Washington DC: The birth of Tea party few years ago in USA has brought far right ideas to the centre stage. The spirit of original Tea party movement is said to be their objective. It was more than 250 years back, the European settlers in Boston dumped all consignment of Tea in the ship in to sea protesting against taxation by British. Ultimately, it settled with declaration of Independence.
The present Tea Party group within Republican Party wanted to follow the same spirit even after 250 years. They do not want to tax rich more as it hampers the growth of business. They do not want Government role in the Society except in defence and foreign policy. They do not support Government programs for poor and low income group. They feel that it encourages non- work culture, beauracratic system, misuse of tax payer’s money etc. They want Government expenditure bare minimum so that lesser taxes can be levied. Economy should be developed by providing equal opportunities to business but not by doles or subsidies by Government. Socially, their ideas are more conservative. Some of them do not believe Darwin’s theory of evaluation even today. They are against abortions. They believe that they are only following original core philosophy of ‘Puritans’ who landed on the soil of North America. Now they wanted to protect this core philosophy at any cost.
Their support is confined to White people only. Though this Tea party group is minority within Republican Party, of late their influence is increasing day by day. Gradually they are influencing entire Republican politics. The present stalemate should be looked from this angle. They are bitterly opposing Obama Care (Affordable Care Act); they are against granting of citizenship to 11.1 million illegal immigrants, mainly Hispanics from Mexico and other Central American States. It includes 2.5 lakhs illegal immigrants from India.
Their main fear is that there will be demographic change in the country if they are legalized. Already white population has come down to 64%. Approximately around 15% are Hispanics; 12% are African Americans; 5% are Asians. Overwhelming majority of non-whites are supporting Democratic Party. That is the reason this core group of Tea party are dead against for legalization of illegal immigrants. In USA, most of the hard jobs are done by this Latino population only. Most of the Agriculture work is done by this group only. One of the important agriculture producing State, California is solely depending on hard labor of these Latinos. Obama promised in the last elections that all of them will be legalized. In fact, even Republican Ex-President George Bush was also sympathetic to their cause. But it is now becoming difficult in the House to pass the bill cleared by Senate.
The Tea Party influence is growing day by day. Several States controlled by Republicans enacted anti-abortion laws. Recent addition is Texas, the hard core Republican State. Barack Obama wanted certain measures to have control on Gun licensing after several gun shooting incidents resulting loss of innocent lives including children in the Schools. But it was vehemently opposed by Gun lobby as well as Tea Party group. State Senators in Colorado State were recalled and got defeated in re-election. Such was the influence they are now commanding. This far-right group’s influence in Communication system is growing. Fox news, the most popular news channel is advocating far-right views. Popular Radio talk shows are there. They are popular in Social media also. The lifting of individual ceiling to donate election fund by Companies/ institutions helped this group to grow further. Now Supreme Court is hearing legal suit to lift ceiling for individuals also. It is coming for hearing on next Tuesday.
At present, Senate is controlled by Democrats and House is controlled by Republicans. As per assessment of political analysts, it will be difficult to Democrats to get majority in House in the near future unless Republicans commit serious mistakes. The reason was redrawing of districts as per latest census in favor of White domination. Like delimitation exercise in India, here also they redraw constituencies of House of Representatives in the States for State legislatures as well as for Federal House. Though percentage of White population has come down as per recent census from 67% to 64%, the white dominated constituencies have grown when compared to past. It ensured Republicans to get elected in more number of constituencies. It gave further hope to the Tea party group to become more articulate and assertive.
Federal Government shutdownThe present shutdown of Federal Government must be looked from this background. Why Tea party opposes Health insurance proposed by Barack Obama?
Obama Care (Affordable Care Act): Let us first look to the genesis of the issue. In USA, 15% of population are uninsured. Everyone who visited USA knows the importance of health insurance. Obama wanted that every person in the country should be covered by health insurance. High income bracket group already fully covered. All big employers cover their employees irrespective of their income. But there are people who gets lower wages, lower income and/ or small businesses who do not offer health insurance coverage to their employees and no income persons. They are uninsured people. Out of these uninsured persons, two thirds are full time employees, 16% are part time employees and only 16% are coming under no income bracket. The Act provides an opportunity to these low income group to pay less premium to get insurance coverage as Government will subsidise some amount to insurance companies. Most of these people will be brought under insurance coverage with this Scheme. It is not dole to provide subsidy every month in cash. It is simply a kind of matching fund so that insurance can be afforded by these marginal people. Then why they are opposing? Number one, they do not subscribe to the concept of Government funding. Second and important that all of them will vote for Democrats in the next elections. In fact it was already became law and tested by Supreme Court. Yet they oppose.
Now 8 lakh Federal employees are thrown out of jobs. Over a million more are working without pay. All National Parks are closed. All Museums maintained by Government are closed. Programs on which poor people depend like Women, children nutrition system was stopped. Tourism will be suffered thereby Hotels, restaurants will do less businesses. The coming days will witness more consequences. The economy which is now on recovery path will face adverse impact if it continues more number of days. Its impact on world economy will be felt by one and all. Unfortunately, the majority in Republican Party could not prevail up on the minority Tea party group. Instead the leaders are following this pressure group supported by their media.
Future of this far-right groupAt present their influence will continue in current politics for some more time. Even there may not be surprise if Republicans nominate their Presidential candidate in next elections from this group. Though demography is changing adversely against their philosophy, their determination is stronger to pursue their line ‘to save the country from alien philosophy’. By 2050, the analysts say white people will come down to less than 50%. More number of younger generation are becoming non-religious, non- traditional. Yet they are not losing their hope to pursue their harsher line. Immediately, they may get some Phillip but in the longer run they will be losers if they do not adopt new approach suiting to the changes taking place around them.
Let us hope for the change
By Ram from Seattle (USA)