But what have we won? Certainly, we will bring the Obama agenda to a halt, but how much can be undone? There are signs that the Tea Party candidates may not have the stomach to deal with Medicare and Social Security, for example:
For starters, polls by the New York Times and Bloomberg have found that although a vast majority of Tea Party supporters favor smaller government, they don’t want cuts in their Medicare or Social Security. . .The whole article has some flaws, but we need to take seriously the need to deal with entitlements in a way that is fair to both current retirees without totally screwing future generations. If we in the Tea Party don't find a way to deal with this issue, then the political class will reach for tax increases to solve these problems.
Literally all of the others are equivocating if not completely backing off from their original plans to give at least partial ownership of Medicare and Social Security to individuals themselves—the only realistic way of limiting the government’s liabilities without completely screwing over future seniors or taxpayers or the economy.
Fortunately, there are some easy things to do first. If the newly elected Republicans don't do the easy stuff now, then we need to hold their feet to the fire and threaten to give them the boot in 2012.
My previous nominations for the easy button:
- End all stimulus spending. Return all unspent funds to the Treasury.
- End all TARP spending. Return all unspent funds to the Treasury.
- Freeze the pay of federal workers, since the CPI stayed flat last year, so too should have federal pay, but it went up. (Full disclosure, I work for the federal government.)
- De-Fund all of the committees, czars and regulatory boards for Obamacare.
- De-fund the Department of Education, for starters, since it doesn't educate anyone.