Bowles-Simpson And The Tea Party Bluff

Heather Mac Donald challenges the Tea Party to live up to its alleged principles:

It would be refreshing if, instead of exclusively blasting the proposal’s relatively modest tax increases, such as raising the federal gas tax fifteen cents to pay for transportation projects (a legitimate user fee), they supported the proposal’s more audacious cuts, such as reducing the mortgage deduction.   (The commission would eliminate the deduction only for mortgages over $500,000, alas.)  The willingness to take on this middle class subsidy would be stronger proof of iconoclastic independence than pushing for repeal of 17th Amendment, a favorite piece of Tea Party arcana.   Both would be an uphill battle; I’d rather see political capital expended on getting rid of a constitutionally-suspect government hand-out, especially given the contribution of the federal government’s obsession with increasing home ownership to the 2008 fiscal crisis.

She concludes by listing several other cuts they should support, and arguing that

"The Tea Party will justify its claims to significance if it can create the political will to reduce entitlements and to challenge Republican sacred cows."

As I've said before: the Tea Party will soon reveal if they are anti-debt for real or just anti-Obama. It will be far more instructive than any attempt to penetrate what they're about until now. If they are just another supply-side, Christianist, fanatically anti-tax group, we can safely file them back into the loony-populist wing of the GOP. If they could actually align with Obama in bringing about a small government, debt-defusing revolution, that relies on spending cuts far more than tax hikes, we can wish them well.