Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Defintiions, Symbols and Early Beginnings

The Tea Party formed in 2009 as a populist movement optimistically referencing the great December 16, 1773 Boston Tea Party revolt against British taxes and the monopolistic practices of the East India company. Probably more of an indication the entire movement was politically farmed to sow dissent it was later revealed that although they were created as a tax protest party  all but 2 percent of those that supported the Tea Party did not know they had actually received no increase in taxes or a tax reduction.

Tea Party Bumper Stickers
If a singular early founder of the Tea Party did exist it was  Rick Santelli former hedge fund account VP and CNBC on-air editor and in this case spontaneous anti welfare activist and trade floor ranter.

Ironically the bailouts had little to do with any government backed subprime market. In 2008 Freddie Mac owned $190 billion in sub prime and Fannie Mae owned $340 billion. Together, government involvement in actual sub prime industry was below 500 billion. Indeed more than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions. (it also should be noted that at the height of the banking crisis only around 20 percent of sub-prime loans were in default) The premise of that rant, and that the government funded sub-prime market caused the collapse was totally incorrect. (Ironically Regan era loan policies, a tax break to spur home investment and  particularly incompetent regulation of the banking system during the Bush presidency had far, FAR more influence in the crisis). 

In January , 2009, Graham Makohoniuk (a part-time trader)?! and a member of the market-ticker.org forum; a site seemingly obsessed with welfare recipients and  enacting government cuts (yet probably more "libertarian" than any other group posing as such) posted the idea to "mail a tea bag to congress and to senate," a tactic that had first been attempted by the Libertarian Party in 1973. From there it spread via a message boards and fringe groups before being picked up by more mainstream anti taxation sentiments, viral emails as well as several Republican and right wing television personalties encouraged public protests and the mailing of tea bags to members of congress in April 2009.

Of course as we will seen in the next post little or none of this concern was expressed until after the bailouts (some like AIG multiple times) and the beginning of the new presidency.  

So what are now referred to as the founding moments of the tea party were also actions and expressed opinions based in a vague animosity of incorrect analysis and error.

And indeed as the Boston Tea Party's main issue was what colonists felt was an infringement their right to be taxed by only their elected representatives and as tea bags, of course, didn't exist then even the Tea Party's chosen name and main selected sources of symbolism was based in ignorance, a totally incorrect reading of history, and error on top of error.  


  1. This is excellent! You should read this book also.


  2. I still have a lot to do and add to this. About halfway through with the second. I look for the book. tks.