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From the Archives - Dick Armey on the U.S. Congress: 'the most dangerous gang of economic illiterates I've ever seen'

Dick Armey on the U.S. Congress: 'the most dangerous gang of economic illiterates I've ever seen'
September 15, 2010 2:52 AM MST

Dick ArmeyAccording to its co-author, former Texas Congressman and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the new book, Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, came about in response to mean-spirited attacks on Tea Party participants.

“We were sitting around looking at these horrible, mean ways in which these good folks were being characterized,” Armey related, “and we said, ‘Somebody needs to tell the whole story, the true story.’”

Tea Party’s ‘true story’
That “true story,” Armey explained to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner, was that, even before the movement had a name, Tea Party activists from around the country sought advice from FreedomWorks, the advocacy group that Armey chairs.

“Almost without exception,” he said, “wherever you look in the country -- California, Florida, wherever -- where somebody wanted to put a group together and start getting the ball rolling, they called us.”

Armey answered questions about his book, the Tea Party, and the 2010 and 2012 elections in an interview on the eve of the second 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington, which this year attracted a crowd of 100,000 or more protesters who gathered on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol to hear a range of speakers from Colombian immigrant Tito Munoz to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Understanding Economics

Dick Armey Congress economics
The average Tea Party member, Armey agreed, has a better grasp of economics than the average Member of Congress.

“No doubt about it,” he said. “That’s one of the things that really distresses me.”

The country is in trouble, he added, if Congress Members' “understanding of economics, how the economy works, the world of commerce, where the money comes from, is less than” that of the typical citizen.

“This is a serious problem and I have no doubt about it,” Armey said with emphasis.

“You take a look at the leadership in the House and the Senate and the Executive Branch of government, starting with the President, it is the most dangerous gang of economic illiterates I’ve ever seen in my life.”

No ‘honest curiosity’
Having served in Congress for nearly two decades, Armey had observed the capacity of its Members to understand basic economic concepts.

“It is frightening,” he said. “They don’t have an honest curiosity about economics. I just don’t believe any one of them ever looked at this and asked the question, where’s this money coming from?”

Armey described legislators as “a bunch of kids that found the money tree” who say, “’We can just spend all we want.’”

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on September 15, 2010. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

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