A Word Or Two About Tea Parties

April 15, 2009

I’m torn, because I have a friend who has been heavily involved in the “Tea Party” protest that took place in Chattanooga near my home town, and I don’t want to denigrate his hard work. There are legitimate concerns about the growing national debt and I respect those who are willing to get out and express those concerns publicly.

That said, a few points that I just have to make. 1) Americans are not overtaxed. Not at all. Compared with the taxes paid by citizens of other free market economies, we pay relatively little. 2) I will state once again (as I did during the 2008 campaign, after Joe Biden made his statement to this effect) my belief that paying taxes is, indeed, an act of patriotism. We live in a wonderful country. We enjoy a standard of living that remains the envy of much of the world. We have well-maintained roads; an air traffic control system that it is remarkably effective given the amount of air traffic our airports see on a daily basis; a well-trained, well-armed military. These things cost money. We have social security, which isn’t perfect, but which has served our seniors well for nearly eight decades. We have Medicare and Medicaid, without which millions more in our country would be without any viable health care. We have an educational system that is good but could be better; a food safety system that is flawed but better than nothing; and a host of other government programs that serve us with varying degrees of competence. Are they perfect? Not at all. But take away public education or food inspections or law enforcement and we’d be far worse off than we are. All of these things cost money, money that is collected in the form of taxes at the Federal, state, or local level. No one likes paying taxes, but living in this country is a privilege, and it doesn’t come free of cost. 3) For all the complaining about Barack Obama being a “socialist” and raising taxes, his plan calls for returning the upper income tax rates to the levels they were at after passage of Ronald Reagan’s tax legislation. If Obama is a socialist, then so is Ronald Reagan. 4) When Fox News sponsors a protest, when it creates a movement so that it can then cover the movement in its newscasts, that’s not grassroots activism. That’s political theater with a corporate sponsor. 5) If you’re going to create this kind of political stunt, don’t call what you’re doing “teabagging”. For that matter, don’t call it anything that will invite comparisons to any sort of sexual behavior. That’s just not smart.

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2 Responses to “A Word Or Two About Tea Parties”

  1. brian said

    As I always do I enjoyed this political commentary. We definitely have it pretty good here, and I am hopeful that Obamas policies will help get the economy back on track.

  2. davidbcoe said

    Thanks for the comment, Brian. I share your hope, as do most Americans I believe.

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