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Diane Francis

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The Tea Party Deadbeats

Posted: 08/01/11 03:39 PM ET

One popular Tea Party spokesman is Joe Walsh of Chicago, who is a deadbeat dad according to a lawsuit filed by his ex-wife for $117,343 in unpaid child support payments. Court documents also say his home was foreclosed.

When asked about this, he said: "This is where a lot of Americans come from right now. It's why they sent so many of us to Washington to do something about this because we're living this experience."

Oh really?

I think not. In fact, Mr. Walsh is now in that top income bracket south of the border as a Congressman, complete with a gold-plated, welfare-state medical coverage scheme every bit as good as Canadians enjoy.

The big change in Washington is that there are now three parties and the Republican rump, the Tea Party, has been embraced by 18 per cent of Americans or its AWGs, or Angry White Guys, like Joe Walsh. This group is holding Republicans, and the system, to hostage by insisting on fiscal rectitude which, ironically, threatens to turn America into a deadbeat nation if it defaults soon or next year.

But nations, like fathers, should be obliged, or forced, to support their dependents. They should also be obliged, or forced by law, to pay their debt obligations. And they should not pick favorites in doing so.
Here are America's current dependents:

The unemployed now numbers 14.1 million as of June. The national average was 9.2 per cent but the rate among whites was 8.1 per cent (Canada's is 7.4 per cent); 11.6 per cent for Hispanics and 16.2 per cent for African-Americans.

There are now 42 million senior citizens in the U.S., most of whom depend on their monthly Social Security cheques and all of whom would be wiped out if they did not have Medicare to defray 80 per cent of America's exorbitant medical bills. One of my retired American relatives had heart palpitations, went to an emergency room and had to stay overnight for tests. Her bill was $7,000 and nothing was wrong. But I digress.

Likewise, nations, like fathers, cannot reneg on some debts and not others. And Canadians should worry somewhat. We are among the top 10 investors in U.S. Treasuries as individuals, corporations and banks. There are also billions in mortgages and IOUs held by Canadians. A default would damage us too.

Fortunately, Tea Partiers are a sociological clump that will diminish over time. They are overwhelmingly Republican, white, male, married and over 45 years of age. These AWGs exist in every country. Read the international press.

But here's where the American version is very ugly. More than half say the administration favors the poor, and 25 per cent think that the administration favors blacks over whites -- compared with 11 per cent of the general public.

"I just feel he's [Obama's] getting away from what America is," said TPer Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville. "He's a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he's a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction, I don't care what he says. He's been in office over a year and can't find a church to go to. That doesn't say much for him."

So the nonsense going on in Washington is not so much about spending, but about the Tea Party's strange version of what America is, and what financial responsibility requires.

The good news is that the majority of Americans agree they are dead wrong.

From the Financial Post