I attended the Palm Beach County Tea Party event last night at the Boca Greens Clubhouse. There were at least 100 and possibly 150 people (I counted 15 tables with 8-10 people each, plus some sitting in the back).
The featured speaker was Blaise Ingoglia of Government Gone Wild. His GGW Seminars YouTube channel has over 6.6 million video views. He led off with a joke about nativity scenes being banned in Washington DC because they can’t find three wise men or a virgin.
If information is power, Ingoglia is very powerful. He explained in simple terms the staggering debt our country faces. This includes not only the national debt of roughly $16 Trillion, but also unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare totaling some $118 Trillion. When you add all our debt and unfunded liabilities together it works out to over $1 million per family. The cost of interest payments is quickly overwhelming our federal budget.
His biggest video is below:
Our debt is expanding “very, very, very rapidly,” and he described President Obama’s cuts as reducing that to “very, very rapidly.” In the subsequent Q&A he conceded that the budget proposals from Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney only reduce this to “very rapidly.”
Ingoglia warned that we are facing a serious risk of high inflation or even hyperinflation. He expressed concern about the growing share of the population that is dependent on the federal government, with figures like:
- 41% of live births are paid for by the government
- 60% of senior care is paid for by government
- 1/3 of the population is on programs like welfare, Medicaid and food stamps, now renamed SNAP to reduce stigma.
- 144 million people do not pay a dime in federal income tax – “no skin in the game”
–Update: Prompted by a friend who asked about whether all these numbers are accurate, I did a little checking. Most are at least in the ballpark. The “unfunded liabilities” number is tough to verify. See this Heritage Foundation report for some info, but also see support for Ingoglia at Enlightened Economics—
He said that the Obama administration is paying consultants to market government programs in order to get more people on them. This creates a culture of dependency that makes it harder to reduce government.
For the comedy portion of his routine, Ingoglia advocated term limits – “for Democrats”. He said he supports Cap and Trade – capping Obama at one term and trading him for a 5th round draft pick.
Ingoglia described 2012 as the biggest election in the history of our nation, with a well-received point about Obama appointing another one or two Supreme Court Justices.
The Q&A session was a lengthy and odd moment. Despite the efforts of the moderator to focus on questions relevant to the talk, a number of audience members spoke up about topics that had absolutely nothing to do with it. For example one brought up a recent incident involving fake eviction notices at FAU.
Another question/comment complained about the “liberal media” which was a popular sentiment. Ingoglia had a pretty good response: “Don’t read, don’t buy, don’t click” – that you can punish the media you don’t like by not supporting them. When you read their publications you help them increase their revenue from advertising.
The Q&A did show that the Tea Party movement is diverse – people have a wide variety of reasons for hating President Obama.
Alex Berry, one of the co-founders and coordinator of the Boca chapter, started off the event stressing that the Tea Party message is “Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government, Free Markets”. He made an interesting and somewhat lighthearted comparison between the personal history of President Obama and a historical figure who is not currently popular, and also pointed out the political history of the use of the word “Forward” as a political slogan.
Pam Wohlschlegel spoke next. She is also a co-founder and the current county chair. She spoke about the national Tea Party Patriots, and their big effort at the moment to educate people about the upcoming recall election in Wisconsin. She also mentioned a couple of groups that are becoming more active in the area, including Americans for Prosperity which is setting up some phone banking.
Berry spoke again to mention some upcoming events of interest to the audience (and hopefully to our readers):
The Italian-American Heritage Society of Boca Raton will have a Memorial Day Picnic on May 28th from noon to six at St. Jude’s, 21689 Toledo Road.
The American Jewish Committee has an event on May 10th cosponsored by the ADL and B’nai Torah. However, I was not able to find more details on the event.
The Republican Jewish Coalition will have a fundraiser for Adam Hasner on May 23rd. Again we could not find full details but there is a luncheon the same day with Allen West through the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches, so it might be related to that.
A few candidates were present for the event, including Geoff Sommers who is running for State Senate, Joe Talley who is running for Sheriff, and James Ryan O’Hara who is running for State Representative.
Candidates were allowed to introduce themselves but not to make campaign speeches nor deliver campaign literature within the event. The organizers stressed that the group does not support particular candidates or parties.