Three Tea Party Fallacies
To combat the Tea Party’s misinformation, a rational examination of historical facts is the simple solution. I present three of their fallacies for your review:
#1: We need more guns to combat gun violence. In the last thirty years, we have had 61 mass killings, including the monstrous killings in Newtown, CT. In no case, was the killer prevented from completing the terrible crime by an armed private individual with a gun. Nonetheless, gun rights advocates always claim that if someone with a gun was present, he or she could have stopped the carnage. This is the reason that thoughtful people are working to establish gun-free zones, including schools, colleges, churches and airplanes. Even if an armed person could intervene, gunfire would probably make the situation more dangerous. Furthermore, we now have over 310 million guns in this country, 8.8 guns for every 10 people. Would you feel safer with 100%?
#2: If we lower taxes, the economy will improve. All income classes in the U.S. have been “enjoying” historically-low income tax rates for at least the last 12 years.
Actually, rates have been going down since the 1970’s. Do you believe that tax reduction has led to a robust economy? By not raising additional taxes to pay for additional defense, retiree support, transportation and social programs, we have been brought to the highest deficit and debt in our history. Cutting spending, or any particular programs, will not solve the problem because government, just like a family, cannot survive if income is reduced every year.
#3: The states and not the Federal government know what’s best for their people. The fallacy of this argument is actually tied into #2. One of the most conservative states in the union is Louisiana. I remember visiting New Orleans one year. I met a man in the city who owned a small, one family house in one of the parishes. He told me how happy he was to pay a yearly property tax of $200 dollars. About a year later, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. Governor Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat called out the State Police. I was amazed to learn that the Department numbered 91 officers for the entire state. Federal troops had to be called in.
In another example, a month before the recent deep well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, defunded and eliminated the state’s Office of Well Drilling Safety Management. What followed was the Gulf’s biggest natural disaster that costs the Federal government nearly $30 billion to clean up. Thankfully, not all states are as dysfunctional as Louisiana, but to claim that the Federal government has little responsibility is not only short-sighted but dangerous to state residents.
I write this commentary to encourage you to seek the historical facts surrounding our political problems and come to your own informed conclusions. As a voter, you owe it to yourself to challenge the fallacies that could hurt our society and weaken our nation.