Although the northshore is a quiet bedroom community with a great quality of life, more and more people are getting upset about what is happening to their country. While life may be good on the local level, on a national level, there is grave concern about the direction of the Obama administration. An increasing number of outraged people are taking a stand to show their opposition to what is happening in Washington D.C.
In late August, the Obama administration announced that the federal deficit for the ten year period ending 2019 will reach $9 trillion, more than the total of all of the yearly deficits since the founding of the nation. By 2019, the national debt will comprise three-quarters of the nation’s economy.
Our national debt is already close to $12 trillion. We should conclude this fiscal year with an annual budget deficit of $1.8 trillion; quadruple the level of the last Bush budget. While Bush pushed through the $700 billion TARP bailout, Obama has accelerated spending to an unprecedented level with his $787 billion stimulus plan and the pork barrel laden omnibus spending bill. The country is still fighting two wars and the Obama administration has plans for an expensive healthcare reform agenda and a radical cap and trade program.
For the healthcare plan alone, the costs will likely exceed $1 trillion with no solid funding source identified. While the President is pushing for an expansion of government, the nation is dealing with unfunded liabilities for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that exceed $59 trillion.
At some point, a financial collapse seems not only possible, but probable. Economic forecaster Bob Chapman believes that the nation is already in a depression and increased debt will only prolong the financial day of reckoning. While there may be some temporary good news with increased auto sales, home sales and a slight uptick in the stock market, the unemployment rate remains high and consumer confidence is low. Our country will experience negative economic growth for this year, and Social Security recipients will not see a cost of living increase. There continues to be legitimate worries about hyper inflation and the crash of the U.S. dollar. To prepare, many wise investors are now buying gold and trying to hedge against the potential collapse of our currency.
In this toxic financial environment with rising concerns about the agenda of the President, anxious citizens on the northshore have started numerous grassroots organizations dedicated to derailing the expansion of big government. Tea party organizations have been formed in Hammond, Slidell, Covington and Mandeville. After the huge $787 billion stimulus plan was adopted, large protest rallies were held on tax day April 15. Almost two thousand people attended events at the Mandeville Lakefront and the Reagan Memorial at the Covington Trailhead. There was another large rally at the Covington Trailhead during the July 4th weekend.
On August 22, the Northshore Tea Party and the Mandeville Tea Party co-sponsored a “Hands Off our Healthcare” rally in Metairie that drew 1,000 people. The next step for many members of the Northshore Tea Party organizations is to travel to Washington D.C. to participate in a massive rally on September 12 and join thousands of people from around the nation.
In the span of just a few months, tea party organizations have formed not only on the northshore, but throughout the state. Thousands of people are attending rallies and participating in town hall meetings on the healthcare issue. With a healthcare debate raging in Washington D.C., many concerned northshore residents are contacting their congressional representatives to express their opposition. It is quite possible that pressure from tea party activists finally forced U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to hold her own town hall meeting on the healthcare issue.
While U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Metairie) and U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) are openly encouraging residents to participate in tea party events, the protests are not sanctioned by the Republican Party. Many of the activists hold contempt for the GOP and the reckless spending of the Bush administration. While President Bush was considered to be a big spender, the speed and size of the Obama initiatives have dwarfed anything that he did in his two terms. Obama’s dramatic agenda is fueling the fears of the protesters and leading to this surge of activism.
Although the vast majority of participants are fiscal conservatives, many of the activists are not members of the Republican Party. The rallies and town hall meetings have attracted an interesting mix of Republicans, Independents, Libertarians and disaffected Democrats. The common thread among the participants is a general distrust of big government and a desire to return this nation to its constitutional roots.
This type of citizen involvement is quite a departure from the voter apathy displayed in recent years. In the past, it would have been difficult for a congressman or senator to attract a crowd at a town hall meeting. Today, these town hall meetings are standing room only events. Like others throughout the country, people on the northshore are concerned about the direction of their country and are no longer content to just sit idly by and watch the financial ruin of this great nation.