Swinging through Texarkana, the community that straddles both Texas and Arkansas, TIME columnist Joe Klein finds himself “in sympathy with much” that a local Tea Party group says.

[T]here was a piece of legislation that seemed to bother the Miller County Patriots even more than disability payments: the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law, which Congress passed last year. A builder named Curt Green said that in the past, he had always received “character loans” from his local banker–that is, he was a known quantity with a good repayment record–but they weren’t available anymore. “I had to move quickly on this one property,” Green said, “but the bank said they couldn’t get me the money for six weeks because of the Dodd-Frank process. My deal fell through.” Earlier, Wagnon had told me a similar story, about his inability to expand his nursing-home business. And still earlier in the day, I’d met with Dennis Ramsey, a banker who is the mayor of Hope, Ark.–Bill Clinton’s hometown–and not a Tea Party member. He told a similar story: “Nowadays, I just hope those people walking through the door of the bank aren’t looking to buy a house.” The Dodd-Frank process was so complicated that his bank subcontracted its home loans to a mortgage specialist. Ramsey said he understood that the law was, in large part, a response to mortgage mongers’ racking up volume by giving loans to people who didn’t understand what they were getting into, “but we’re a small, rural bank, and the government only thinks in terms of one size fits all.”

It seemed to me that the closer the Tea Party folks got to home, the more legitimate their beefs were. On the most basic, local level, their concern about waste and corruption seemed a good thing, a valuable revival of citizen concern after a long period of apathy. And the federal government does tend to impose layer upon layer of new regulations without keeping track of how they’re working.