“Alas, Alice! A Madder One Yet!”

““Why, yes, I’m very fond of tea,” said Alice to the Mad Hatter.”

With politically progressive credentials clearly and publicly established through the years, my first reaction to formation of the “Tea Party Movement” was admittedly positive with genuine enthusiasm and hopeful expectation. Government, supposedly “by, of, and for the people”, hasn’t seemed at all that way in recent times. 

In the July 29th, 2010 edition of The Sierra Star, I even wrote:

Having enjoyed a lovely gathering at the July 4th “Family Freedom Fest” at Oakhurst Park, all concerned are due appropriate congratulations and recognition for successful organizational efforts and, mainly, for deeply caring about their country.”

I still feel that way now about the people, but not “The Party.” That’s not my cup of tea at all.

Let’s reflect on our very recent past.

In national polling data from early April, 55% of us urged compromise on major issues, including 69% of Democrats, 53% of Independents and 50% of registered Republicans. In contrast, 68% of those identifying themselves as “Tea Party Supporters” shunned any form of negotiated agreement, preferring a government shutdown and subsequent horrors over not getting their absolute way — placing principle over precipice plunging.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va) , a Tea Party treasure, drafted and drove to approval (220 to 202) a hopelessly pretentious House Resolution –”The Government Prevention Shutdown Act” — which revealed Cantor’s inexcusable ignorance of basic Constitutional Law. In the bill, cynically named to disguise 61 billion dollars in social spending cuts, Cantor inserted language which stated that the measure would become the law of the land if the Senate didn’t quickly approve it. And never mind a Presidential signature. Cantor, who apparently never completed Third Grade Social Studies, thought it was a great, “serious” idea.

But Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis) leaves Cantor in the dust when it comes to hypocrisy honed to the razor’s edge. Representative Ryan is House Budget Committee Chairman and has just introduced his masterpiece, a “ Path to Prosperity”, your official Republican Budget Proposal for Fiscal 2012 and beyond. On this path, according to Kaiser Health News, seniors and those with disabilities would pay much more for Medicare. Specifically, “By 2030, typical 65 year-olds would be required to pay 68% of the cost of their coverage, which includes premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs.” In addition, traditional “Medicare” would DISAPPEAR by 2022 and shift beneficiaries into private insurance plans operated by “for profit” corporations. And he’ll be bringing back that “Donut Hole” so retirees can pay more for drugs again. And all this under the Holy Tea Party Grail of “Cutting Government Spending”

How about “Increasing Government Revenue”, even though Congressman Ryan, now self-defined as the Doctor Kevorkian of Medicare, also wants to lower taxes for the rich from 35% to 25%?

Right here in California, an interesting statistic from Tulchin Research offers breathtaking hope. A survey taken in March suggests that nearly eight out of ten California voters (78%) favor raising income taxes by 1% on the top 1% of Californians in order to help balance the state budget and prevent deeper cuts to social services. 89% of Democrats like the idea, 79% of Independents think that’s a fine suggestion and even 60% of Republicans would support such a measure. This single act would raise 2.5 billion dollars for the common good. Hah! An increase to 10% would completely eliminate our entire currently projected state budget deficit and restore many programs, safety nets and jobs recently ripped away by alleged necessity.

Please bear in mind, our “Top 1%” just received a 9 billion dollar tax decrease from the Federal Government at the end of last year with President Obama’s extension of the Bush tax breaks. Over the last ten years, they’re billions and billions and billions ahead. How ‘bout you?

Locally and nationally, our collective problem is not loss of private wealth, but lack of political will.

As Led Zeppelin would urge — Let’s “bring the balance back.”

And as for “The Tea Party” with Sarah, Michelle, Eric, Paul and now even “The Donald?”

““At any rate, I’ll never go THERE again!’” said Alice as she picked her way through the wood.” *

* Chapter Seven –”A Mad Tea Party” — from — ”Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll (1865)

Note — I’ve had several inquiries regarding my reference to Led Zeppelin above in the context of bringing “the balance back.” This phrase appears in “The Battle of Evermore” from “Led Zeppelin IV” (1971) — “The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back.”

Robert Plant is a great fan of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” from which he drew considerably inspiration in “Battle of Evermore”, available below with a click of your magical mouse.

2-04 The Battle Of Evermore

One Response to ““Alas, Alice! A Madder One Yet!””

  1. Les Marsden Says:

    Brilliant – simply brilliant. And this deft, wonderfully to-the-point and factually-substantiated piece demonstrates just why Peter Cavanaugh is one of my favorite writers – as well as one of the most politically-savvy minds around.

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