Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why is the conservative movement protesting lower taxes today?

The Tea Parties were chosen today because today is the deadline to file fedderal income taxes. The protests are supposed about "repealing" the stimulus package; something nobody honestly believes is going to happen.

The stimulus package had one of the largest, if not the largest, tax cuts in American history. So, again, I must ask, why does the conservative movement think their path to power is to support higher taxes at a time of a global recession?

Conservative bloggers, both locally and nationally, have been spinning wildly to try to make the Tea Parties protest something larger than it is. They adamently chafe at anyone who suggests this is a partisan sham. And yet, while Republican Congressman and congressional candidates like Steve Chabot are conveniently slated to address Tea Party crowds today, I can't find a single Democratic offical slated to speak at a single Tea Party event. Not one.

[Update: The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that rumored GOP '10 Gubernatorial candidate/Fox News host/former Goldman Sachs executive John Kasich may be speaking at the Columbus Tea Party today. Kasich is running against Governor Ted Strickland, who has reduced taxes while in office and has kept state government spending at its slowest growth rate of any governor in modern Ohio history. I'm sure Mr. Kasich's speech will be non-partisan and will offer nothing put praise for the fiscal conservatism of the Strickland Administration.]

Glenn Reynolds, conservative blogger, and now, apparenly, Wall Street Journal columnist, breathlessly claims "There is no political party behind these rallies, no grand right-wing conspiracy, not even a 501(c) group like"

I guess that depends if you consider Dick Armey's 501(c) group, FreedomWorks, "like" or not. (HT: Tim Russo at BloggerInterrupted).

The Tea Party defenders, suffers of that conservative malaise known as ODS ("Obama Derangement Syndrome") claim that this is spontaneous grass-roots uprising that defies labels, at least that's what's they've been saying non-stop on FoxNews as that channel has pointed its viewers to fundraise and promote these entirely grassroots events being promoted by, yep, Dick Armey.

What nobody has pointed out in Dick Armey's Tea Bagging is that his organization supports higher taxes for middle class Americans on two fronts: they oppose the Obama tax cuts in the stimulus package. And his FreedomWorks organization supports instituting a federal regressive "flat" tax that would raise the effective tax rates an all but the wealthiest Americans by eliminating most, if not all deductions and credits. (According to Turbotax, my federal return shows my family paid an effective tax rate of 7%, a flat tax would require triple that rate.)

As I write this, the Cincinnati rally has the same number of people as the last one. In other words, it's the same people. And there is a sameness of these people that the Tea Partiers are dishonestly trying to deny. This is not a diverse group of people, politically or social-economically. They are virtually the same people who turned out at McCain-Palin rallies (more specifically Palin rallies) who are now only different in that they are unchained from supporting a particular candidate. Support for the stimulus has actually gone noticeably up since this Tea Party protests began. (It probably has something to do with people noticing that they're paying less in taxes as a result.)

While BizzyBlog writes stories about tax receipts "mysteriously" dropping from a year ago, the sane world knows that it's because taxes are lower today than they were a year ago and the self-employed are taking it on the chin harder than anyone. Nobody's gone "Gault," they're going broke in a deep recession.

They claim to be the "no longer" silent majority, but they aren't even in the majority. The organizers of the Cincinnati party could only manage to find 1,700 signatures for people to ask the City of Cincinnati not to accept federal stimulus funds (funds that have, I believe, already been received). It's the same crowd; different day. It's the 10% of the country made up of conservative activists struggling for political relevancy in the absence of any leadership.

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