Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A good old irresponsible party


The right wing needs to take a look at a dictionary before throwing around buzzwords. Last week’s debate over the government was a clear indication that the GOP has no idea what “fiscal responsibility” actually means, and made it even more clear that the Tea Party has no idea what patriotism means.

Tea Party “Patriots” claim that they are the voice of the American people, but as the shutdown loomed, those who align themselves with the unofficial party, as well as some Congressional Republicans, were crying, “Shut it down!”

According to a recent CNN poll, 62 percent of Tea Party supporters said they supported a government shutdown. To be fair, this poll was taken in mid-March, a time when hopes were high for a compromise and a shutdown was considered a lesser evil.

But the frenzy that the Tea Party’s anger has whipped it into fails to bring attention to the fact that a lot of Americans – the very people who they rest their party identity on protecting – would be negatively affected by a shutdown. And this shutdown wouldn’t just have been a symbol of government inefficiency; it would have been an actual problem that would hurt the nation and its citizens. Those hundreds of thousands of Americans who work in the public sector would be denied payment for as long as the shutdown took. Of course, members of Congress would still receive pay, but what would have happened to those people who actually needed to be paid?

Those who were screaming for a shutdown cannot tell me that they are looking out for their fellow Americans. What the GOP was trying to pull isn’t patriotic; it was a selfish and reckless endangerment of the well-being of the nation.

In a recent ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner said that there was “no daylight between he and the Tea Party,” and that “what they want is they want us to cut spending. They want us to deal with this crushing debt that’s going to crush the future for our kids and grandkids. There’s no daylight there.”

Obviously there was some daylight since the shutdown was avoided due to a compromise that Boehner found adequate. Likewise, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann stood behind the compromise. Bachmann – recently chosen as a key spokesperson for the Tea Party – caught some flack for this move.

I understand that it is in the interest of GOP politics to defend the Tea Party – after all, a considerable portion of the Republican base aligns themselves with the movement. However, I feel it is in the interest of the country for members of Congress to stop legitimizing ideas that government shutdowns are positive.

As if the shutdown wasn’t controversial enough, Boehner took this opportunity to give lip service, once again, to the idea that continued support for Planned Parenthood would increase the incidence of abortion.

The fact is, no government money funds abortion and keeping the threat of a shutdown alive over this issue was completely irresponsible.

No, they couldn’t put this endless debate off another year; they had to fight over an absolutely useless provision just to make a point that they don’t like abortions – as if we didn’t know that already about the Republican party.

And for the cherry on top, Representative Paul Ryan proposed that the government cut funding for Medicare and Medicaid, two programs that provide health insurance to senior citizens and low income families, a move that 61 percent of Americans oppose.

These people all stand behind the idea that spending less will ultimately benefit us. However, will any of them actually feel the loss of what they want to take off the table? Probably not, otherwise mandating such “sacrifices” wouldn’t be so easy, never mind that the Republican plan would have cut $4 trillion in taxes for corporate and high-income brackets. It’s as if the Republicans are saying, “Let’s stop carelessly spending money – except of course, when we’re spending it on the people who need it the least.”

I would urge those who support this reverse-Robin Hood policy to look up the word patriotism and tell me how that fits the definition of loyalty to the nation, because I don’t think it’s even close.

Lauren Vincent is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected].

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  • P

    pattiApr 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    i am over 50 and i have worked since i was 14
    and don’t pay any more taxes than anyone else.
    where do you get your ideas or % BillO

  • E

    EileenApr 13, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Lauren, thank GOD that you recognize what is going on–and that you have the guts to write about it. Many either don’t realize it, or won’t recognize it.

  • P

    peteApr 12, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Tax the Rich

  • E

    EdApr 12, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Lauren, when you celebrate your 40th birthday by paying something like 75% of your income in taxes — with it going to something like 90% by your 50th birthday, then maybe you will understand….