Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tempest in a Teapot

Not only do I get to use one of my favorite phrases, I got to use it as the title of this entry! I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.

Tea Bag sign Yeah, today is the big day for the "tea parties" that Fox News has been promoting. I haven't seen anything about it yet on CNN, and I even turned it to Fox briefly (as much as it pained me) and there's nothing there yet, either. [Update: I'm starting to see a few things now.] I really don't know how big this is going to be, but I suspect it's not going to be the kind of mass populist revolt--the people speak!--that Fox envisioned. I won't be making any teabagging jokes, either, because I've already gotten my jollies with that, thanks to MSNBC. I couldn't resist the picture, though! And those poor Iowans...the state won't allow them to dump tea into any bodies of water because it is considered a discoloration and pollutant. So they have to put river water or dechlorinated tap water into buckets labeled "tea," and dump that into the river. Kind of takes the "oomph" out if it, doesn't it?

The problem I have with the whole thing is that it really doesn't make much sense, not when you stop and think about it. Protesting "high taxes?" We've got nothing on other countries. Out of 30 developed countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a think tank based in Paris, only Iceland and Ireland have lower tax rates than the U.S. (for those who are married with two kids). Our taxes go to maintain roads and bridges, fund education, unemployment, Medicare, and so on. I'm kinda cool with that, you know? And I'm also cool with those who are at the top of the earning bracket paying a slightly higher percentage in taxes. It's a question of proportion. If you're making $3 million a year, you can afford to pay a higher percentage than someone making $30,000 per year. That doesn't mean that you haven't worked hard to get where you're at, but jeez, have some compassion for the little guy who doesn't have your same earning potential.

And as for those higher taxes, President Obama's plan gives 95% of Americans a tax cut . A CUT. Those making $250,000 or more per year will experience a slight increase...a taxation rate that happens to be about 10% less than what it was during most of the Reagan administration. Hm. I wonder how many of these protesters will get a tax cut versus getting a tax increase? They're protesting rich people having to give up a little more of their money, while they get to keep a little more of theirs in their own pockets? It doesn't make much sense to me.

Tea Party In a story about these protests in our local paper this morning, a commenter wrote that he had joined one of these groups briefly, because he hoped their concerns and efforts were legitimate. He was disturbed by the tone, and said that it seemed to be very anti-Obama and anti-Democrat in general. Apparently one of the slogans that was suggested (and may be in use, although I haven't heard it) was "It took over 200 years to build this nation and just 3 months to tear it down!" Trying to place the current economic woes--years in the making--upon President Obama's shoulders is ridiculous. I suspect that many of these protesters are protesting our current President, and not so much the taxation part.

I believe that he is doing his best to pull our economy out of the dismal state in which it was left when he took office. Not everyone agrees with his tactics; I wouldn't expect everyone to agree. However, it seems that the majority of citizens express optimism in his efforts, and believe that we're on the right track. There will still be problems, including more jobs lost, in the coming months, but things do seem to be looking up.

Finally (and then I shall step down one level on my multi-tiered soapbox), let me talk about this "Obama is a socialist" mantra that I keep hearing. I put it to you that taxation is in itself a form of socialism. It is collecting money from the populace and redistributing it to various programs that are run by the government (as mentioned above, education, infrastructure maintenance, unemployment benefits, etc.). So anyone who pays taxes is participating in a socialist activity. Joe McCarthy is rolling in his grave.


  1. Did you take an elevator to get to the next tier? LOL

    My issue is not about the tax collection, we need to pay for our benefits and freedoms, but more about the bi-partisan, squeeky wheel gets the grease, pork-barrel, methods we use to redistribute the money.

    There needs to be a better, more even, method of deciding how to spend the money for the greater good.

  2. I was waiting for NUTwood Junction to dangle a statement in front of our noses about todays teabagging. :)


  3. Is it bad to say, every time I hear someone talking about the big tea bagging day, my mind wanders, you there.........I swear! I can't help it, I've tried.
    Anyway, I think you're right, that alot of people are using this as more of a protest towards our Pres. rather then taxes.

  4. I turned on the car radio at 5 a.m. on my way to dialysis and, while flipping around the channels looking for news, came upon the ultra-conservative station which was already out at the site hyping Tulsa's Tea Party and definitely insinuating that it was an anti-Obama rally. I didn't stick around long, because that station angers me so much that some day I'm going to run right off the road listening to it. However, I'm thoroughly convinced that the organizers of these rallies are far from bipartisan. I was going to drive past the site of the rally later, just to see how many people were there, but I decided I couldn't stomach it. Obviously, I agree with everything you said.

  5. I agree that these "protestors" are merely showing their distaste for the president, because every reliable news outlet--no, not Fox--states the facts as clearly as you do.
    This isn't about taxes, it's a form of racism against the president. Why else lay at his feet the ills of this country when he has only been running it for a few weeks?

  6. The first thing I thought when I saw this entry in my reader: Damn, I was dissing the idea of daily posts(as a widespread thing)on blogs, yet I sorta like Beth's. But you keep it rather eclectic, I'm thinking everyone can't do that.

    Some of my beliefs, points and feelings about this diverge from yours, & I am betting neither of us would change the others basic leanings on the issue(s). BUT, I do think many people are using this to attack, & encourage others to attack, President Obama... in a way that gets more people(not nec people who know exactly what they are talking about/against, or understand the issues very well, like well enough to make a truly informed decision)more pissed, and ready to DO SOMETHING, even if they don't know what. That can be dangerous. ~Mary

  7. Wah, wah. That's the cry of the right-wing GOP crying about "taxes." Except, they're not really complaining about taxes because as you said, and as Obama has said over and over again, he's LOWERING taxes for 95% of the country! I hate to think this insanity is race-based (although being racist is insane) - I'd rather believe some folks just don't like that their team didn't win. And all I can say to that is, THANK GOD!!!!! Eight years of "W" was enough to make any sane person want to jump into the Atlantic Ocean and float away with the rest of the tea.

  8. You're just plain right, Beth. Or should I say left? Cuz left is right and right is wrong, these days.

  9. I believe our president is doing a helluva job.

  10. I think Our President is doing a Superb Job!

    Hugs, Rose

    P.S. I even think Bo is adorable!

  11. Well done! It's been soooooo hard to keep my inner thirteen year old under control today. How is anyone supposed to keep it together when you see some sixty-something year old woman talking about how much she is looking forward to teabagging "for the first time"?

    My sides, I swear.

    Of course it's all about protesting Obama. What else could it be? Where the hell have the spending-phobes been for the last seven years?

    One of the more obnoxious things I saw today was a sign that said "I am not your ATM" with a drawing of a white hand full of money handing it over to an empty black hand.

    I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning!

  12. Hi Beth,
    Now that a lot of the coverage has aired about these teaparties, I think to some extent it was -- like you say -- a tempest in a teapot. However, the issues and concerns are serious and perhaps just misguided. All the people I saw interviewed seemed genuinely frustrated but at the same time a bit confused (I mean, seriously, most all of them will be paying less in taxes in the future, but the existing system is so confusing and people are so scared about the economy, who can blame them for wanting to protest in some way?). I think the organizers of these Tea Parties were preying on people's fears.

  13. Hi Beth,

    The leftist news media has portrayed the tea parties as just being about taxes, and of course, trying to discredit, & make fun. Seems the left is rather upset that they no longer have exclusivity in protesting.

    The main thrust is about a huge government that only gets bigger, out-of-control spending that will result in higher taxes. The average American taxpayer now works from January to June just to cover the taxes. And, what about the hidden energy tax in the bailout bill? Raising taxes only on the rich? As I said in my blog some time ago, we'll all get redefined as "rich". And, since there has been absolutely no change in Washington's spending habits, there are only two choices: raise taxes significantly or print more money. Both will lead to certain disaster. Funny thing here: Obama has continued doing many of the same things Bush was doing. It was wrong of Bush, but now it's OK. Interesting.

    I have a novel idea: what about WASHINGTON cutting back, living within its means, like all the rest of us? I don't think we'll ever live long enough. They have no intention of tightening their belts.

    The turnout for the tea parties was much higher than expected. I was very happy to see it. We finally got the attention of politician's from the local level all the way to Washington. And one of the things I really liked? Several politicians asked to give speeches at several of them - how many, I don't know. And We the People told them NO! You're listening to US for a change & not the other way around. 'Bout time. It's also 'bout time to send another message & fire the whole bunch.


  14. Paying taxes is socialist? That's a very generous definition, one that places every nation in history under a Marxist banner. And if it was true, wouldn't that just validate the protests?

    I had a patron today who proudly proclaimed her support of the tea parties and was angry about the mad spending in Washington. It wasn't 'racist' and it wasn't for the cameras. Hell, since she spoke her piece in the midst of a very left of center workplace and was rewarded merely with the chilled but polite silence of my co-workers, it was the polar opposite of a media moment.

    You know a few weeks ago I watched a speech given by the mayor of Milwaukee. Mayor Barrett acknowledged that Obama's plan could be criticized as dumping $ into pet projects and wasteful pork - and then, to rousing cheers, he proudly announced he would take every dime he could get from it.

    Welcome to the New America.

    I was poor or down and out for a lot of my life - a HELL OF A LOT poorer than many of the sob stories you'll read on Blogger - and I have all the sympathy in the world for someone who needs a helping hand. God bless 'em, and they should feel no shame in taking that aid for a moment. But rescuing investors, banks, and corporations that screw up is a foolish and dangerous practice. Dumping scads of $$ on b.s. projects is foolish and dangerous. Fiddling with the tax code and lowering it for ANYONE while increasing spending (by this amount) is foolish. And labeling anyone who dares speak out against the government an extremist, racist, or a tool of the media is just as foolish - and doubly dangerous to our democracy.

  15. There is sincere anger out there. Nobody likes taxes, but what was option? This was no ordinary circumstance that President Obama walked into. We were/are facing a huge crisis.
    Where's the anger at the greed? Greed has hurt this country much more than anything Obama has done or will do.

  16. teabagging right out there in public....disgusting!

  17. Right on Beth. They are griping about spending money but buying tea and bags and wasting it on hogwash.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?