"[Urgent] Can you believe this video?" The subject line of my daily email from the Tea Party beckoned me to learn yet another way to funnel my outrage against "America's Fraud President and the Obamites," or at least that is what I assumed until I clicked on the link in the e-mail. What the Tea Party was recommending, instead, was a vivid reminder why completely unregulated capitalism is such a bad idea.
To earn money, the Tea Party was encouraging all it's members to watch a presentation from the Health Science Institute about a cure for cancer, a cloth blanket that blocks pain (pain is supposedly caused by magnetic waves), and other dubious health ideas. For anyone that actually thinks cesium chloride is a miracle cure for cancer that's been hidden from the public, please understand that while cesium chloride did heal an impressive 50% of cancers, it also is a toxin to humans that killed 13 of the 50 trial patients within two weeks.
Without regulations, the Health Science Institute could have not just tried to sell information about dangerous and unproven products, they also could have used the logo of the American Cancer Society, or bribed formerly reputable doctors to make their products appear more legitimate. Thanks to our government-funded legal system and regulations against fraudulent advertising, we can generally trust the safety of products found in grocery and drug stores.
The Tea Party tends to follow the Republican Party in calling for less regulation and government intervention. This is ironic considering that among individual Republicans, "majorities of Republicans favor more strict regulation of food safety (64%), executive compensation (57%), pharmaceutical safety (61%), banks and financial services (56%), air and water pollution (52%), consumer product safety (56%), and advertising claims (56%)" (PR Newswire). The same Harris poll showed that actual Tea Party members supported regulations with similar majorities.
Certainly, regulations can make doing business more expensive, but the upsides include making honest businesses more competitive/successful, and reducing harmful externalities such as sick workers coughing near your food. For example, while Papa John's CEO was complaining about having to spend 14 cents more per pizza because of Obamacare's employee health coverage requirements, small businesses like Ian's Pizza, which already responsibly take care of their worker's health care, were celebrating that they could now better compete with corporate chains.
I originally joined the Tea Party because I liked some of their populist rhetoric of eliminating subsidies to special interest groups, and keeping taxes on working people low. As a moderate independent, I quickly discovered that I couldn't stomach all the far-right social agenda, and blatantly false allegations about Obama that were linking on to the momentum of the various Tea Party groups. As a major organizer within the Tea Party stoops to peddling questionable products, I'll join in with Rand Paul to argue they could certainly still do better. Stick to a message of liberty, and low taxes, and some moderates will join. Eliminate all social issues from the Tea Party platform, and add on support for consumer protection from banks and corporate interests, and Tea Party 3.0 could attract a majority of Americans.