The following column originally appeared in the April 13, 2009, edition of Grand Junction’s Free Press.
See you at the Grand Junction Tea Party
by Linn and Ari Armstrong
Finally there’s a reason to feel good about April 15 again. Yes, it’s tax day — and the federal government is spending more of our money than ever before. But this year the date also marks the Tax Day Tea Party, to be held in cities around Colorado and the nation. Grand Junction’s tea party is scheduled for noon at 12th and North.
Part of the inspiration for the tea parties is a CNBC segment with Rick Santelli, available on YouTube, in which he called for a Chicago Tea Party. He said, “The government is promoting bad behavior… How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage, that has an extra bathroom, and can’t pay their bills? …
“You can’t buy your way into prosperity. And if the multiplier that all these Washington economists are selling us is over one, then we never have to worry about the economy again. The government should spend a trillion dollars an hour because we’ll get 1.5 trillion back…
“If you read our founding fathers, people like Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson, what we’re doing in this country now is making them roll over in their graves.”
A transcript can’t capture the passion of the moment, but it gives you some idea.
Though we’re sure to disagree with some of the speakers and literature at some of the tea parties, we’re thrilled that some Americans, at least, are taking a stand against bloated federal government and for liberty.
One of the speakers in Grand Junction will be Ryan Frazier, an Aurora city council member whose name keeps popping up in discussions of possible U.S. Senate candidates. We contacted Frazier to learn what he thinks about the tea parties.
Frazier said, “The Tea Parties throughout Colorado and this country represent a ground swell of citizens, in their local communities, who are motivated to restore fiscal responsibility in government. This is significant because it’s grassroots at its core and it’s uniting people of different backgrounds to a common purpose — Liberty.”
We asked him for a preview of what he’ll discuss. He answered, “Liberty. Prosperity. Opportunity. That a free, educated, strong people are the engine of a prosperous society. I will stress that the primary role of government is to protect our freedoms, not to manage our lives. Lastly, that we as individuals must stand together to advance liberty and fiscal responsibility in this country and now is the time.”
Frazier said he’s worried that the federal government is “running deficits year after year, resulting in a national debt that now exceeds $11 trillion and a proposed budget of over $4 trillion in 2009. This level of spending and irresponsible fiscal policy is unsustainable and ultimately will drag our potential for economic growth down over the long-term.”
As we’ve pointed out previously, federal policy also threatens to unleash a wave of inflation. Frazier also sees this danger: “Our currency could be debased and our living standards reduced — imagine our dollar worth less and buying even less — this impacts everyone.”
Frazier argued that “for economic growth, jobs and business that we need to flourish, we must achieve a limited, responsible government that does not hinder the ability of individual and economic freedom to drive forward our economy.”
What? “Individual and economic freedom?” Politicians can’t say things like that anymore — doesn’t Frazier know that?
We’re in the era not just of Big Government, but of Gargantuan Government, in which the president and his administration can pick CEOs, reorganize corporations, override private contracts, funnel your money to whatever corporate welfare they want, and reward the irresponsible with the earnings of the responsible.
We have come a long way from the government founded on the individual’s rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
On November 29, 1773, Sam Adams led a meeting at Faneuil Hall, the “Cradle of Liberty,” to protest tea taxes that asserted British control over the colonies. On December 16, the Sons of Liberty unloaded a boatload of tea into the Boston harbor.
There is a difference between then and now: then the British government asserted unjust power over the colonies. Today, America is imposing tyranny on itself, slowly eroding the pillars of our nation with the acid of special-interest politics and the forced redistribution of wealth from the producers to the politically connected.
Without a foundation of liberty and individual rights, the new tea parties will lead nowhere. What we need is a restoration of the ideal of the individual’s right to lead his own life, make his own choices consistent with the rights of others, and direct the fruits of his labor as he sees fit, rather than as politicians demand.
We can be the Grandsons and Granddaughters of Liberty.