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Around 750 “tea parties” are taking place around the country today in an effort to protest the taxation changes being made by the Obama administration. This is one of those issues that has turned into a boxing match between the left and right based media (I guess most issues are now). The tea parties are loosely based around the events that took place before the Revolutionary War, where “No taxation without representation” was the slogan. Today’s events differ because they focus on tax rates and government spending. This is a poor idea, or at least poor execution of an idea.

Sure, a government on its way to spending itself into a debt wholly owned by foreign nations is a bad idea, but focusing on tax increases for the wealthy is no better. The tea parties should instead be focused on bringing attention to what the government is doing with our money, maybe even making the slogan “No taxation with poor representation”. The officials are elected by us but make decisions based on their own prerogatives rather than the needs of the people.

The argument that Americans do not mind paying taxes is one that has been coming out of the media lately and it too is a poor one. Most Americans do not mind because it is simply a way of life and for the most part the actual payment takes place without them even noticing. The truth of the matter is, most Americans get a refund at the end of the year and have no idea that it is because they paid in too much to the system. Start taking more out of people’s paychecks and making the refunds smaller and the number of Americans who do not mind taxes is sure to take a dive.

Back to the tea parties, Paul Krugman, who I am constantly agreeing and disagreeing with, writes that the right-wing is a bunch of crazy people who are embarrassing themselves with their antics and maybe he is right. If the conservatives in this country want to avoid a social democracy then faux-protesting a slight tax hike is not the way to do it. This is not to say that what the government is doing is right, by all means, it isn’t. The idea is not to change tax rates, it is to reduce spending. If spending is reduced, then budgets are naturally cut and as a result, the tax rate stays steady or better yet, falls.

What this country needs is more students of history because then maybe we’d have our memories jogged on how things were done when the Constitution was drafted and what the role of the Federal government should be.

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  1. vinnie #
    April 15, 2009

    The right needs to figure out what they’re _for_, rather than constantly and angrily talking about what they’re _against_, and they need to do it quickly. Nobody on any side wants to hear constant complaining without some kind of solution to back it up..

  2. April 15, 2009

    Completely agree with you Vinnie. I sort of touched on my solution with cutting spending but I know the first disagreement with that is going to be, “well, what are you going to cut, Medicaid?!”.

  3. Sarah #
    April 15, 2009

    I agree with you Stephan. In theory, I “agree” with the TEA parties because I’m against where my tax money is being spent and so much spending, not that I disagree with taxation (well… I disagree with the way we are taxed, but not being taxed). I also vehemently disagree with this grand canyon of debt we’re building – financed by foreign nations that I will inevitably pay for in either future taxes or the devalued dollar. I know I didn’t vote for these bond sales, and really, I’m not so sure that the government should be allowed to do this at will. In this way, I feel unfairly ‘taxed,’ if you’ll tolerate my new definition of the term.

    I’m constantly and angrily talking about this, which as Vinnie points out, isn’t the most productive thing I could be doing. It is certainly therapeutic….

    According to the most recent release of the Department of Homeland Security – I’m a right wing extremist. Well… if that’s the case, okay…I accept. I’d prefer the term constitutionalist conservative, but it seems – for today – they are synonyms. At least you aren’t calling me ‘Republican.’

    So as a newly labeled right wing extremist, what am I for rather than what am I angrily against?

    I want a limited government.

    I want rights that aren’t specifically granted to the federal government to be the responsibility of the states. Maybe that’s “extreme”, but I’m pretty sure someone else wrote that down before me… 😉

    I want bad/insolvent companies to figure it out for themselves, if they can’t – put the assets on the chopping block like any other company. I won’t listen to this malarkey about how the government just “had to do SOMETHING.” The ‘something’ they’re doing is just about the final straw on that poor camel’s back. (Here: http://tiny.cc/zWul3) Fiddlin’ with the free market is never a good idea.

    I want the government to stop collecting money ‘on my behalf’ in the form of social security and then deciding when they’re going to give me my money back, and the amount they’ll allow me to have.

    I want a national sales tax. This will solve tons of problems (unfair taxes, illegal immigrants not paying taxes at all, eliminate lobbyists, indecipherable tax codes and free federal money when we eliminate the IRS) and allow the government funds to operate the limited duties it is required to perform.

    I want to cut the bureaucracy, particularly in sectors where the government shouldn’t be involved at all. Namely, the department of agriculture, the department of education, the department of homeland security. Do I want to 100% ax all federal review/departments – hell no, don’t create that logical fallacy – my suggestion to cut some branches doesn’t not mean I want anarchy.

    I want the freedom to CHOOSE my charity, and I don’t the government involved AT ALL. “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” – James Madison.

    I want a government that spends as little as possible, holds all wealth in the pockets and equity of its citizens and private corporations, and aims to decrease budgets, not expand them.

    I want 100% transparency in our government. I also want a system where our federal and state laws can be easily searched, with clear documents and indication as to the latest version of a law and/or all information documents. The government is my employee and yours, and as their manager, I have a right to review their work.

    Shall I go on???

    Or has my ‘extremist’ babble embarrassed me to the point that I should submit? Shall I instead go on and accept that the “powers that be” in our government know what is best for our country and have the social grace to nod quietly? (http://tiny.cc/XLG33)

    (And in a very shallow move, I’d like to add: “I want box seats to Texas/Cowboys games, just as long as the money doesn’t come from our taxes.”)

  4. April 16, 2009

    Sarah,

    I certainly do not think we should be too embarrassed to express our disagreements with the government, in fact, I think the political middle with discussions about discourse is the way we should operate. It’s the way the Founding Fathers operated.

    Your likes/dislikes are pretty much what I would have written down. I like the idea of a national sales tax and would be all for it, if someone could come up with a way to make it work.

    As I have written before, I do believe that what the President wants is a social democracy, a Europe within the U.S. What no one is taking into account is the fact that Europe funds their healthcare system and national welfare with U.S. dollars paid to them for use of their land for Army, Air Force, and Navy bases.

    So, I think we’re on the same page, I just think the Conservatives need to focus, bring up issues, and provide real solutions.

  5. April 17, 2009

    Stephan,

    I’ve gone back and forth on these tea parties. While I like the idea of people taking a stand and voicing their objection to the massive debt we are about to incur, I’m left with a “now what” attitude. Despite the best efforts, what did they really accomplish? Nothing is going to change. Washington isn’t going to change b/c a few hundred thousand people protested. So I’m left wondering what can the average person do that will really have an impact.

    Case in point…Sen. Specter is my Senator. He was snowed under with thousands and thousands and thousands of phone calls and e-mails (three of which were from me) about his vote on the stimulus package. He held a deciding vote, and despite the outcry of his constituients he still voted for it. Our respresentatives don’t represent.

    We let our voices be heard and it still didn’t make a difference. So what are we suppose to do? Well, vote the good Senator out is next on the agenda. But other than than, I feel like we are held hostage by “representatives” who only do what will further their career.

    So, the tea parties. They may not accomplish much, but I think people just want to “do” something to show their outrage. Even if it means standing on the steps of the state capitol in the pouring rain holding tea bags.

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