For the last two years we’ve all been treated to analysis of the Tea Party movement: Who these people are, why they are so upset, who they will support in an election, etc. Much of the analysis has been derogatory but more importantly the analysis has been nonsense. Some have said that the Tea Party was tinged with racism, and some wrote it off as nothing more than an uninformed, angry electorate that was anti-incumbent in nature. This is all wrong.

The Tea Party movement is made up of average citizens, and has always been primarily about two things: One, the growth and scope of government, and, two, the out of control spending by the government.

Bill Fleckenstein recently wrote a piece in which he brought up a rather scary notion related to these two matters so dear to the Tea Party. He speculates that we could see a new class warfare, this time between government workers and average citizens. Fleckenstein writes:

In my Aug. 13 column, I talked about the potential for class warfare between average citizens who are struggling and government workers who have the chance to retire on extremely generous pensions. In other words, there is going to be a clash between those struggling in the private sector and those living relatively fat off public money. What I had not realized until recently was just how out of control the numbers had become.

In a newsletter this month, Dennis Gartman shared some data on the subject, which I found very illuminating: In 1949, government spending was 14.3% of gross domestic product. As of 2009, it had risen to 24.7% of GDP (and is obviously higher now). In other words, since 1949, that percentage has grown 73%.

Fleckenstein is on to something here. We face the troubling possibility of a new social/economic clash in which the government employee is becoming part of a new bourgeois…

Note: This article was originally posted last September 22nd under another title. It was edited slightly and re-posted in light of current events in Wisconsin.

7 comments
    1. In reality, YOU apparently don’t know the high levels of pension and health care benefits routinely given out at both the state and federal level. This point isn’t even debatable. Where’s the BS?

  1. As a Tea Party supporter and a union member for 35+ years, who works in the private sector I am sick of these
    public employees crying about having to pay more. I pay 25% of my health benefits, haven’t had a pay increase
    for 3 years. I don’t feel ONE BIT sorry for these employees. What a bunch of spoiled brats. They act like they have a job abd benefits for life!!!!

  2. As a Tea Party supporter and a union member for 35+ years, who works in the private sector I am sick of these
    public employees crying about having to pay more. I pay 25% of my health benefits, haven’t had a pay increase
    for 3 years. I don’t feel ONE BIT sorry for these employees. What a bunch of spoiled brats. They act like they have a job abd benefits for life!!!!

  3. A unionized public employee, a Tea Party Republican, and a Wall Street banker are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it.

    The Wall Street banker reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the Tea Partier and says, “Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie.”

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