The only citation he provides is a GAO report that he says indicates "billions of tax dollars" being spent on duplicating efforts, but scope matters here and a quick look at the report it doesn't give a easily cited number.. The Federal Government spent $3.4 trillion dollars in FY2010. If they GAO report outlines $10 billion in overlap, that represents 0.3% of total government expenditures. At $50 billion it's 1.5% and at $200 billion it's 5.8%. All that calculation is to say "billions" is a squishy term, but we likely aren't talking about a lot of redundancy.
Mr. Phillips is also intent on propping up the Greek boogeyman. In 2010, the estimated U.S. debt to GDP ratio was 58.9%, while in Greece the ratio was 144%. The comparison is flawed when you look at even this single factor, but when you consider that Greece, as part of the Euro-zone, can't print more money and then factor in the historical failure of the Greek government to collect tax revenue, any suggestion that the United States is the next Greece is ludicrous at this stage.
Mr. Phillips also makes the claim that "[t]here is only one way you get to a debt crisis - you spend too much money." This is quite simply false. You can get into a debt crisis when you don't earn enough money. For the federal government, those earnings come in the form of taxes. We are at a historic trough when it comes to tax receipts, in large part because the economy is beaten and battered. Now is the time we need borrowing authority more then ever. We're on hard times, but times will improve. Taking on debt is part of our modern financial system whether you're a government or a household, so let's drop the pretense that taking on debt is always some reckless endeavor.
Finally, Mr. Phillips clearly can't do math. In his op-ed he declares, "the Tea Party movement understands that if we allow Congress to borrow more money or raise taxes, all we are doing is funding an endless expansion of government." He says this after he explains that the tea party had to say no to the deal that was in the works between President Obama and Speaker Boehner. If the tea party goal is truly to shrink the size of government, then they missed a golden opportunity. The broad strokes of the $4 trillion deal discussed was 83% cuts to 17% revenue increases. That is to say we would have cut $3.3 trillion worth of government spending and raised about $700 billion more in revenue over the next decade. Seems clear to me that that deal would have shrunk the size of government, by quite a lot. But Mr. Phillips derided this plan because it included a revenue increases, even though the revenue increases would have come from eliminating market distorting tax expenditures that libertarians have long opposed.
I think this debate has revealed the lack of ideological coherence of the tea party. What is it they are really trying to achieve? They passed on the opportunity to dramatically shrink the size of the government. They passed on the opportunity to eliminate countless distortionary tax policies. They have, thus far, passed on the opportunity to own the responsibility of their electoral victory, which is to govern. Beyond the anger, I see vacuous opportunism from the tea party members in Congress. As eager as the tea party is to remind Republicans they delivered them the house, I wonder if the tea party faithful will see through this charade perpetrated by Mr. Phillips and his consorts in Congress.