Posted by | April 19, 2010 17:34 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Sinfonian

It hardly seems possible, but the Tea Party “movement” sprang into the national consciousness just a year ago last week, on Tax Day (April 15), 2009.  That was the day organizers of the Tea Party in Pensacola, Fla., where I was living at the time, made the mistake of providing an open forum, and I took them up on the offer.

So much for message control…

But looking back after a year, I have to wonder whether I would address such a group today, now that the teabaggers have grown increasingly volatile, violent, and driven by hatred rather than facts.  For as we saw last week, the protests are not abating, even though the purported target of the teabaggers’ wrath, excessive taxation of the middle class, simply is not happening.  And yet the lies continue, the mainstream media obediently covers them, and once again, the truth suffers.

Last year, I told the gathering in Pensacola that everyone there who earned less than $250,000 a year would see their taxes lowered under President Obama’s economic plan.  Perhaps the protesters were being cautious … maybe they just didn’t believe it was possible.  Before it happened, some skepticism was not altogether surprising.

But it essentially happened.  The fact is that 95% of Americans experienced a reduced tax burden in 2009.  Only the wealthiest among us paid more in taxes, as the St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact confirmed last week:

During the campaign, the independent Tax Policy Center researched how Obama’s tax proposals would affect workers. It concluded 94.3 percent of workers would receive a tax cut under Obama’s plan based on the tax credit to offset payroll taxes. According to the analysis, the people who wouldn’t get a tax cut are those who make more than $250,000 for couples or $200,000 for a single person. Obama said he intended to raise taxes on those high earners, a promise he reiterated during the State of the Union, and that revenue would offset the stimulus tax cut.

Because the stimulus act did give that broad-based tax cut to workers, we rate Obama’s statement True.

Not only are income taxes down, but the federal estate tax has not been restored —  a vestige of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Yet the teabaggers continue to rail against “unfair” taxation.  Moreover, today many of them are rallying for the Second Amendment … protesting against gun confiscation that has not happened, will not happen, and cannot happen, and doing so on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.  (The significance of April 19 gun rallies, you may rest assured, is no accident.)

So what really motivates the teabaggers?  Clearly they cannot be protesting excessive taxes, as taxes are down for all but the most wealthy Americans.  Socialism?  Perhaps, but if they are, they’re directing their efforts at the wrong person, because if Barack Obama is a socialist, he’s a lousy one.  What about hatred and racism?  Well, you’re getting warmer….  The bottom line is either the teabaggers are willfully ignorant, they’re stupid, or they’re so utterly blinded by their hatred of President Obama and his efforts to clean up the mess left by his predecessor that they’re willing to be pawns of the wealthy and the American corporatocracy — with the eager collusion of the mainstream media.

In light of all this, then, would I feel safe in 2010 doing what I did in 2009?  Maybe … but I’d give it a lot more thought before I waded into the mass of misspelled signs and holstered handguns again.

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