Throwing Big Government Overboard

Tea Party 2 on TwitpicMany Americans from all walks of life have found themselves increasingly frustrated in recent months as a painful economic recession has taken hold, precipitated by corporate avarice, the failures of administrative oversight, and individual poor choices.

In response, the federal government – first led by President Bush, and now continued by President Obama – has used the crisis to make itself the final arbiter of which companies survive and those that fail, who will get bailouts, and how much individuals will be paid for their work.  It sounds like its out of a Donald Wrye movie.

And at the state level, our elected officials are so “in touch” with what is going on that they’ve recommended nearly $3 billion in tax hikes, including everything from the income tax to an expansion of the sales tax and the imposition of a 30% “surcharge” on business taxes, all to guarantee that no state employee will ever be laid off.

Amid this environment, it is no surprise that the frustrated took to the streets all over America today to re-enact one of the finest moments in America’s founding – the Boston Tea Party.  Thousands of people – including many here in Connecticut – voiced their opinion that high taxes, runaway spending, and rapidly expanding government do not have the mandate of the people. 

Tea Party on TwitpicAt the State Capitol in Hartford, event organizers and State Capitol police estimated the crowd at more than 5000 during the course of the two hour rally, with more people turning out in Norwich, New Haven, Vernon, New Milford, and Greenwich for similar rallies. 

It was clear from the rhetoric in the crowd that, in contrast to what the critics were saying, the event wasn’t motivated by a single political group – Americans of every political persuasion were there.  They encouraged Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and unaffiliated voters to join their cause – less spending, lower taxation, and more freedom – and to run for political office to support it.

Freedom, as it turns out, was really the buzzword for the day.  Event organizers in many places, including Hartford, had a difficult time securing the permits necessary to hold a rally on the steps of the taxpayer-built and taxpayer-maintained State Capitol, and then were closely monitored and videotaped by the police.  Imagine if the colonists had sought a permit from the British Crown to dump the tea into Boston Harbor!

In a nation founded by tax revolt, it is no surprise to find people angry about the taxes they pay.  Today’s activities stand in rebuttal to the idea that Americans don’t care about the manner in which government collects and spends our money – and they serve as an important reminder about the need for every citizen to remain engaged in the political discussion, cognizant of those they choose to send to Hartford and Washington, and actively aware of the fact that the only thing that has ever made a difference in the history of the world are small groups of people who believed that they could.

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37 responses to “Throwing Big Government Overboard

  1. Put your money where your mouth is. Reject social security and reject medicare. Not just now for you as a young person Heath, but also for your elderly relatives. Rip up the social security card and tell your elderly relatives to go seek private insurance (I’m sure they have no pre-existing conditions and would be able to get good rates in the private sector). Otherwise, you’re using socialist programs.

    PS: What’s your opinion on the V.A.

  2. really,…moderation?

  3. AndersonScooper

    AGAIN, WE NEED SO OBVIOUSLY NEED REPUBLICANS TO CLEAN UP THE BUSH MESS!

    (sorry for the ALL CAPS, I’m just SO ANGRY.)

  4. AndersonScooper

    Freedom, as it turns out, was really the buzzword for the day.  Event organizers in many places, including Hartford, had a difficult time securing the permits necessary to hold a rally on the steps of the taxpayer-built and taxpayer-maintained State Capitol, and then were closely monitored and videotaped by the police.  Imagine if the colonists had sought a permit from the British Crown to dump the tea into Boston Harbor!

    Yeah, I know. All those white imperialists, satellite church-goers, and anti-tax paying nuts feels so persecuted.

    The Obama government is out to getcha ya! They want SOCIALISM for America, and they want it now!

    Here in New Haven they pledged allegiance to Sean Hannity, Dick O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and the truth-telling FoxNews….

    Yet Heath/Healy think they can build a CT GOP movement on the backs of the Rabid Right fringe?

  5. easthartfordtaxpayer

    Republicans drank the bush kool-aid the same way democrats have the Obama kool-aid. Both were/are dead wrong.

    Reject party politics. Think.

    Bush/Obama policies are akin to two men stuck in deep quicksand. The first thrashes about and is quickly swallowed. The second concludes the first didn’t thrash wildly enough and is swallowed twice as fast. Meanwhile an Austrian economist was shouting at them the whole time telling them to grab onto the branch he was extending.

  6. AGAIN, WE NEED SO OBVIOUSLY NEED REPUBLICANS TO CLEAN UP THE BUSH MESS!

    What’s “the Bush mess”?

    – making the tax code more progressive? (I figured you’d appreciate this one, no?)
    – providing larger child tax credits and lower marginal rates across the board? (maybe you don’t like kids)
    – winning a war that few thought could be won? (like Kerry, you were probably for it before you were against it)
    – overspending? (that’s on him, and also, obviously, on the Democratic 110th Congress)
    – the bailouts? (yeah, he deserves part of the blame, he supported them, too) (see above)
    – the stimulus? (no way — that’s all on Obama, Pelosi and the 111th Congress)

    Actually, Ed, we don’t need Republicans to clean up the Bush mess, we need them to clean up the Obama/Pelosi mess. Big difference.

  7. Reject party politics. Think.

    What percentage of the protesters actually VOTED last November?

    Protests accomplish nothing.

    Remember the “Axe the Tax” demonstration?
    40,000 people – the largest crowd ever assembled in the state.

    Yet the income tax is still here.

    Disorganized we don’t care about political party’s protests simply don’t get the job done.

    Go right ahead, reject party politics; rant and rave to your hearts content.
    Makes as much sense as peeing into the wind.

  8. easthartfordtaxpayer

    Remember the “Axe the Tax” demonstration?
    40,000 people – the largest crowd ever assembled in the state.

    I challenge that the failure of the 40,000 was precisely that they trusted the parties to listen to them and care.

    Lesson learned. The protesters yesterday were under no illusion that the Tea Party is going to generate action from Republicans or a reversal from Democrats. What it will do is turn 5K into 10K, 10K into 20K, 20K into 40K…

  9. heath,

    “Today’s activities stand in rebuttal to the idea that Americans don’t care about the manner in which government collects and spends our money – and they serve as an important reminder about the need for every citizen to remain engaged in the political discussion, cognizant of those they choose to send to Hartford and Washington,”

    Excellent point. For far too long now the vast majority of Americans have been too busy with their daily lives to concern themselves with, or pay attention to, the damage being caused to our state and country, from those far left and far right partisans and their rubber stamps.

    We in this country have moved well past the point of us having political disagreements with each other. We are at war with each other. This is becoming a war this country as a whole can no longer tolerate. If we are going to realize our potential, it must end.

    It is in the best interest of the majority of Americans who up to now felt there is no way to change politics as usual to understand that it can be changed. However if there is a way to do that they must become themselves just as involved as those from the extremes of either the left or right point of view.

    IMO the only reason anyone should become “angry” at that is out of fear that the average American may actually wake up, and those we send to Hartford or Washington take notice.

  10. “Bush/Obama policies are akin to two men stuck in deep quicksand. The first thrashes about and is quickly swallowed. The second concludes the first didn’t thrash wildly enough and is swallowed twice as fast. Meanwhile an Austrian economist was shouting at them the whole time telling them to grab onto the branch he was extending.”

    This is pure genius, haha. I love this. Too bad the extent of economic knowledge on here probably ends with Reagan’s Trickle Down Theory and the regurgitated nonsense of Keynes by every President since Hoover.

    Austrians always had it right, they saw all of this coming, and nobody bothered to self educate themselves enough to listen.
    If only we could resurrect Rothbard and Mises to run in 2012… Of course they dont promise free money and constant warfare so they’d probably lose by a long shot…

  11. My observation of yesterday….
    I have last months Newsmax magazine and in it there is a Photo Essay of America today. One picture shows a large crowd lined up in Atlanta for a Federal Job fair. Press reports I found online say 10,000 people showed up for 100 federal jobs. In the picture in Newsmax, which is an AP Photo, it only show about 400 to 500 people. I can only count 7 white people in line.
    So my question or observation is, where were all the Black Amercian Tax protestors at the Tea Parties?
    The Republican, Conservative and Libertarian movements have along way to go in reaching out to more people. I was hoping to see more diversity when I watched TV last night.

  12. So the Republican Party’s idea is to protest wasteful spending by buying millions of teabags to throw away?

    Are you guys protesting wasteful spending, or irony?

    h/t Jon Stewart

  13. So the Republican Party’s idea is to protest wasteful spending by buying millions of teabags to throw away?

    Sort of like responding to a 3000-casualty terrorist attack by squandering another 4000+ American lives in an elective war.

    I tend to think that Americans dying for no good reason is a bad thing (more bad than, for example, asking millionaires to chip a few more dollars into the public kitty), but I guess that’s why I’m not a Republican.

  14. mattw:

    Couple things.

    First: My hat’s off to you. Sincerely. You made a genuine effort yesterday to try and get the “community” at MLN to engage in a discussion with retiredyes. Instead they offered vitriol, hatred and a depth of spite and contempt that is as disturbing as it is revelatory. Nice — no, more than nice — great to see someone living the talk.

    I say that as a person whose own snark muscle is overdeveloped.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re dangerous, deluded and must be stopped. You are. 🙂

    For example: Don’t you dare 1) compare income taxes to American war dead, whatever your opinion of the war or 2) suggest Republicans are somehow unable to make the distinction.

  15. asking millionaires to chip a few more dollars into the public kitty

    Doesn’t result in the desire effect as it retards job growth.

  16. primusinterpares

    So the Republican Party’s idea is to protest wasteful spending by buying millions of teabags to throw away?

    Agreed, quite the dichotomy. Although the conservative/libertarians don’t own protest irony. After all, it’s about the same amount of irony as when liberals “protest for peace” … by starting riots in the streets.

    And yet this is all very American. Lets see, people came to Massachusetts for freedom from religious persecution, only to immediately establish their own church and persecute people. At the Boston tea party the colonists protest injustice by dressing up as native americans and looting a british trade ship… they were imitating natives who they were killing and removing from their land. Oh but the excessive taxation, how unjust! In the modern era, in order to end racism we FORCE colleges and places of employment to consider your race in the admissions and hiring process often disadvantaging those of european descent regardless of whether their family came over on the mayflower or if their family got here 10 years ago from some poor village in southern or eastern europe. This ironic “ends justify the means” mentality permeates our politics and has for centuries, at this point its probably best to just sit back and laugh.

  17. I challenge that the failure of the 40,000 was precisely that they trusted the parties to listen to them and care.

    They didn’t, because voters have short memories.

    Witness the fact that voters failed to throw the rascals out as they should have.

    Had the same people that expended their time and energy yesterday, done the same last October; we probably wouldn’t be in the boat we’re in.

    What if everyone that attended a rally yesterday had hit just 10 doors for some fiscal conservative and maybe sent 10 bucks to another.

  18. And yet this is all very American. Lets see, people came to Massachusetts for freedom from religious persecution, only to immediately establish their own church and persecute people.

    Not immediately.

    That was about 10 years later when the jerk Puritans started coming over to settle their Mass Bay Colony…..and there went the neighborhood.
    There were *no* Puritan settlers on the Mayflower.

    The Puritan invasion was the reason Hooker and 6 others settled CT.

    Two generations later their offspring did in fact start the same nonsense here which grew out of control hence Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists; a Supreme Court ruling in 1842, and later in response to that oppression came the Griswold law which of course bit it’s backers in the rear later via the Roe decision.

    The lesson is obvious – don’t start that stuff with other people’s religions.

  19. primusinterpares

    Not immediately.

    Yeah, I know… but i didn’t feel like going through all that. Just painting the picture, you know?

  20. For example: Don’t you dare 1) compare income taxes to American war dead, whatever your opinion of the war or 2) suggest Republicans are somehow unable to make the distinction.

    I don’t think they’re in any way equivalent — what I’m comparing are the different groups of ideological activists, and what motivates them to go out and protest. Some people get worked up over foreign casualties. Others are bothered by Medicaid. *Shrugs*

  21. Also, I guess I was reinforcing the irony that BristolDem pointed out. Peace protestors with brickbats would be in a similar category.

  22. Yeah, I know… but i didn’t feel like going through all that. Just painting the picture, you know?

    You’re not Mayflower, or don’t really comprehend what total assholes the Puritans were.

    Few do.

  23. At least the Puritans weren’t cutting peoples heads off that we know of.

  24. At least the Puritans weren’t cutting peoples heads off that we know of.

    No, they just hung them and burned them because they were accused of being witches.

  25. At least the Puritans weren’t cutting peoples heads off that we know of.

    They weren’t much better; they were total jerks and just not fun to hang around with at all.

  26. SouthernWreck

    At least the Puritans weren’t cutting peoples heads off that we know of.

    Yeeesh.

    Metacom(et)’s head was left on a pike in the Plymouth settlement for over twenty years…..his body was chopped into pieces…..Taliban, anyone?

  27. SouthernWreck

    In a nation founded by tax revolt, it is no surprise to find people angry about the taxes they pay.

    The Boston Tea Party was not about paying taxes!

    The tax on tea was minuscule, and merely symbolic. The revolt was about REPRESENTATIONAL government. All these goofy folks at the Capitol, (less than 100K nationwide, even at the best estimates), got a tax cut, unless there were a few Benz-ish millionaires sprinkled in, or some of the wingers here making in excess of 300K, creating all those jobs. They are disaffected whites, “stimulated” by the President’s mixed-race status – base American Nativists – although the lion’s share of them are likely all progeny of immigrants, like me. They didn’t come out to protest the TARP comedy – so what is that about – Faux News proles, pitiable low info out-of-touch folks, like the flag decal folks of the ’70’s. Drill here, drill now – yeah, right.

    Read this, Heath:

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

    Don’t have time to figure out how to make that a live link. That pie hasn’t changed much in years. They ALL benefit from big government, and they certainly will, more so, going forward, when they ride the supertrain with their grandkids….and get cleaner power in their dotage, better healthcare, and our economy once again runs the engine of global trade.

    RowlandRell, Shelby, Rick Perry, Mike Pence, Pawlenty, Palin and Noot – dinosaurs all, and the generation of my sons will change it all, no looking back.

  28. easthartfordtaxpayer

    In regards to this tax cut I keep getting told I’ve received. I’m not sure if you’ve thought this whole thing through. The taxes we all pay CANNOT pay for what the government spends. You may think you got a tax cut but you didn’t. What you got was a loan. The government runs a deficit every single day which will need to be repaid. You didn’t get a tax cut. You got a loan which the government is guaranteeing with my children.

    Regardless of who does it there is no moral justification for the politicians of today to spend money that they will later force, at the point of a gun ultimately, those who are not even born yet to repay.

    You may think your particular situation is dire or this piece of history is particularly bad but put yourself in the shoes of those who need to cover the 40 trillion or so in outstanding liabilities. Today even the poorest of us are probably approaching 50% combined taxation. What will it take for our children to pay that debt?

    Some out there may think this country is on the right track. They may be happy that government power is no longer constrained by it’s founding documents. They may not care that government violates the rights of Life, Liberty and Property of it’s citizens when it’s only job is to protect them.

    I care. I showed up. I’ll continue to show up. I’m proud of my country and have an inherent faith in my fellow man. I’m ready to rip the claws of a despotic government from it’s soil.

  29. The tax on tea was minuscule, and merely symbolic. The revolt was about REPRESENTATIONAL government.

    Tangential, but I just wanted to add that the colonists were not after a couple seats in Parliament either. They were all smart and could do math – they knew that with wildly optimistic number of seats that would still get voted down overwhelmingly on any contentious issue. They were after representation, at home.

  30. They were after representation, at home.

    And they got it – but not because they dumped the tea.

  31. At the Boston tea party the colonists protest injustice by dressing up as native americans and looting a british trade ship… they were imitating natives who they were killing and removing from their land.

    As King Phillip’s War was some 90 years earlier, I doubt anyone who fought in that conflict was dumping tea.

    The vast majority of native american deaths were completely unintentional and beyond the understanding of contemporary European society — they died of communicable diseases spread by the early explorers and visitors like fishermen.

    This triggered great social upheavel as various native societies collapsed. The Pilgrims and those following found many fine locations to settle that were abandoned indian villages due to their population collapse.

    Yes, the colonists exploited old rivalries — like John Mason marching with a force mostly composed of Mohegan & Narragansetts to crush the Pequots, the old enemy of the Mohegans, Narrangansetts, and Nipmucks who had been attacking them and enslaving them since long before Colombus.

    And yes, they fought one great war at the end of the 17th century, which was started by the natives as one last effort against the newcomers.

    Much more proximate to the tea party was the French & Indian War, which wasn’t the French being noble and coming to defend some hapless Indian tribes being displaced by British colonists…but was the French using the Indians to open up another front aganst the British as part of the larger Seven Years War.

    The tea tax was designed to raise money to support and pay debts from that Seven Years War, including the French & Indian portion.

    But hey, why should we care to study history?

    Certainly the patriots must’ve been out extirpating the indians and confiscating their lands, because white men of European descent are always evil, and America is the pentultamate expression of intolerant failure.

  32. Sort of like responding to a 3000-casualty terrorist attack by squandering another 4000+ American lives in an elective war.

    I tend to think that Americans dying for no good reason is a bad thing (more bad than, for example, asking millionaires to chip a few more dollars into the public kitty), but I guess that’s why I’m not a Republican.

    Like declaring war on Germany when you’re attacked by Japan?

    You can’t take these complex issues, distill them into a pithy one sentence applause line, and then expect people to take you seriously.

    I agree that Americans dying for no good reason is a horrible thing – I disagree with you about whether or not that is what has been occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    As for tax policy, Ari Fleischer had an excellent op-ed in the WSJ earlier this week outlining how the redistribution of income in our country “is getting out of hand.”

    Here’s a sample:

    “When you make almost 26% of the income and you pay only 0.6% of the income tax, that’s a good deal, courtesy of those who do pay income taxes. For the bottom 40%, the redistribution deal is even better. In 2001, these 43 million Americans, who earn less than $30,500, made 13.5% of the nation’s income but paid no income tax. Instead, they received checks from their taxpaying neighbors worth $16.3 billion. By 2005, those checks totaled $33.3 billion.” Ari Fleischer, WSJ April 13, 2009

  33. They are disaffected whites, “stimulated” by the President’s mixed-race status – base American Nativists – although the lion’s share of them are likely all progeny of immigrants, like me. They didn’t come out to protest the TARP comedy – so what is that about – Faux News proles, pitiable low info out-of-touch folks, like the flag decal folks of the ’70’s. Drill here, drill now – yeah, right.

    Wow – where to start?

    First off I don’t see why the color of my skin, or anyone else’s really, would have a bearing on one’s particular view of tax policy. Am I missing something?

    My ancestors were largely split between Germany (hence my last name) and Ireland (one grandmother was a Murphy the other an Ahearn) and since many of them were Catholic and arrived here in the late 19th century they probably had some first hand experience with “base American Nativists.” So I’m not sure I need a lesson from you on that front.

    I think most people were motivated to come out and protest because they’ve seen trillions of dollars spent in the last several months with very little explanation. All we see is truly mind boggling amounts of cash going out the door.

    It just seems like the people running Washington, DC are throwing money at the problem and hoping the economy gets better somehow. Shouldn’t be a surprise that the people ultimately footing the bill might get uncomfortable with the arrangement.

  34. I think most people were motivated to come out and protest because they’ve seen trillions of dollars spent in the last several months with very little explanation.

    Oh please, there is plenty of explanation out there. But a few examples:

    My Plan for Bad Bank Assets

    –Timothy Geithner

    Treasury Unveils Toxic-Asset Plan, Citing ‘Acute Pressure’ on Banks

    –Maya Jackson Randall and Michael R. Crittenden

    The Geithner Plan FAQ

    –Brad DeLong

    Of course it’s easier to prance around in Sam Adams drag hating on Obama and barking about socialism than to learn the first thing about “throwing money at the problem”.

  35. Of course it’s easier to prance around in Sam Adams drag hating on Obama and barking about socialism than to learn the first thing about “throwing money at the problem”.

    I’m not sure you’re using the term ‘drag’ appropriately there – unless you’re referring to a woman dressing up as Sam Adams?

    Regardless, there has been a huge lack of transparency when it comes to the literally trillions of dollars in bailouts and guarantees from the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.

    Check out this Washington Post article that outlines the efforts of one official in Treasury trying to force more transparency.

  36. I’m not sure you’re using the term ‘drag’ appropriately there – unless you’re referring to a woman dressing up as Sam Adams?

    Oh my that was cute.

    Thank you for the article. Of course, you changed the subject, from whether there’s been “very little explanation” about Geithners’s plan (false), to the lack of transparency on the part of banks receiving bailout money (true). Fine. Do you really think if there was more transparency that the Tea Bag Hatters would pack up their act and go home? Come now, be honest.

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