“The government is promoting bad behavior.”

Tea Party Feb 27, 2009 Stimulus Package
Photo by Victoria Taft

Five years ago CNBC reporter Rick Santelli gave voice to the frustration felt by millions of Americans when President Obama announced plans to help stimulate the economy by, in part, redistributing billions of dollars to people who signed for a mortgage on a house they couldn’t afford. Santelli called them “the losers.” 

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tea party feb 27 geoff and jeff
Photo by Victoria Taft

Santelli wasn’t done. Gesturing back at the traders, Santelli declared, “This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills? Raise their hand.” Boos came from the floor. Santelli looked at the camera and plaintively asked, “President Obama, are you listening?” One trader chimed in, “How about we all stop paying our mortgage, it’s a moral hazard!”

Two weeks later Geoff Ludt and dozens more like him across the nation held the first Tea Parties. 

tea party feb 27 2009 b w
Photo by Victoria Taft

At first critics ignored, then dismissed, then laughed at, then disdained the Tea Party. When they couldn’t kill it they went nuclear and called it a ‘racist’ organization. What else could it be, right? It couldn’t possibly been about redistributionist, wasteful, and currency inflating programs which would bankrupt our nation and send the bills to our kids–and their kids. Nope, as if by magic, whites, blacks, Hispanics, gays, atheists and Christians had become “racists.”