You can see Matt in the videos where he is speaking and / or introducing other speakers.
Dennis Morrison usually is the MC and helps get speakers when the North County Group does its own rallies. He worked with Matt on this rally. You can see Matt in the videos where he is speaking and / or introducing other speakers. | Source

A Hometown Rally by Local People

This rally was organized by Matt Kokkenon, a financial planner from San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Obispo Tea Party from South County. The North County Group, of which I'm a part, was planning its own event for April 15. When I attended the March 21 planning meeting, I was surprised to see Matt there. We discussed whether to join forces instead of putting on competing events, since the National Tea Party Patriots were hoping we could make a statement with all groups holding rallies on April 16 -- a date made possible with 2012's later tax deadline.

Since Matt had all his speakers pretty well lined up, our group offered to assist on the ground with set-up, tear-down, clean up, and other such tasks. Matt acted as MC and did some of the speaking, as well. If you want to know what is on the minds of tea party supporters, the speakers at this event laid it out, each covering one subject he was an expert in.


Color Guard Kara Kester

Kara, reigning Creston Classic Junior Rodeo Queen (2010), and her horse, Howie, proudly carry the flag.
Kara, reigning Creston Classic Junior Rodeo Queen (2010), and her horse, Howie, proudly carry the flag. | Source

The Star Spangled Banner

The Color Guard and National Anthem

Our rally began with a color guard on horseback. I had been asked to try to find one, but I didn’t know anyone with horses who was available and instead gave our organizer the names of organizations who might know someone. They found Kara Kester, reigning Creston Classic Junior Rodeo Queen, who lives with her family in Parkfield.

I had an informative conversation with Kara’s mother, June, who was head of the county Cattlewomen’s Association. I had called to get permission to use the video and-or picture I had taken of Kara for this article, since Kara is only 14. Her entire family is involved with cattle, and they also raise grapes. Kara’s father Kevin was president of the California Cattlemen’s Association, and Kara has been riding horses even before she was born. Her independent riding started with a pony when she was two or three. She has been active in 4-H, as you might expect.

I was fascinated by her education. She attended a one-room school house for her elementary school years. The older students help explain math and reading to the younger students, and in doing so demonstrate their own mastery of the subjects they explain. Kara was participating in the Templeton Home School program, since her elementary education, where students were able to advance as fast as they could, left her too advanced to transfer into middle school without, in effect, being put back to a lower level of learning. She was planning to enroll in public high school the next year as part of the gifted program.

Meanwhile, her years of home education have given her some incredible opportunities to accompany her father to Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, while he met with elected officials. Kara was able to meet House Republican Whip Kevin McKarthy in Washington when he took that office. She has had an opportunity during these trips to see our government at work and learn how things get done in Congress and at the state level, as her dad represents the interests of cattlemen.

The person who had been scheduled to sing the National Anthem was not there, so a volunteer was called for from the audience. A man introduced as Bob responded -- at least that's who did sing. I thought he did a great job. He is in the lower video above, to the right. The National Anthem was followed by an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance. The speakers were then introduced one by one after that, and I will introduce them below.

Matt Kokkonen Speaks on the Deficit

Matt Kokkonen was the First Speaker

As a financial planner, he is especially concerned about our national deficit. He brought the large chart behind the podium and used it to explain the the growth of the deficit since the United States began.

Youth Speaks out on Border Protection

One of the first speakers was a high school student, Anthony Aguirre. If I heard his introduction properly, his speech was a winner in a Rotary contest. His interest was in a state's right to protect its borders. He was only one of the young people at this rally. The others were watching, and some of them had spoken at previous rallies.

State's Right to Protect its Borders by Anthony Aguirre

Dr. Richard Riggins Speaks Out on Health Care

What about Health Care?

Many people wonder what the Tea Party Patriots think about health care and how it should be delivered. My guess is they don't all agree, but most would tell you that the way to reform health care is not in the law Congress sneaked through against the will of most people -- the law commonly known as "Obamacare." Most tea party people I know want that law repealed.

One of our speakers was Richard Riggins, M.D., a retired professor of Orthopedics in San Luis Obispo California. He holds degrees from Duke University, Durham, NC, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN, and The University of Surrey, Guilford, Surrey, England. He does not believe that a universal health care system run by the governement will do the trick.

Michael Brown from COLAB on the Environment

The Environment

Many people think that those of us in the tea party don't care about the environment. I would say that I don't personally know any one of us who wants polluted water and air. On the other hand, some environmental regulations do more harm than good. Michael Brown will explain some of these regulations in his speech in the video to the right. You can learn more about COLAB, The Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business on its Facebook page. You can download their newsletters from that page. You can read an article by Mike Brown in the most recent newsletter (April, 2011, when this was written) where he defines COLAB and explains why it is threatening to the left.

Mike has 42 years of experience working in state and local governments in many different states. He was Deputy City Manager of Hartford, and City Manager of Berkeley and Tucson. For 14 years he served as Chief Executive Officer of Santa Barbara County. He knows how government works. His parable of the coyote as it would play out in California and in Wyoming, is well worth reading, and will also help you see what things California thinks are more essential to spend money on than education, police, fire protection, and helping the disabled elderly get the help they need to stay in their homes. (The Parable of the Coyote is in the newsletter referred to above.)

David Bentz on Taxes

Is the Tea Party Just about Taxes?

Some people think that protesting taxes is the main reason the tea party exists. After all, the Tea Party Patriots group is named after the famous Boston Tea Party that protested the British tax on tea. It would be hard to find a Tea Party Patriot who does not want taxes cut, but as you will learn in the videos, taxes are not the Tea Party's only concern. They also want fiscal responsibility in how tax money is spent, free markets, and constitutionally limited government. Tea Party Patriots realize that the power to tax is also the power to control behavior and ruin free markets.

Our speaker on taxes is John Bentz, who ran for Atascadero City Treasurer in 2010. He has been active in Atascadero city politics for many decades, and he has served on the Atascadero Planning Commission. He's also been an assistant scout master, a church board member, and a Rotary Club member. He has served as president of Creative Alternative for Learning and Living, a non-profit entity which serves autistic individuals and he owned a business consulting company. He is now retired. He will tell you all about the taxes you might not even realize you are paying and offer come suggestions as to what you can do about it.


Steve Burke Talks about Business

As the owner of a construction business, Steve has felt the effects of the economic slow-down on small businesses such as his. He has also felt the impact of the regulations which cripple the construction business and impact the cost of building. I'll let him tell you about it himself in the video.

Steve Burke on Business

Nate Maas on the Ninth Amendment

Nate Maas on the 9th Amendment

Nate teaches social sciences at San Luis Obispo High School. You can read his complete profile on his blog, Nate's Nonsense, where you can also find some historical tidbits that might interest you. Nate spoke on the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. These amendments deal with the rights of the people. They are supportive of limited constitutional government and show some ways in which the Constitution does limit the federal government. 

Matt Kokkonen on Anchor Babies

Matt Kokkonen on the 14th Amendment

I had to pick up Matt's speech on the 14th Amendment and how it relates to anchor babies a bit late due to a battery problem, but I think the meat of it is intact. As you might recall, an anchor baby is the a baby born to illegal immigrants on American soil who has been granted American citizenship. What Matt was pointing out just before I picked him up was that the real purpose of the 14th amendment was to be able to grant citizenship to the slaves born in America who were freed. I will let Matt be the last speaker and end this hub. You will have the last words.

Please leave some feedback about those sections you read or watched. I didn't really expect anyone to read and listen to everything here, but I did want to put it all in one place. This will be the anchor hub for some others that are related and will be written as I have time. For another excellent hub and a much different tea party event, earlier in the year, read Tea Party -- What's the Uproar About?

Which speakers affected you most?

Which speaker did you learn most from? Please elaborate in comments section below.

  • Matt Kokkonen on Deficit and 14th Amendment
  • Steve Burke on Business
  • Richard Riggins on Health Care
  • Michael Brown from COLAB on the Environment
  • David Bentz on Taxes
  • Anthony Aguirre on States' Right to Protect Borders
  • Nate Maas on the Ninth and Tenth Amendments
See results without voting

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Comments 23 comments

Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Dear Wannabe writer,

I appriciate your wonderful hub explaining the tea party. I honestly am learning about the right and the left and I fall somewhere in between. I haven't quite figured that out yet. I like reading everyones hubs on their political views hoping to learn more, so I can make an informed decision. However I am fearful of commenting at times because I feel I just don't know how to put into words when it comes to politics. I just don't get it all yet. I will though. You did this hub with much grace. Thank you.

Sunnie


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thank you for commenting, Sunnie Day. I appreciate people who are open to discussing issues and making up their own minds what is right. The issues are complex and things have gotten so broken there are no simple fixes. It's almost like trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again. You might want to read the suggested books. I don't agree with the author on everything, but he does present the issues well and give you lots of food for thought. In a hub, there's simply not room to say everything.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Thank you wannaBwriter. i appriciate your openness.

Sunnie


aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 5 years ago from American Southwest

What the one guy called a radical social agenda was considered normal up until a generation or so ago. Actually, I think in most parts of the US, if you look deeper than what newspapers and TV say, and talk to the real people, it's still what people consider normal. When a point of view has that much consensus across history, you can call it lots of things, but you can't call it radical.

I think that guy needs to consider the meaning of the saying, "find out why a fence is there before you tear it down."


Dianne 5 years ago

I'm hoping your article will correct the negative assumptions that people make about the Tea Party. Our local Tea Party events are peaceful and non-violent. It is simply people exercising their right to peaceably assemble and their freedom of speech. We have these rights guaranteed by the Constitution.


Bumpsysmum profile image

Bumpsysmum 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

I love these old stories of history with a modern slant, shows us how we've moved on, not necessarily for the better - gives a new take on the past, love it :-)


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Joan, Thanks for the positive feedback.

aethelthryth, you've made a good point. Perhaps that's why the administration keeps wanting to accept what he calls "the new normal."

Dianne, in all of our local tea parties, there's never been any incident of violence from either side. They've all been more peaceful many family picnics, and some people have brought their lunches, since most occur on week days during lunch hour.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Bumpsysmum, Part of our problem is that the education system does not often teach the historical context behind much of what is occurring today. Those who were not yet born in the 50's don't realize what our country was like then. Yes, there were things that needed to be changed in racial relations to grant equal civil rights to African-Americans, and they've been changed. But most people back then lived in families which were intact, and it was safe for kids to walk down Main St alone without fear of being attacked by gangs. Violent crime was not as rampant, and murder in suburbia and small towns was still pretty rare, as was kidnapping. People knew their neighbors and did not need to organize a Neighborhood Watch. It was built in. We still sang "My Country "Tis of Thee" and other patriotic hymns in elementary school after the flag salute. And when we needed to use the restroom, we weren't afraid of being jumped by student extortionists. There was probably less gun regulation, but no school shootings that I know of , and until this last couple of decades, we weren't reading about people going nuts after problems at work and returning with guns to shoot their bosses and coworkers. Kids today may see this increased violence as normal.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

WannaB Writer, thank you for sharing your insider perspective! I really appreciate the detail you've gone into. Voted up!


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thanks,Moonvine. I think we grew up in the same kind of world, except for civil rights issues before the sixties. There will always be things that need to be improved. The difference is that back then, common sense was not in such short supply. When a consensus grew that a serious problem needed to be solved, people made their voices heard and Congress would discuss and persuade each other until they were ready to vote. None of this "You have to pass the bill to know what's in it" secrecy. Congressmen still listened to their constituents back then and knew people wouldn't put up with what's going on now.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thanks, Simone. I know shorter is considered better, but to cut it would have been to leave out important parts. I doubt if anyone will read and listen to everything, but the choice is left to them, not me, what they want to read and hear. Different people are concerned about different issues.


Bumpsysmum profile image

Bumpsysmum 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

Yes, you're so right. Unfortunately we seem to be slipping into an abyss of acceptance, seems hard sometimes to see where the seam of change was sewn. What happened to coping, or discussing problems, now it seems it's ok to shoot and blame someone else for it all. A lot of us had tough upbringings but we don't go round killing everyone or blaming them, we're too busy trying to build what we wanted in the first place - a decent life for ourselves and as many others as we can muster together and try to forget the past - great debate topic :-)


McGilwriter profile image

McGilwriter 5 years ago from Florida

I guess I'm a tea party patriot. I'm definitely a conservative, but I have many of the same concerns as the tea party patriots. I think spending is out of control, but my job is available because of government spending. So I'm conflicted, haha!


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

McGilwriter, I hear you. My largest customers are public schools. When their budgets are cut, my business suffers. What's good for us individually is not necessarily best for the country. Sometimes, though, just as the soldiers who go abroad to fight make sacrifices, so must some of us who fight on the home front.


Susan52 profile image

Susan52 5 years ago

Very comprehensive and well done! I really appreciate the dialogue here as well.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thanks for stopping by Susan, and commenting.


smcopywrite profile image

smcopywrite 5 years ago from all over the web

thank you for explaining about the tea party. however, i think they want the same things addressed that everyone wants addressed. the difference is instead of blaming someone for the issue lets get on with fixing it. i haven't heard any solutions being suggested by the party.

i admit that i am a democrat so i may be somewhat biased.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for this most excellent article. I attended one tea party rally (Orlando) and wrote about it on HubPages. I included a bunch of photographs I took while there. I went because a journalist on CNN said they were all a bunch of racist haters, and I wanted to see for myself. Of course, this is absolutely false. I had a lovely time with thousands of great Americans.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 5 years ago from America

Love this hub very well done.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

smcopywrite, many tea party members came from the Democrat party. I think if you will listen closely, read the Wall Street Journal, etc, you will see that they have presented plans -- the media just doesn't talk that much about them.

James, I'll have to look up your hub soon. I attended my first rally just to see and photograph it so I could write about it. Then I kept going and found myself in the core group.

Moonlake, thanks for stopping by to read and comment.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

Good Hub, WannaB Writer, unfortunately, none of your videos came through on my laptop, so I will have to go back and see if they will show up on a different platform.

I think I have seen you comments elsewhere. San Luis used to be my old stomping grounds from 1965 - 1971 as I went to college there.

First, I must agree with you in your para that starts "I also see corruption in both major parties that udisturbs ..." and the lowere you go in federal and state government, the worse it gets. After that, we must part ways, I am afraid.

Part of the reason are statements like this "He does not believe that a universal health care system run by the governement will do the trick." While I actually agree with the statement, as it stands by itself, I don't in the context you use it in which equates "Obamacare" (which I use as an accolade, btw) with universal health care. It as to make me wonder how much you have actually looked at the law for Obamacare is as close to Universal Health Care as Black is to White. Why can I say that? Because I run a small business and, being responsible for HR, among other things, I had to find out. (BTW, my premiums went DOWN 10% this coming year, saved me about $8,000 and each employee about $85, go figure.) Because of this glaring error, it colors my impression on the rest of your commentary.

You also make overly broad statements, common to the extremes of both sides of the political spectrum, such as "He has also felt the impact of the regulations which cripple the construction business and impact the cost of building. I'll ...". This statement is also disingeneouls in that, as you should know, the construction industry was brought down not by over regulation but by an economy that collapsed due to a failed Conservative economic philosophy brought to fruition in the early Bush II years. The construction industry worked under basically the same regualtory structure under the booming Clinton years and buidling housing bubble Bush years until about 2006 when the economy began its march to ruin, as it does today.

The last two comments I will make concern you notes on the IX and X Amendments and limited government. First, in actuality, the last two amendments of the Bill of Rights do very little to advance the notion of limited government. In the case of the IX Amendment, Madison had to put that there in order to guarantee people wouldn't assume the citizens Rights were limited to those listed in the first eight. That was Madison't way out for listing them at all given he, and the other Federalists, thought those rights were implicit in the basic Constitution to begin with; the Anti-federalist, however, didn't see it that way.

The X Amendment is there as a give away to the Anti-federalist. it does nothing more that restate the obvious, that those rights not reserved to the federal government or procribed from the State governments, are reserved for the State governments, which is, again, implied in the basic Constitution, but, once more, the Anti-federalists weren't buying it.

As to the "those in control of our national government "chafe" under the constraints of ...". Yes they do, no doubt about it, that is why there is a political spectrum, now and in the past. Remember were the Constitution came from, the Articles of Confederation. Now that is a document that should be near and dear to a Tea Partyer's heart; that document is what "limited" governmnet, meaning the Continental Congress, is all about. Well, the Progressives and Liberals of the day who wrote and signed the Constitution, "chafed" under that kind of limited government as well but didn't want a "limitless" government either, which is why the Constitution is written the way it is, giving Congress relatively broad, but not limitless powers to do what it needs to make America work as a cohesive United States rather than a set of united States.

It really is my honest opinion, that it is the Articles of Confederation, whether they know it or not, that the Conservatives of today and the 1800s, want out Constitution to look like.

Sorry for the long comment, had lots to say.


SLO Builder 4 years ago

My esoteric makes some points that may be true in his business but are false here on the Central Coast of California.

First, the regulations on building imposed prior to and in the Clinton years did impact our industry but were negated by the "free money" being handed out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These programs were the brainchild of both parties but touted by liberals as a way to make the American Dream come true for all.

Thanks Barney Frank !

Now that reality has set in, these same regulations plus a host of new grading, drainage, watershed and energy compliance rules have made a terrible construction atmosphere even worse.

Our County just adopted the "Energy Wise" regulations that will further impact the ability of the building customer and contractor to make budget decisions on their construction project without government intervention. The "Green Monster" is swallowing us all.

I am happy his company's health insurance went down under the new Obama Care. Our Blue Shield went up. I did save money as the 18 employees I contributed to their health care programs are now on unemployment and on the Taxpayers payroll instead of mine.

You are correct in that our "Founding Fathers" were forced kicking and screaming into agreeing and signing our countries Constitution. Most would have preferred to leave "Articles of Confederation" in place but in fact they did debate and sign our Constitution.

Tea Party Patriots do not want federal government disbanded and states rights to be our only form of government but by the same token we don't want the federal government telling us what to eat, where we can live and what to do with our "private property".

"Don't tread on me"


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

@SLO, I appreciate your frustration over what has happened to California construction. I am a bit of a numbers nurd, so I went back to some stats to take a look using California residential housng building permits as a proxy for construction activity over time.

In 1963, permits hit a local high of about 304,000 and again in 1986, with about 315,000. The next high was in 2004, with 207,000. There were a couple of local lows of 99,000 in 1966, and 85,000 in 1982. From 1960 to 1986, other than those extremes, the number of permits ranged generally between 150,000 and 250,000 in two or three cycles.

Starting in 1987, as the Reagan deficit started its meteoric climb and the economy began its decline into recession, permits fell at a constant rate until they bottomed out at 84,000 in 1995, just after Clinton took office. From there it was a steady climb back to the 207,000 in 2004, when the housing bubble hit its high mark and began a slow leak. Permits began dropping rapidly, as the economy cooled, to 110,000 in 2007, and then collapsed, along with the economy and the bursting of the bubble to 62,000, then 35,000 in 2008 and 2009, respectively. In 2010, they are back up to 44,000.

To me, the ups and downs are mostly driven by economic factors. This is not to say, of course, that environmental regulations haven't had their own impact as well, but from an owner's perspective who has lived from 1952 - 1965, in the LA basin, from 1965 - 1971, in SLO, and from 1975 - 1988, in Sacramento, I have seen first hand, the kind of human heartache the lack of regulation and environmental care can bring, especially along the coast. I also saw what the lack of inspections and regulations did to the homes that didn't survive Huricane Andrew near Miami. It is easy to dredge up a mryiad of examples where simple common sense regulations, had they been in place before-hand, but were opposed by the building industry, would have saved millions of dollars and hundreds of lives.

I certainly won't argue with you that there are many stupid regulations out there as well, but you will have a hard time convincing me, these are the culprits that are devestating the building industry; you will need to provide some strong statistics to overcome just the broad numbers I just presented above.

Also, I have done a lot of research on Fannie and Freddie and say that your ire is directed at the wrong entities. It does need to be directed, no doubt about that, but it needs to be turned toward the non-regulated banking industry and "shadow" banking system that developed because of the deregulation of the financial industry just prior and during the Bush administration. Those were the organizations handing out the "free" money from 2002 - 2008, not Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Those two organizations "still required" the banks, who made the loans they bought, to make sure the borrowers had the ability, abeit with less stringent standards than before, to pay back the mortgages. It was the "shadow" and other financial institutions that were doing the "no doc" and "no proof" loans.

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