Most Read: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Would you use an app that tells you the partisan affiliation of products you're considering buying?

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share

Join a Discussion

There are no discussions scheduled today.

Weekly schedule, past shows

All Opinions Are Local
Posted at 05:15 PM ET, 08/12/2011

Jamie Radtke on the Tea Party’s debt fight


On Aug. 4, I posted an item that was critical of the Virginia Tea Party and its influence on the debt ceiling debate. Jamie Radtke, the head of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots and a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate race in 2012, has sent this response:

Peter Galuszka’s blog post “Is the Va. Tea Party losing steam?” said that the Tea Party movement and I “cheered on freshmen Republicans in the House of Representatives to do everything they could to thwart a compromise.”

Well, we got a “compromise” and ended up with the worst of three worlds: trillions more in debt, no real spending cuts in the near future, and a downgrade of our credit rating. If one option is steering clear of an iceberg (truly reducing our debt) and the other option is running straight into the iceberg (ignoring the debt), a “compromise” that crashes half of the ship into the iceberg is still not a good plan.

Within days of Washington politicians making it clear that they were not committed to serious spending cuts and long-term structural spending reform, the Dow dropped more than 1,100 points (and has been swinging wildly ever since), Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating to AA+, and we added $250 billion to the debt (bringing total U.S. debt to more than our gross domestic product).

Furthermore, our largest foreign creditor, China, demanded “international supervision over the issue of U.S. dollars . . . and a new, stable and secured global reserve currency may also be an option to avert a catastrophe caused by any single country.”

In other words, half the ship hit the iceberg.

The bond rating agencies and investors in our markets say we must cut spending. Foreign countries say we must cut spending. Tea Party advocates say we must cut spending. A majority of Americans say we must cut spending. Only Washington politicians (along with Galuszka) could have the audacity to claim that the majority view is stubborn and that we should submit to their business-as-usual destructive ways. To better understand their minority worldview, perhaps we should all remember these are the same politicians and pundits who define “spending cut” as “reducing the rate of spending increases.”

It seems to me that the left’s disagreement with the Tea Party comes down to two things: 1) They want to spend more. We don’t. 2) They want to see more career politicians like Tim Kaine elected. We don’t.

But Galuszka and his colleagues on the left are right that the Tea Party and I view the world and our challenges in a much different way than he, and for that matter, the Washington establishment, does. Unlike the Washington establishment, Americans can see the world logically. We can do simple math and understand that spending $1.5 trillion of money we don’t have every year (and borrowing money from China to feed that spending addiction) cannot continue without severe consequences.

I wonder what we’d need to get all of Congress into that state of mind?

— Jamie Radtke

By  |  05:15 PM ET, 08/12/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company