With the recent decline
in the polls of the candidacies of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann,
Tea Party members have two top tier candidates to consider as an
alternative to the liberal Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney:
Herman Cain and Ron Paul.
But how do
these two Tea Party favorites stack up on economic issues? Here's
a quick survey on their differences:
One of the
biggest issues leading to the formation of the Tea Party movement
was after the burgeoning deficit reaction against
the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) law. Many
Americans joined the Tea Party to stop what was obviously political
favoritism being sold by fear-mongering government leaders, and
it resulted in a number of pro-TARP Republican veterans losing their
primaries and anti-TARP Republicans winning the day on the November
2010 general election.
housing bubble, profits were privatized. But once "too big to fail"
Wall Street banks saw major losses on risky bets made in the real
estate market, they came crying to Washington and demanded taxpayers
pick up the shortfall. Establishment politicians in Washington obliged,
selling the bailout package with a heaping helping of fear. Mitt
Romney said "all the jobs" in America would be gone if the trust
funds of the super-rich were not bailed out using the tips of cab
drivers and waitresses.
Cain: Cain called TARP a "win-win for the taxpayer" in
20, 2008 column. "Unprecedented problems require unprecedented
solutions. The actions by the Treasury are a win-win for the taxpayer."
After Congress passed the TARP bailout, Cain complained about how
the money was doled out, but not about the principle of crony-capitalism
where profits are privatized and losses are socialized. Cain said
in the October 11 Bloomberg/Washington Post debate
that "They were discretionary in which institutions they were going
to save, rather than apply it equitably, which is what most of us
thought was going to be done. The implementation of it is where
they got off-track." Cain has never made it clear who he believes
should have gotten a bailout that didn't, or even if he believed
that every failing institution should have been bailed out by taxpayers,
but it's clear from that statement that he believed that the taxpayer
bailouts didn't go far enough.
Paul: Congressman Paul publicly
opposed the TARP bailout and voted
against the bill as congressman, charging
that the bailout was the antithesis of the free market and instead
"what we've had is cronyism, it's interventionism and inflationism,
and corporatism. That's what is wrong. What we need is more freedom,
not more government."
audit/$16 trillion secret bailout
If the TARP
bailout using taxpayer dollars was bad, the Federal Reserve bailout
was much worse. The Federal Reserve secretly lent at
least $16 trillion in funds funneled through various Federal
Reserve emergency facilities more than the entire size
of the U.S. economy, and 22 times the size of the TARP bailout
to favored banks and corporations from 2008 through 2010. And the
Federal Reserve Bank steadfastly refused to release the bailout
information even to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
until Bloomberg won a Freedom of Information lawsuit in December
won partial access to the bailout information, the GAO
was able to come up with the $16 trillion figure as the bailout
total. What came out of the GAO partial audit was that the Federal
Reserve highly favored elite Wall Street banks with the following
funds: $2.5 trillion for Citigroup, $2.0 trillion for Morgan Stanley,
$1.9 trillion for Merrill Lynch and $1.3 trillion for Bank of America.
Herman Cain a former chairman of the Kansas City branch of
the Federal Reserve Bank was an opponent of a GAO audit of
the Fed until 2011, telling
Neil Boortz's radio audience in December 2010 that "There's
no hidden secrets going on in the Federal Reserve to my knowledge.
And I tell people, we've got 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Find out
which district you are in, call them up and go from there. We don't
need to waste money with another commission or an audit." Cain now says
(in the Bloomberg debate) that he never opposed an audit, but
that he doesn't care if one is done. "I have also said, to be precise,
I do not object to the Federal Reserve being audited. I simply said,
if someone wants to initiate that action, go right ahead. It doesn't
bother me. So you I've been misrepresented in
that regard. I don't have a problem with the Federal Reserve being
audited. It's simply not my top priority."
Ron Paul has been a longtime critic of the Federal Reserve, and
has for years sponsored a bill called "The
Federal Reserve Transparency Act" which calls for a full GAO
audit of the Fed. Paul's bill won the support of every House Republican
and a third of the Democrats in the last Congress, and a watered-down
version of it was passed into law in 2010. As the Chairman of the
House Financial Services Subcommittee that oversees the Fed, Paul
has held frequent hearings on the Fed and called for more transparency
in its operations.