Will the Tea Party Settle for Compromise?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country we bring you the unmissable quotes from political conversations on WNYC. On today's Brian Lehrer ShowMichael Grimm, newly elected Congressman from NY-13, which includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, talks about the new compromise between the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans on the Bush tax cuts.

Since he hasn't taken office yet, Representative-elect Michael Grimm doesn't have to vote on the Bush tax cut compromise. For that, he might be thankful. As he told Brian Lehrer, it's not an ideal situation for anyone in Washington.

It's probably one of the toughest votes those who have recently taken office will have to take. People are going to have to break their promises. The way I look at it, nobody's winning in this situation. I don't want to raise the deficit, I don't want to take money out of Social Security, I don't think that we should be extending Social Security benefits without paying for it.

But despite all those things he doesn't like, Grimm says he would probably still give the compromise a "reluctant yes." When it comes down to it, he says, keeping taxes low for everyone is so important that it's worth some concessions.

At the end of the day, by raising taxes now, I think that would be such a mistake and so detrimental to the overall economy that we just unfortunately have to deal with what we have.

Among the measures that Obama has said Republicans will have to deal with are several tax credits aimed at middle class families. Casting these provisions as a win for Democrats, the president has tried to make the GOP look like it doesn't take the interests of working Americans to heart. Grimm called that a "bait and switch."

Tax credits, tax cuts, stimulating the economy, helping the middle class, nobody's even argued that point at all. Our problem is, we don't support taking money out of Social Security. We don't support extending unemployment benefits without paying for it, and we don't support increasing the deficit. With the tax credits, he's trying to get people to look at a part of something that isn't the real issue.

Grimm and his fellow Tea Party freshmen do have a real issue with their base, though. As disappointed as liberal Democrats are with this compromise, some members of the Tea Party are fuming. After hearing months of promises from their candidates about not adding to the deficit and controlling government spending, the last thing they want to hear is that same former candidate lending their support to a bill that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Grimm said that unfortunately, Washington won't allow newly-elected Republicans to be as unrelenting in office as they were on the campaign trail.

There's no question that they want to keep their promises, myself included. The reality is that sometimes you have to play the cards that you're dealt. I don't think it's prudent to say, 'I promised I wouldn't do this, so I'm going to stand on that promise at the cost of massively hurting the economy and hurting the people I represent much more than by compromising to some extent.'

» Listen to the entire conversation on The Brian Lehrer Show.


More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [2]

DIRECTLY Hire ALL the Unemployed < Cost RichTaxCut from No Bush Xtn for Rich

There are currently approx 15 million unemployed people in the US.

The Government should DIRECTLY offer to HIRE ALL
of them - paying them $20,000 per year for 2 years to
restore and expand America's infrastructure and do
other jobs that create long term value for the country.

$20,000 per year is enough to place these citizens above
the poverty line. It will save families, it will save people's
homes, it will save people's skills and longer term job
prospects, it will save people's dignity and ultimately
it will save the United States by stimulating our economy
(these wages will be spent, and mostly on essentials,
it may decrease foreclosures shortening the housing
crash, and will improve long term returns through improved
infrastructure), and restoring people's confidence in government's
honesty and compassion.

The Cost : $600 Billion. < the $700 Billion cost
of extending the Bush tax cuts to the rich.


It is similar to FDR's approach during the previous
Great Depression - guess what - it worked then,
and would work now!

But WAIT - There's a problem! There's still
$100 Billion left over - IT'S CHEAPER than
the Bush tax cuts for the rich! What to do ?

With the extra $100 Billion, Endow in PERPETUITY
allow ALL US citizen to take courses taught by the
country's BEST professors, be evaluated on their
knowledge, and to earn a University degree ALL

These 2 programs would save our unemployed and
improve our economy dramatically in the short and
long term. It will make a job and a University education
available to ALL our Nation's citizens.

It is time that the President shows us all whether
his call for HOPE and Courage were empty words


Dec. 08 2010 11:12 PM
Maximus from Brooklyn

The Tea Party caller to Brian's show who complained about the Post Office wasting government money to send him junk mail was clueless.

The Post Office receives no tax dollars -- it's self-supporting. And guess what their number one source of revenue is? Business mail, a.k.a. junk mail. That junk mail keeps our first-class postage from being more expensive.

I'm not saying all Tea Partiers are this ignorant, but enough of them seem to be that I have a hard time taking them seriously.

Dec. 08 2010 01:11 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.


About It's A Free Country ®

Archive of It's A Free Country articles and posts. Visit the It's A Free Country Home Page for lots more.

Supported by

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public.  Learn more at


Supported by