Hat Tip to the Washington Posts’ WonkBlog for news that TeaParty has decided to launch their own version of Occupy by targeting Congress’ Supercommittee and advocate spending cuts that make Draconian sound almost generous. A branch of the TeaParty was removed from the Senate’s Russell building because Senate officials the TeaParty presentation on deficit reduction was a violation the chamber’s rules for outside group events by calling itself a “hearing.”
After getting kicked out, the Tea Partiers left the Capitol to meet up at a conservative constitutional study center located near the right wing Heritage Foundation offices. Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of Freedomworks, told the older crowd not liking to live in tents near the Capitol that the group was there to Occupy the US Senate.
The Supercommittee is currently mulling plans for up to $4 trillion in spending cuts. The Tea Partiers want to go much further — advocating $9.7 trillion from the budget through 2021 and reducing government spending to 17.5 percent of GDP.
From the post: “The proposed deficit reduction measures ran the gamut of tea party targets: eliminating the Department of Education, Energy, Commerce, and Housing; allowing opt-outs for Medicare and privatizing Social Security; letting people use gold-backed currency; and eliminating all federal student loans and farm subsidies.
The plan doesn’t have a chance of passing Congress any time soon, but it’s the tea party’s attempt to retake the helm of the party’s right flank and blow up the parameters of the debate, as they had not, even a year earlier. “I think $9 trillion is a good start,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), comparing the Freedomworks’s budget favorably to his own proposal to cut $9 trillion by freezing federal spending for 10 years. “It fits very closely with what I’ve been promoting,” he told the crowd.
But it’s unclear whether all of Freedomworks’s proposed cuts would add up to $9.7 trillion in the first place. The group says, for instance, that eliminating the Affordable Care Act, for instance, would save $212 billion in spending over the next 10 years (the Congressional Budget estimates that it would actually increase the deficit by about $145 billion by 2019). And, as Dave Weigel notes, Freedomworks admits that a handful of its proposals — eliminating the president’s policy “czars,” “green technology” initiatives, and curbing medical malpractice lawsuits — would reduce the deficit by a total of zero dollars.”
The fact that this stunt got so little attention demonstrates the declining influence of the Tea Party compared with the OccupyWallStreet movement.