The Anti-Tea Party Party
I was having a discussion the other day with a fellow hubber about the Tea Party movement (TPM). I won't go too much into it, you can check it out yourself if you like, but what it essentially amounted to was that our fiscal situation is serious and the current members of Congress are completely unable or unwilling to enact the painful changes necessary to right the ship. The solution offered was to throw out enough of these existing Congressman (of any political flavor) and replace them with members of the Tea Party.
Basically the argument amounts to this: Our spending level is around 100, Democrats argue for 110, and Republicans argue for 90, which puts us in the stalemate in which we find ourselves. We need spending to be around 60 and the only way to make that happen is to overthrow Congress with TPM members. Here is what it looks like.
This is not however an accurate representation of spending. Spending isn't a flat line; it also has a shape. For any given pile of money people and groups will spend money differently. Each particular spending package therefore has a particular shape. Through negotiation and compromise (otherwise known as democracy) they settle upon a final package. It looks more like the following. Keep in mind there aren't necessarily only two options - in reality there are multiple proposals.
The idea of having TPM in complete control of the budget process is a mistake. While, they may in fact reduce spending, the shape of their spending package will only reflect a narrow ideology. The point that I was arguing is that other ideological voices, who also share the TPM's fiscal concerns should be a part of the decision-making process. I didn't really seem to make much headway with my argument. They seemed to be of the opinion that there is no such thing as a fiscally disciplined liberal. This simply is not true.
There may be some truth that there aren't many fiscally responsibly Democrats in Washington, there aren't many fiscally responsibly Congressman at all, so that doesn't really mean much.
With the TPM completely in charge here is what their spending package might look like. You can see that spending is off from what it should be if it were ideologically balanced.
The TPM is going to have to accept that they are not going to get everything that they want. They have little choice but to negotiate with opposing ideologies that will almost certainly propose a package of greater spending with entirely different priorities. Below is how the process should unfold.
So who are these fiscally responsible liberals? There probably are some in Congress now who are fiscally reasonable, but really it is more of something you would have to find in certain think-tanks and blogs. They just haven't, that I know of, coalesced into any sort of cohesive group. For now, I am just going to have to call them the Anti-Tea Party.