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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Tea party values: Social Darwinism and lack of opportunity

Published: September 7, 2012
Section: Opinions

What are Tea Party values and do you share them? That is a question all Americans need to ask themselves before voting for the Republican ticket this November. Why is asking these questions so important? Mitt Romney is ambitious and has wanted to become president since being elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002.

A Romney presidency will mean the implementation of the core Tea Party values of Social Darwinism and denying opportunity for the less fortunate. The heart of Tea Party ideology and the legislation they support is a belief that some people deserve special treatment because they have been financially successful. They also believe that government should stack the deck against underprivileged children to make it more difficult for them to achieve the American Dream. That is why if Mitt Romney were to get elected, he would sign into law Tea Party legislation, slashing Pell Grants and federal student loan programs, as well as eliminating Head Start and other pre-K programs. This would all be done under the pretense of spending cuts.

Tea Party values also include charging students more for their education, or telling them to get a job after high school instead of clamoring for an education they don’t deserve, and to which they are not entitled. Another aspect of the Tea Party ideology that would influence Romney’s presidency would be the increase of taxes on the working poor and students. This increase would stem from their misguided belief that people who only pay payroll taxes aren’t contributing to society. Imagine paying income taxes on top of payroll taxes for your work-study job: That’s the America the Tea Party wants. The Tea Party would then turn around and cut the capital gains tax rate to zero, because of their belief that Mitt Romney and the wealthy 1 percent are more virtuous people than poor college students, and deserve special treatment. That is the America the Tea Party wants, one where a college student with a work-study job would pay a higher percentage of their meager income in taxes than a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars like Mitt Romney.

For our grandparents, Tea Party values would mean the end of Medicare. Instead, seniors would get a voucher worth a certain amount of money to buy medical care, except according to Paul Ryan’s budget, the voucher money would not increase with inflation, which would force seniors to be “personally responsible” if they want access to any medical care at all in their old age. Tea Party ideology also says that Medicaid is an undeserved entitlement for the poor. In their view, Medicaid should either be drastically reduced or scrapped altogether. Tea Party values dictate that poor people deserve to be poor, and that it is entirely their fault that they are poor. Therefore with a Tea Party Congress and a Romney presidency, poor kids would not get the medical care they deserve, through the cutting of the SCHIP program, which provides medical care to poor children. Romney and the Tea Party would scrap the program because they believe it would be better to force poor children to be “personally responsible.” If they get sick, they would deserve their fate. Finally, the Tea Party believes social security is akin to socialism and a massive Ponzi scheme. Before social security was signed into law by FDR, upward of 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. The tea Party believes those seniors who ended up in poverty deserved their fate, even though they were too old and infirm to work.

Although the Tea Party wants to get big government out of citizens’ lives, they do believe that government has a very important role to play when it comes to legislating morality. The Tea Party wants to amend the Constitution to ban a woman’s right to choose and to make marriage inequality permanent across all 50 states. The Tea Party is for state’s rights, except when it disagrees with their own moral beliefs. The hypocrisy of the Tea Party values won’t stop them from implementing their worldview on all Americans. After all, this is exactly what happened after the 2010-midterm elections. The Tea Party ran on fiscal issues and the deficit, but upon getting elected to statehouses nationwide, they immediately started crafting wacky legislation, such as the state mandated vaginal probe requirements if a woman wants to have an abortion in Virginia or Texas.

In the Tea Party’s America, the poor are not considered. The Tea Party is against opportunity for the less fortunate, but all for dictating moral values to every American. That is the America they want. Is that the America you want? It is a question we all have to ask ourselves this November.