How The Tea Party Was Hijacked by the Koch Brothers


The Tea Party had an opportunity to be a voice for the masses. Unfortunately, they were usurped by the robber barons of the 21st Century -- the Koch brothers -- and have been repurposed to fight in favor of corporate fascism and against democracy. All that is needed to prove out this statement is a look at the movement's platform as listed on the web:

1. Healthcare: No one will argue that our healthcare system is in shambles. America has the highest healthcare expenditure, and gets the 37th best care as a result. We’re also the only industrialized nation that doesn’t guarantee health care for its citizens. When we try to fix something, it makes sense to look around and see what’s working elsewhere, analyze why it’s working, and build on that success. The Tea Party doesn’t seem to support that concept. Instead, their platform doubles down on the same system that got us where we are now. They decry the concept of “socialized medicine,” and instead ask that insurance companies be further unbridled and encouraged to cross state lines to “allow competition” to drive prices down. Unfortunately, that isn’t what will happen.

First, socialized medicine is nothing more than a large group of people sharing the medical costs for the entire group. This keeps anyone from being financially destroyed by medical costs, because your neighbors will help you with it. Oddly enough, that’s exactly how insurance works. All of the subscribers pay in to the insurance company, which then pays the medical bills as they occur. No one gets financially destroyed by medical costs because the rest of the subscribers help with them. But there’s a difference. Insurance is created to make a profit. As a result, it’s in the insurance company’s best interest to run medical prices up. This makes sure that it’s difficult to get care without insurance and that they can charge higher premiums for their policies. This mechanism has been driving up medical prices for decades. If you truly want a free market in medicine, there can be no insurance. Insurance companies, and no one else will benefit from the Tea Party platform. Corporations win. People lose.

2.  Right to Life: This attack on women’s health is strictly an attempt to foist religious beliefs on people who don’t necessarily share those beliefs. The separation of church and state is clearly defined by constitutional authority. The Tea Party claims to be in favor of making government conform to the constitution – as long as it doesn’t upset their delicate sensibilities or contradict their mistaken interpretation of the document. There is an organization in the federal government whose sole purpose is the interpretation of the Constitution. Its called the Supreme Court, and they’ve already made that decision.

Personally, I see organized religion as nothing more than an easy way to make a living for people who think they know better than the rest of us. They also seem to be power centers controlling how people think and act, and even though they have been given “not for profit” status, they seem to have sufficient funds to buy land and build buildings at their pleasure. In my opinion, just like corporations, they’re all about the Benjamin’s, and the Tea Party supports them over people who would like to make their own decisions. This is not freedom.

3. The First Amendment: Similar to No. 2, this is another step toward theocracy in the U.S. All that’s needed is a rewrite of the First Amendment, or an interpretation that agrees with their desire to live in an apparently Baptist theocracy. The list goes on. I invite everyone to read it.

A concept that I’ve seen mentioned here on PolicyMic by the right again and again is the “Law of Unintended Consequences.” As I read through the platform statements of the Tea Party I was able to see many unintended consequences, some of which I’ve put forth here. There are more, but the limitations of PolicyMic articles would require multiple articles to keep saying the same things. Read through the platforms with the consequences in mind and if you actually have an open mind you’ll wind up as terrified as I am of these ideas.

But the real evil in the Tea Party is their actions after the 2012 Election. America is in trouble, but instead of trying to find solutions that would be palatable to all parties, they have chosen to make sure that nothing is done. This has driven the Democrats to a partisanship that is just as rabid.

To use an illustration, this would be the equivalent of having a fire in our backyard. The Democrats, seeing the fire tried to call the fire department, but the Tea Party said it would be too expensive and ripped out the phone cord. So the Democrats tried to turn on the garden hose, but the Tea Party shut off all the water to the house and said, “It’ll burn itself out if you just leave it alone.”

They’re right; the fire in the backyard will eventually burn itself out. All fires do in time. The question is whether we or anyone else in the neighborhood will have a house after it does.