GOP vs. Tea Party

The Issues Dividing Both Sides

In November of 2010, the Tea Party made it perfectly clear to the establishment GOP that it was a force to be reckoned with.

Here's a look at what are the differences between the Tea Party and the GOP establishment on several key issues.

National Debt: The country's explosive $13 trillion debt helped spark the Tea Party movement in 2009. The movement was a direct response to the government bailouts, the massive $800 billion stimulus package and President Obama's health care overhaul.

Tea Partiers want to balance the budget, end runaway government spending, including pet projects for lawmakers known as "pork," and stop the tax hikes.

While Republicans aren't opposed to those demands, they have come under fire for running up the deficit when they were in power, including the $700 billion Medicare prescription drug benefit that wasn't paid for and initiating the bailout of Wall Street and the auto industry after the 2008 economic collapse.

Tax cuts: This seems to be an issue where Tea Partiers and mainstream Republicans can both agree. Both sides have called on extending the Bush tax cuts and saving their expiration. They believe that tax increases, even for the wealthiest Americans would amount to a tax hike that could imperil a fragile recovery.

Size of Federal Government: The Tea Party believes in decreasing the size of  government and limiting its power to mandate how individual states should operate. It feels that over regulation is inhibiting economic growth and recognizes that money is being wasted on ineffective agencies, federal entitlement programs and a failing education system. Members of the Tea Party have proposed alternative solutions that that have come under attack by the GOP, such as, privatizing education, abolishing the Education department, eliminating and/or reducing the size of other Federal agencies and giving more say so to states on how Federal money is spent.

Although Republicans also believe in limited government, they have attacked Tea Party candidates calling for the reduction and abolition of federal agencies and believe that such proposals are "out of the mainstream."

Social Security: Tea Partiers have called for privatizing Social Security, a non-starter for most Republicans when it was proposed by President Bush in 2005.

Immigration: Tea Partiers support Arizona's right to enforce immigration law.

Some Republicans have also expressed support for the right of states to enforce immigration, but many Tea Partiers are still mad at the party for trying to pass comprehensive immigration two times under President Bush which would have provided illegals a pathway to citizenship.

Health Care: Tea Partiers want to defund, repeal and replace Obamacare. Although Republicans have echoed similar sentiments, Tea Partiers are concerned that Republicans won't follow through on their promise if they regain power.

Energy: Tea Partiers call for the rejection of cap and trade, a policy that would cap the carbon emissions that energy companies release into the atmosphere and force companies to trade permits to emit.

In general, Republicans have also opposed the policy, deriding it as cap and tax. But some Republicans, termed RINO's by the Tea Party, (Republican In Name Only) have paid a political price for supporting it. 

Issues Guide

Illinois Policy Institute’s  Legislators’ Guide to the Issues. (2nd edition)

Expanded and updated, you’ll find this book on lawmakers’ desks and in the hands of grassroots activists. The Guide provides concise summaries of the top public policy issues facing our state, as well as specific recommendations for improving public policy in Illinois. Entries provide illuminating information in the areas of education, taxes, budget and spending, government reform, healthcare, transportation and energy, and the workplace.

At the Institute, we believe that policy changes lives. We know that good policy can change lives for the better. Illinois needs real change. Our state was once an economic powerhouse, known throughout the nation as a beacon of opportunity and prosperity. Today, Illinois is showing an alarming pattern of continually slipping behind other states in major national rankings of economic health. Putting our state back on the path to prosperity requires a new set of guiding principles, and policies, to govern our state. The Guide offers a roadmap forward.

Download the 2011-2012 Illinois Legislators' Guide to the Issues here.

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Transparency Resources

2011-2012 Illinois Policy Institute Legislators Guide to the Issues

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