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Friday, April 17, 2009

Teabagging... are you serious?

I think everyone has made fun of how clueless the chosen name was considering the alternate meaning.

However, that is not my complaint or purpose in discussing it.

On April 15th (also known as Tax Day in the US), many "protests" were organized. "Tea Parties". What are they protesting? Well, lets take a look at it.

It is a throwback to the original Boston Tea Party, which was a protest against Taxation without Representation from the British Government. A just cause. However, these people, no matter how much they want to claim they aren't represented, have elected representatives in office for their area. Unless they live in Washington DC. Speaking of, I do believe it was the conservatives who so opposed giving Washington representatives in Congress, while the citizens of our nations capital do pay taxes. I suppose if they were throwing these tea parties for that purpose, it would make sense, but they aren't. Therefore, this is not paying any homage to the original Tea Party, it is a mere perversion of the original message and is displayed in terrible taste.

Also, some indicate that it has to do with more or higher taxes under the current administration. First, Obama has neither hinted at nor proposed any new taxes. So it must have to do with the planned tax hike for people making over $250,000 a year in 2011(after the current recession is projected to be over). 3%. It is not groundbreaking, it merely puts the tax code back to how it was before Bush slashed taxes for the wealthiest Americans in 2001. How many people will this affect? From the way the conservatives are acting, you would think it was a lot of people. However, according to, if the $250,000 is meant for couples and $125,000 for individuals (which seems likely), it would affect roughly 3.1% of Americans. If it's $250,000 for any household, that figure drops to about 2%. And oh yeah, this is for personal taxes. It doesn't affect businesses & corporations. So the whole idea of "job creation vs. job loss" is nearly a completely moot point, because most companies (even small businesses) are separate from their owner's personal incomes. Not to mention, there are several large loopholes in the corporate tax codes that allow large percentages of income to never be taxed properly (you can google this rather easily, I'm just lazy).

Another reason I've heard thrown about is being upset over wasteful government spending (like this didn't happen under G.W. Bush, his father, or even Reagan). This is one place where I actually find myself agreeing with Conservatives. Though, I never seem to agree on who is responsible for wasteful spending with them. Conservatives want to blame it on the Democrats exclusively and have even proposed a spending freeze. (Also, Economics 101, you do not cut spending or increase taxes during a recession unless you are trying to make it worse, hence why the rescinding of the Bush tax cuts is not until 2011). I want to blame it on the government in general. Nobody seems to pay attention to what the government spends the money on. It over pays for nearly everything (especially when Haliburton is involved, but I'll just leave that whole mess out of it). Democrats & Republicans alike are terrible about weighing the worth of spending versus the price of it. Earmarks contribute and are bipartisan in origin. Blaming one side or the other is irresponsible. However, the Bush tax cuts lower the income of the country and ultimately do contribute to the deficit. So protesting against removal of an irresponsible tax cut is another ultimately bad idea.

So basically, these Tea Parties are nothing but a flailing last(I hope anyway) gasp from a Republican party with no identity, a shrinking base, and no real clue of how to relate to the world today. Such as lovingly referring to their protests as "teabagging" in all seriousness.