The tea party is alive, well and thriving — despite the turmoil it has caused in the Republican Party, says CNBC personality Rick Santelli, who has been called the father of the tea party movement.
"If I look back through history, I can't find many movements, grassroots movements, that in my opinion reached such a critical mass in such a short period of time," Santelli told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"We're only in the beginning phases. The 2010 midterms were a great testament to the efforts of many who strive to make future generations have a fair chance.
"Not to be under the eight ball, so to speak, regarding things like national debt and opportunity and a fertile landscape to be an entrepreneur or free market capitalist."
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Santelli acknowledges, however, that "there's going to be bumps along the way."
The tea party will continue to look at the kinds of issues that are often glossed over, such as the country's growing debt, he said.
"We need to learn to live within our means . . . The danger comes when we try to pay for everything and we have limits on what we can generate through the balance side of the balance sheet," he said.
"It doesn't make sense to me, for example, to look for infrastructure projects when we're borrowing the money from China."
Santelli says President Barack Obama's hiking of the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers will hurt the job market.
"There are many companies that have a budget, and if your budget's X and you have so many people working for you at minimum wage and the minimum wage goes up 20 percent or 10 percent, if you stay within your budget, there's only one answer to that: you have to lay off some people. That's the reality," he said.
"People or politicians or the current administration can spin it anyway they want, but that's math."
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