Liberal media members opposed to President Obama's tax cut compromise plan have been making the case that it's hypocritical of the Tea Party not to be universally against the measure given its impact on the deficit.
After Ed Schultz and Bill Press not surprisingly took this view on Monday's "Ed Show," Michael Medved gave them both a much-needed education on the subject (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Now let's get some rapid-fire response from our panel on these stories. I want to know, where are the Tea Party outrages about the tax cuts? The tax cuts for the rich could explode the deficit by $900 billion over the next decade if the GOP gets its way, so where's the outrage? Where's the march? Where are the protests? I thought the Tea Party folks were against all of this? [...]
With us tonight, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press and also nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved. The vote today, gentlemen, $900 billion, Bill Press, are you a 30 percenter or are you with the polls that say, this is the right thing to do?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Look, I don’t care whether it’s two percent. I’m with the people that think this is a bad deal, Ed. And it’s going through the Senate, but you’re right about the Tea Party. If they really -- this just proves how phony the Tea Party is and I think this is a problem for them. Because they’ve become owned lock stock and barrel by the Republican Party. You know, if they really cared about federal spending and the deficit, they would have protested the Bush tax cuts in the first place, they would have protested the expansion of the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, they didn’t, and now they’re silent when the Republicans have made this deal. This is bigger than the stimulus package.
SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, what happens if this doesn’t work and what is your measurement, what’s the conservative measurement of success on this $900 billion package?
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, measurement of the success is going to be seen with the unemployment rate, the general state of the economy, but the point about this is, there is a difference between the governments taking money out of the private sector, and spending it on government programs, and the government allowing more money to stay in the private sector. The Tea Party has always been about the size of government. When you leave tax rates low and then cut tax rates further, like this wonderful payroll tax that Republicans and Democrats can agree on, that tax reduction is going to stimulate the economy and it’s going to allow people to keep more of their own money and shrink government.
PRESS: Michael, that is double talk. This is $900 billion added to the deficit. You can’t run away from that.
MEDVED: It’s not spending.
PRESS: We can’t afford it, that’s exactly what it is.
MEDVED: No, it’s not spending.
PRESS: And if the Tea Party believe in anything, they ought to be marked massed right tonight in front the Capitol protesting this.
MEDVED: What Tea Partiers believe in is smaller government. The best way to shrink government is to shrink the amount of money government takes out of the private sector and that’s exactly what’s happening with this deal.
SCHULTZ: Nine hundred billion dollars, Michael, $900 billion. You know as well as I do, they were really squawking about the government spending. The record deficit.
SCHULTZ: They said that government was running away with it. If this doesn’t work, Mike, we may have to fault. I mean, this is -- if this doesn’t work, this is a bad deal for America. We’re walking the plate.
MEDVED: Ed, it’s wonderful to hear you taking the deficit seriously. See, this is the point.
PRESS: You have both sides of the Democratic Party, both sides of the Democratic Party, each one is taking a Republican (?).
What Schultz, Press, and many of their liberal colleagues are conveniently missing is that the TEA in Tea Party stands for "Taxed Enough Already." This is and always has been an-anti tax movement.
Though the idiots on the Left care not to look at its history, the Tea Party has roots in the Ross Perotistas that were so angered when George H. W. Bush went back on his no new tax campaign pledge.
As such, Tea Partiers supporting an extension of the Bush tax cuts along with some of the other provisions in the President's compromise plan are not at all hypocritical.
As for the expansion of the deficit, the Tea Party believe the budget woes are caused by too much spending not too little taxation. A Conservative Congress in the '90s demonstrated that the budget can be balanced with a mixture of tax cuts and fiscal restraint.
If Washington suddenly has less money to spend as a result of these cuts, maybe Congress and the White House will get more serious about reining in spending.
In reality, this is what's worrying folks like Schultz and Press.
It is therefore them that are being hypocritical.
*****Update: Tea Party leader and Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch offers her view:
People who make that argument have zero knowledge as to how economics work. Tax cuts add to the deficit; there is simply no data to support otherwise. The left supports the position that the government is entitled to the output of an individual. They believe that the government is a better steward of resources than individuals; in that case, why do we have a deficit? Why are Medicare and Medicaid broke? Why do we keep having to engage in deficit spending to cover our needs? It's because "our needs" aren't needs at all, they're "wants."
Giving people back their own money isn't expensive. Government spending is expensive. I find them rich, the remarks from Bill Press and the like. They have no problem with a trillion-dollar spending bill, over $8 billion of which is pork - but they have a problem with hard-working Americans of every class controlling their output instead of the government. Press's argument is invalid because it presupposes that tax cuts don't stimulate the economy which is false. After the Reagan tax cuts we witnessed exponential growth in government revenue for years; after the Bush tax cuts we saw 52 straight-weeks of job growth (as per the Department of Labor) because more individuals had more discretionary income to raise demand, bulking up supply, encouraging investors, et al.
The tea party has non been inconsistent with any stance on big spending. Press, however, needs to reconcile his advocacy for no tax cuts (due to a desire for limited spending) with his stance on the omnibus, the stimulus, edujobs, and health control.