The Tea Party has triumphed in at least one sense, says E.J. Dionne Jr. in The Washington Post. Despite a host of economic challenges facing the nation — including an unemployment rate that stubbornly remains at 9 percent — the debate in Washington is focused squarely on the budget deficit and spending cuts. Liberals may scoff, Dionne says, but the truth is that the Tea Party can claim victory in "fundamentally altering the country's dialogue." Here, an excerpt:
Consider all of the problems taking a back seat to the deficit in Washington and the media. You haven't heard much lately on how Wall Street shenanigans tanked the economy in the first place — and in the process made a small number of people very rich. Yet any discussion of the problems caused by concentrated wealth (a vital mainstream issue in the America of Andrew Jackson and both Roosevelts) is confined to the academic or left-wing sidelines. You haven't seen a lot of news stories describing the impact of long-term unemployment on people's lives or the difficulty working-class kids are encountering if they want to go to college...
Thanks to the Tea Party, we are now told that all our problems will be solved by cutting government programs. ... Does anyone really think that cutting such programs will create jobs or help Americans get ahead? But give the Tea Party guys credit: They have seized the political and media agenda and made budget cutting as fashionable as Justin Bieber was five minutes ago.
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