The delusions of
Their obsessive and mistaken belief that the federal deficit is the greatest threat to the republic is leading them to block any compromise with Democrats that would delay or repeal the looming budget reductions.
They want government to get smaller and smaller, even if the cuts will come too quickly and slash too indiscriminately. The supreme absurdity of their position is that this could so damage the American economy that federal revenue will drop and deficit reduction will become even harder to achieve.
The tea party folks may be sincere, loyal citizens, but their notions about how the economy works are exactly that: mere notions. Their core notion is that government needs to do nothing more than get out of the way of business in order for the economy to boom and bloom.
In an 18th century world or in the fiction of Ayn Rand that might have worked, but the reality is different. The United States became the world's biggest economy in the post-
Government built infrastructure like the interstate highway system, paid for crucial research and development, ran the space program, supported a massive military and played referee in the financial realm so that those who wanted to rig the system could not do it as easily as they had in the 1920s.
When, in his first inaugural address,
Peterson said the deficit problem is long-term and must be dealt with comprehensively through spending reductions, entitlement reforms and revenue increases, a.k.a. taxes.
What should not happen, Peterson insisted, is a governmental retreat from investing in America's economic future through funding of things such as education, infrastructure and basic scientific research. Of course, to the tea party Republicans, such talk is heresy.
There is one other fallacy that anti-government conservatives cling to, and they talk about it so much that they have convinced most of the people in the country it is true. That fallacious premise is that President