Monday, July 20, 2009

Tea Parties: Protesting taxation with representation

I was recently approached on the street by someone who urged me to come to a "tea party" at our state capitol to protest high taxes. I told her that I resented her usurping a symbol of our history and using it to represent something that it never represented in history.

"But, the Boston tea party was about taxes," she replied. "No," I corrected "it was about taxation WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. Last I checked I got to vote."

Her argument immediately shifted. She said she'd called her congressman and he was not responsive to her concerns about the deficit. She was now just exercising her rights to peacefully protest unresponsive leaders and their lack of concern about deficit spending.

I have no problem with people making their voice heard, even though she is still misappropriating a symbol from American history. Now, however, she was protesting neither taxation nor lack of representation and I still disagreed with her. So, I explained that I believed we should have good roads, great schools, a strong military, and well funded security regulators and now was not the time to raise taxes to pay for those things.

Her argument shifted again. Suddenly she was talking about Michigan State Legislators pensions and how lavish they were. That kind of spending, she explained, was why we needed to restrain taxes. I would have pointed out to her that she'd switched to the state which could not run deficits, asked if she wanted to attract the best and brightest to the legislature, etc. but my wife dragged me away and her argument would have just shifted again.

I'm left unsatisfied. So, tea partiers, what exactly are you protesting?