I also haven’t weighed in on the tea party phenomenon, the anti-tax protests being held all over the country, largely because I haven’t found the subject particularly interesting. It’s easy to be against taxes. I’d like to know what the protestors’ alternative is. As my colleague at OTB, Alex Knapp, pointed out a few days ago, 80% of federal spending is on Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, defense, veteran’s benefits, and interest on the debt. Making material cuts in that remaining 20% would severely impair functions of government that practically everybody believes are necessary including inspecting food, approving pharmaceuticals, and running the federal courts.
However many protestors there are these protests have little or no significance unless they can transmogrify into a political movement that can deliver votes, particularly in toss-up districts. If they can elect a candidate, particularly before the midterm elections, there’s a possibility they’ll exert some real influence in the midterms. If no, they’re irrelevant.