Vice President Joe Biden continues to make the case for not entrusting a pathological liar and gaffe-prone person with high office in this country. Politico is reporting that Democratic sources quoted Biden as saying during a meeting with congressional Democrats that tea party activists "have acted like terrorists" in response to a complaint by U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) that Congress had been compelled to "negotiate with terrorists" in the national debate over raising the national debt limit another $2.4 trillion. Biden also told Senate Democrats that Republican leaders "have guns to their heads" in trying to negotiate deals in Congress.
Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson suggested on a talking heads show over the weekend that tea party folks "want to burn the place down . . . they've strapped explosives to the Capitol . . . they want this crisis . . . they like the drama." Charles Krauthammer quickly scolded her for referring to our political opponents as terrorists. Carlson corrected him and claimed she was only calling them "nihilists," which is someone who rejects all theories of morality or religious belief." Thanks for the clarification, Margaret. "Strapping a bomb is a terrorist," Krauthammer told Carlson.
Locally, a government and constitutional law professor at IUPUI, Sheila Kennedy, decided to join Biden and Carlson in taking the debate to the gutter. Kennedy refers to tea party activists on her blog site as "troglodytes," a fancy name elitists use to describe people they believe are intellectually inferior to them, and white supremacists. "I have a lot of trouble understanding the emergence of the Tea Party," she writes. "Not their existence; we’ve always had strains of malcontents–anti-social or anti-intellectual or white supremacist or other odd movements–but their ability to make resentment of taxes a rallying cry and a focus for so many people’s anger. And not anger at a particular tax or tax policy, but at the very idea of taxes. They have somehow convinced otherwise reasonable citizens that taxes levied for the general welfare are somehow illegitimate." According to Kennedy, tea party activists are troglodytes because they "think [public] services are supported by magic."
It is striking that such a person who professes to be a constitutional law expert exhibits so little appreciation of the circumstances that led to the adoption of our current U.S. Constitution and its relationship to our current state of affairs. Have you ever heard of Shay's Rebellion, Professor Kennedy? After sacrificing so much to win the American Revolution against the tyrannical rule of the British government, many patriotic rebels were subjected to unfair debt collection practices by state courts to pay debts incurred while they were conscripted into military service without pay-- due in no small part to crippling taxes imposed by the states. Thousands of brave soldiers lost their farms and homes and were jailed for their debts, particularly when the paper money issued by the states without financial backing became virtually worthless. Even two of the original signatories to the Declaration of Independence were jailed for their debts.
The states couldn't tax enough to pay off their insurmountable debts owed to foreign creditors that were incurred during the war against Great Britain. As the value of the states' currency eroded from inflation, many foreign creditors insisted on payment in the form of gold or silver, neither of which the states had much of, as opposed to legal tender. Foreign debtors had to rely on unsympathetic state courts to get relief for repayment of their debts. The states were only able to retire the massive war debt after the federal government assumed the debt after the states scrapped the Articles of Confederation and adopted the U.S. Constitution. The federal government was not able to levy taxes to retire the debt; rather, the country expanded westward and paid off the debt by selling off the vast new lands it acquired in pursuit of our Manifest Destiny.
Today, we find ourselves drowning in national debt we cannot possibly repay as a nation. Our federal government is now borrowing 40 cents for every dollar it expends. What will the federal government have to sell off to repay the trillions of dollars it now owes its creditors? Or how much will the government have to confiscate from the people to deal with the debt problem? Tea party activists don't oppose the payment of taxes to fund the constitutional obligations and duties of government; they oppose an expansion of government through the printing of money with no financial backing, thereby squeezing out the private sector by devaluing our currency and requiring the majority of the money we earn to be paid to support government. At the point we've reached today, you can confiscate 100% of the money Americans earn and you would not have enough to balance the budget. Are tea party activists crazy as Professor Kennedy suggests for opposing such reckless fiscal policies? Is the expectation of sanity in our fiscal policies now the equivalent of being a terrorist?
Apparently, Professor Kennedy, our President, Vice President, congressional leaders, and the majority of the members of Congress believe our nation's perilous debt problems will magically go away simply by authorizing the borrowing of more money by raising the national debt ceiling for the umpteenth time and printing more dollars. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Please tell me what I'm not getting here, Professor Kennedy? Please share your infinite wisdom with the ignorant masses.
UPDATE: Here's how Indiana's congressional delegation voted on the debt ceiling increase legislation tonight:
Yes: Buschon (R), Donnelly (D), Pence (R) and Young (R)
No: Burton (R), Carson (D), Rokita (R), Stutzman (R) and Visclosky (D)
Don't mistake a "no" vote for fiscal sanity. U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, who has no concept of how wealth is created, thinks his constituents will be harmed if federal spending is allowed to increase only 8% this year and another 8% next year after authorizing another $2.4 trillion in borrowing. Carson doesn't think we're borrowing, spending or taxing the American people enough.