The Tea Party movement is a reaction to a government that has grown too big, too irresponsible, and spends too much money. These citizen protesters know Milton Friedman was right when he argued that the real rate of taxation is the level of government spending. Unfortunately, an arrogant political class in Washington remains tone-deaf to these concerns, a view representing a common sense fiscal conservatism that now sits at the very center of American politics. So before we can hope for serious consideration of positive solutions based on freedom, we need to take America back.
Our public policy process has elected officials on the inside who create the legislation, and citizens on the outside who pressure lawmakers. Currently, the levers of power in Washington are manned by people who put government solutions first.
As the great moral philosopher Waylon Jennings once said, "There ain't no right way to do the wrong thing." Tea Party activists have risen in opposition to bad public policies that grow the power of government, including more deficit spending, a government takeover of health care and "cap and trade" energy taxes. As they succeed, they will save all Americans from the higher costs that naturally flow from more big government.
Grassroots activists are building a political platform for advocates of personal and economic liberty. This is happening in primary challenges against establishment candidates. Just look at the Senate race in Florida, where Marco Rubio has surged ahead of Gov.Charlie Crist, a tax and spend politician unacceptable to grassroots America.
In November, I predict a new generation of citizen legislators more in tune with positive solutions based on consumer choice and limited government. The Tea Party movement will have been a deciding factor in this new majority, and will be a standing army of citizens eager to hold new legislators accountable. That's the kind of change we can believe in.
With $1.6 trillion deficits, we cannot afford the unending expansion of government now championed by President Obama and his cohorts in Congress. Tea Party activists will not settle for simply making a bad bill less worse. They want fundamental change that replaces bad legislation with real reform that promotes lower taxes, less government and more freedom.
Former House majority leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, is chairman of Freedom Works and a leader in the Tea Party movement.