WASHINGTON | Tea Party-rörelsens politiska strategi i Washington har lyckats långt över förväntan. Men det har inte gjort dem populärare. Snarare tvärt om.
Idag är det deras representanter i det republikanska partiet som sätter agendan i både kongressen och inom det republikanska partiet.
Peter Coy, ekonomisk redaktör i Bloomberg Businessweek, skriver om hur deras framgångar har fått partiets opinionssiffror att störtdyka.
It’s that sense of being on the brink of disaster that feeds Tea Partiers’ determination to fight to the end. For them, the debt-ceiling deal reached by the Senate on Oct. 16 is merely a cease-fire.
But the Tea Party’s belief that things are slipping away is misplaced. Obamacare aside, events have actually gone the movement’s way ever since Republicans wrested control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. Discretionary spending has been falling. Federal-employee head count is down. And since 2010, deficit reduction has been more rapid than in any three-year period since the demobilization following World War II.
Discretionary spending (i.e., spending excluding transfer payments and interest) will fall even more in the decades ahead if the laws that the Tea Party helped get on the books stay there
That victory, however, has come at a high price. The Tea Party pushed for heavy spending cuts when the economy was weak, needlessly depressing output and keeping the unemployment rate high. The International Monetary Fund, which supports long-run deficit reduction, declared in June that the U.S. program was “excessively rapid and ill-designed.”
In political terms, the Tea Party’s scorched earth strategy has produced some impressive legislative wins but damaged the movement’s popularity. Now its blunt tactics threaten to make deficit reduction seem like a fringe issue, one of concern only to extremists.
The federal government really does need to tighten its belt eventually, but not with the scale and immediacy the Tea Party insists on. Tea Partiers are in no mood for nuance. They fear that the Republic is in danger from wily liberals who are skilled in the art of brinkmanship. Democrats are “very good at this. We’re obviously very bad at it,” Michael Needham, chief executive officer of Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, told the Wall Street Journal this month.
In fact, the Tea Party is all too good at brinkmanship. The true believers are winning their battles in Washington. It’s the rest of the country that continues to lose.
Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek den 21-27 oktober 2013.