Many 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.
At 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.