A year ago at this time, Shelly and I were blogging about the first big Tea Parties scheduled for tax day, April 15th. Reading back through our posts, remembering the reasons we stood with thousands of others in our local suburbs for an evening, I find myself filled with trepidation. In the Spring of 2009, we thought federal spending was out of control; that the takeover of power by the federal government was huge; and that our elected officials didn't "get it" and were ignoring us.
What a difference a year makes. Here we are in the Spring of 2010 and in spite of millions of Americans waking up and becoming energized, our reality is much worse than we imagined last year.
- The Obama Administration has increased non-defense discretionary spending by 84 percent in less than two years;
- Unemployment is continuing to rise, currently sitting at 9.7%;
- More people than ever are losing their homes through foreclosure;
- Congress and the Administration pushed through a massive new entitlement program against the will of the American people who rose up and let their voices be heard loud and clear;
- The federal government now has a mandate forcing every American to purchase health insurance or be penalized by the IRS;
- California has over $550 Billion in unfunded public pension liabilities;
- Congressional Budget Office finds the current US fiscal policy "unsustainable";
- Federal Reserve Chairman Bernake warns that Americans may have to accept higher taxes or face cuts in entitlement spending;
- 47% of all Americans pay no federal income tax and the top 10% of earners pay 73% of all federal income tax;
- Unemployment payments in some states has been extended to a record 99 weeks;
- Massive tax increases are on the horizon to pay for the record increased spending, including the possibility of adding the Value Added Tax, in addition to the federal income tax, not instead of it;
- Promised immediate benefits in the Healthcare Bill, such as children with preexisting conditions being covered, did not actually make it in the bill;
- The overwhelming majority of "benefits" in the Healthcare Bill do not start for 4 years, but the tax increases have already started.
Here we are approaching another April 15th with our country in worse financial shape than we were last year, or the year before. The 25 year federal debt projections, based on current levels of spending increases, are staggering - the federal debt at 180% of the GDP.
It is difficult to read the above list and relevant articles and not be overwhelmed by the worsening economic condition of our country. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, it is an election year with 1/3 of the US Senate and the entire US Congress at the mercy of the American voters. If you are not registered to vote, find out how to register in your state and do so now. Encourage your friends and family to register. Do not wait until November, as most if not all states have deadlines before the election to register.
Check online to see if there is a Tax Day Tea Party in your area and go. As I blogged last year, it was a wonderful experience for Shelly and I at our respective events. Thousands of patriotic Americans unified in the fight for smaller, more fiscally restrained, responsible government. If you are in the Houston area, there is a massive Tax Day Rally planned for Discovery Green in downtown.
If you need any more encouraging to attend a Tea Party or get involved, The Greater Houston Tea Party has a great Top 10 List of reasons to attend a Tea Party.
For the present, registering to vote, educating yourself on the issues facing our great nation and letting our voices be heard, either individually or with a group such as the Tea Party, are great first steps to taking our country back to a more fiscally responsible time.