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Welcome to the wonderful world of the Tea Party

I have been constantly amused by the similarities of the Tea Party in “Alice in Wonderland” and the Tea Party that exists in America today.

I have been constantly amused by the similarities of the Tea Party in “Alice in Wonderland” and the Tea Party that exists in America today. They both seem to live in a fantasy world, and as the Cheshire Cat noted to Alice at the Tea Party: “We are all mad here.” How perfect!

So take a trip with me to an America conceived and run by the Tea Party. It may be a journey that even the Tea Partiers will find surprising, and may even regret.

To begin with, let’s examine those things that the Tea Partiers are striving for; there are basically three: First few or no taxes. Second less spending, and less government. And finally, elimination of the federal debt. Well, who would not want all of those? I sure would. The problem is they come with a price, and the implementation of each, or all, is untenable.

The ramifications
So, what is the world of the Tea Partiers without taxes? The ramifications are so numerous that there is not enough time or space here to detail them. But a quick synopsis displays a few of the following.

• Lots more criminals roaming the streets. Why? Because even as we speak, prisoners are being let out of jail early because the states are running out of funds to retain them. We are not talking about hundreds who have been let out early; we are now actually seeing tens of thousands who should be serving full terms who have been let go — and now are running free in our Tea Party world.

• Which brings us to courts. Most are underfunded now, and wait times for trials and remediation of complaints take longer than they should. We have been taught in our system of laws that “justice delayed is justice denied.” So it is in this Tea Party new world.

• Regulatory administration. The lack of regulation of banks practically destroyed our economy, and even now consumer protection has been weakened. Even at our current level few believe we want to cut these protections further — no matter, they apparently are not needed here in Tea Party land.

• Speaking of protection, if the Tea Partiers urge us to have “less government” they might want to consider the effect on that desire on police, firemen — and of course the military. ALL are government run. The Department of Defense consumes about one-third of our total spending. Which of these do the Tea Partiers wish to eliminate or erode?

• Well, then, there is education. Is it overfunded? Many Tea Partiers think so, although our educational system internationally is dropping further behind. Perhaps just larger classroom sizes and slowing down modernization of our facilities will do the trick. Yes, that is part of the wonderful world of the Tea Party.

• Hate holding on the phone? Well, with lots less government I hope you enjoy your trip to the license bureau, or any other needed and accepted government functions you may want to contact. Have to call 911? “Hello, hello, is anyone there”? If all this upsets you, take care of it when you vote (did I mention that voting is a government function?). Hope you don’t have to wait in line too long.

• There is no room in our wonderful world of the Tea Party for immigrants. Don’t need ’em, don’t want ’em, don’t like ’em. Indeed, in several recent exchanges, the teabaggers have called Mexicans … well, I can’t repeat it. And do the Tea Partiers remember that with far less government funding, the border patrol would be greatly reduced? Now that’s a conundrum for the Tea Party: cut government funding, but keep out the illegals.

• Then there are those government programs that take a substantial part of our budget, but are immensely popular (or possibly mandated). Not to worry, in the wonderful world of the Tea Party, you can kiss goodbye to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security (now privatized), and others. But what about Tricare — the fully funded government medical program that our retired military personnel? And the Department of Veterans Affairs? Sorry guys (and gals), that goes, too.

• Homeland security. Not in the wonderful world of no taxes. Sorry, no revenue left.

Does it reduce spending and government’s size?
Well, that was fun, but we must not forget that the Tea Party program does appear to reduce spending and government size, as described above. But maybe not (remember, in Alice’s story, nothing is as it seems).

Why? Because for many essential services like police, fire, homeland security, prison guards, and many others, overtime pay has eaten up many of the supposed savings from cuts in personnel. That’s right, in state after state, the government has cut jobs (yes government employment is already down, not up), but to provide services needed, the relevant agencies have had to pay overtime in significant amounts. Such is life in the wonderful World of the Tea Party. Less people, less service, same money.

But then in the wonderful world of the Tea Party, we do reduce debt, right? Well, not exactly; consider President George Bush. He reduced taxes big time, but our debt went UP. Problem was, he forgot to reduce expenditures. He said, as the Tea Partiers do, that reducing taxes would actually grow the economy. Wrong! The Tea Party folks claim they will not make that same mistake, yet the Bush years are a real cautionary tale — until the Tea Party folks actually do first reduce spending (per all the items above), they’d better take care on their promise to drop taxation. We’ve been there, done that in the real world, and it didn’t work.

So, let’s return to our initial connection with “Alice in Wonderland.” Perhaps the most relevant quote to describe this wonderful new world of the Tea Party was from Alice herself: “It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change”! Amen.

Myles Spicer of Minnetonka has spent his business career as a professional writer and owned several successful ad agencies over the past 45 years.