Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Parties; if you don't understand them, maybe you're part of the problem.

I was unable to attend the recent Tea party in Sacramento because of my work schedule, but I was pleased to see the great turnout at the capitol on tax day. When thousands of regular, hard working people take a day off to protest, you know that something is stirring deep within the fabric of America. People are concerned, people are frustrated and yes, people are angry.

What is the object of their concerns and their anger? The government is taking more of their money with each and every new fee, license and tax hike. Combine that with the new thinking in Washington that for every problem, the solution is borrowing trillions of dollars from China and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren, and you will have people stand up and say, enough.

As much as the media would like to dismiss these tea parties as “silly stunts” and try to portray them as right wing craziness, they cannot hide the truth. This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue; this is a struggle between two groups. People who think the government will solve all their problems, and those who think that government has a limited role, as defined in the Constitution. Sadly, many people have no idea what our constitution even says. I guess we are busy teaching kids about Earth Day and other such priorities, rather than our founding principles.

On the issue of spending, many of my "progressive" friends will start every conversation on this topic with the refrain that Republicans under President Bush overspent and grew government. Fair enough. I agree wholeheartedly that Republicans grew detached from their constituents and became enamored with spending other people's money. That is why Republicans were defeated in the last two elections; you cannot be both for and against the same thing at the same time. However, if too much deficit spending was the problem, how can the solution be doubling our national debt in five years through even more reckless spending?

The media and politicians also talk about raising taxes as a cure-all for any problem. The line they use to justify raising taxes is always fairness. They say that rich people have to pay their “fair share”. Fair share? The top 5 percent of rich people pay 60.14% of all Federal taxes. What is fair about that?

Here is the little secret they do not want you to know. Over the years, we have changed the tax code to where almost 45% of American’s do not pay any Federal income taxes. When that percentage reaches 51%, the remaining 49 percent of “rich people” will be one the wrong side of the equation. When the majority pays no federal income tax, they will vote for politicians who promise to make their lives better using the minority’s money. If you do not have to split the check when it comes at the end of dinner, you will order whatever you want, plus desert. That works great, unless your the guy stuck paying the bill.

The tea party movement will continue to grow, but it will never become a grassroots revolution. Two factors are holding it back. The Media has taken sides in this debate. They will continue to focus on the fringes of the movement, all the while trying to frame the discussion as the rich wanting to deny the poor what is rightfully theirs. The other factor is statistical. When 45% American’s will never feel the impact of higher income taxes, which is huge block of people who will vote in their own self-interest.

Even if most Americans see through the media and progressive's class warfare propaganda, the numbers will be hard to overcome. When so many Americans have no reason to oppose higher taxes, they will not understand what the fuss is all about.

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