This year, we should also give thanks for the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement has changed the course of our nation. The legions of middle class Americans that started out protesting the bank bailouts raised the curtain on our nation’s fiscal incontinence – spotlighting our escalating debts and the careless spending of our elected officials.
As a consequence, President Obama and Congress are being judged by an entirely new matrix – on their ability to repair our long-term budget chasm. So far, their efforts have been shockingly inadequate – failures that produced an upheaval during the last round of elections and that will surely reverberate next November.
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The sea change in budget priorities did not come easily. Reining in government spending is opposed by enormous entrenched interests – public service employees, elected officials, defense contractors, environmentalists, veterans, those on Medicare and Social Security, and others who drink from the federal tap. The grey-haired protesters who struggled out of their Barca-loungers to blast the bank bail-outs were partly motivated by fear – fear that rising government debt would threaten their grandchildren’s future, or their Social Security checks. How right they were.