The Tea is Getting Cold

Dave Killion — May 21, 2012

By assuming that the behaviour of politicians is motivated chiefly by self-interest, Public Choice Theory makes a strong case that striving to regain our freedom by electing ‘the right people’ is a strategy unlikely to succeed. Recently, US voters saw strong evidence in support of this –

“This week the Club for Growth released a study of votes cast in 2011 by the 87 Republicans elected to the House in November 2010. The Club found that “In many cases, the rhetoric of the so-called “Tea Party” freshmen simply didn’t match their records.” Particularly disconcerting is the fact that so many GOP newcomers cast votes against spending cuts.

The study comes on the heels of three telling votes taken last week in the House that should have been slam-dunks for members who possess the slightest regard for limited government and free markets. Alas, only 26 of the 87 members of the “Tea Party class” voted to defund both the Economic Development Administration and the president’s new Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program (see my previous discussion of these votes here) and against reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank (see my colleague Sallie James’s excoriation of that vote here).”

Worse still, of these 87 so-called ‘fiscal conservatives’, a full 30 voted in favour of expansive government and economic intervention. That is, they voted entirely against the platforms on which they were elected. If Tea Party members hope to succeed in achieving their initial goals, they are going to have to punish these frauds with the same vigour they used to put them in office. The lesson for the rest of us? If there is any hope for making a peaceful transition into a freed society, it’s far more likely to come by changing the incentives politicians face than by trying to elect certain people.

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