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As It Is: Tea party hypocrisy

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By David Giuliani

On Thursday, conservatives from across the country rallied against big government and taxes at so-called tea parties. They even held a demonstration in ultra-liberal Santa Fe.

The tea party’s message — combined with a hatred of President Obama — is simple. Sure, we can all agree that we don’t want a huge, overbearing government. And everyone likes lower taxes.

But these tea party activists don’t give many specifics about what they would do.

I agree with the tea party bunch that we need to get rid of the government’s mammoth deficits. We can’t continue to have trillion-dollar shortfalls every year.

But I’ll bet that most of the tea-party group doesn’t want to cut Medicare and Social Security, which consumes two-fifths of the federal budget. And these folks are strong-defense types, so they probably wouldn’t want to cut the quarter of the budget devoted to national security.

The rest of the budget — about a third — pays for everything else.

In other words, we’ll have to cut popular programs to wipe out the deficit. Either that, or we’ll have to raise taxes — which the tea party opposes.

The politicians in Washington, D.C., will have to take some unpopular steps.

When it comes to Medicare and Social Security, we should stop giving out such benefits to the rich. I know, I know: People will argue that they paid into the system. But these entitlements should be seen as a safety net —  they’re there when you need them. We simply can’t afford to give the wealthy all this money.

As you know, Social Security is funded through payroll taxes. But unless you make $106,000 a year, you may not know that the payroll tax doesn’t apply to income above that amount. If we lifted that cap, that would help save Social Security.

Unfortunately, our politicians don’t like to touch these programs. And while those in the tea party insist they dislike government, most enjoy receiving entitlements.

That’s the central hypocrisy of the tea party movement.

• • •

Another disturbing thing is that tea party activists think they’re the only patriots among us. I don’t doubt that they love this country, but why do they question everyone else’s support of the Constitution?

Then some of them compare President Obama to Hitler. To be fair, opponents of President Bush tarred him the same way.

I don’t like it when people compare others to Hitler, whose minions killed millions of Jews. You may not like Bush or Obama, but they haven’t done anything remotely close to that.

A few years ago, a local art show featured a checkerboard format of Bush’s face and the swastika. And the organizers wanted to put a picture of that artwork in the paper. I believe in freedom of speech, but this crossed the line. We published a press release, but didn’t include the picture.

Unless genocide is an issue, let’s not bring up comparisons to Hitler.

• • •

The Highlands University Graduate Student Senate is planning a forum for magistrate judge and sheriff candidates for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Leveo Sanchez Lecture Hall, or G-35, on the campus. Organizers say they’ll take written questions from the audience.

It’s great to see students get involved in the local political scene.

David Giuliani is managing editor of the Las Vegas Optic. He may be reached at 425-6796 or dgiuliani@lasvegasoptic.com.