Here’s why I can’t take these “tea party” protests seriously: In an op-ed in the WSJ, Glenn Reynolds’ first sentence declares that thousands of taxpayers are taking to the streets “to protest higher taxes and out-of-control government spending.” If government spending is your pet peeve, then fine, protest the Obama administration’s spending projects, but please try to offer an alternative, reasonable way to stimulate the economy.
But to protest taxes after one of the biggest tax cuts in American history? Come on. Most of the protesters at these tea bagging parties are paying lower taxes thanks to the Obama administration’s stimulus package. Obama’s tax cut was larger than cuts passed under Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. This would be like anti-war protesters protesting troop withdrawals, or PETA protesting against endangered species protections. It doesn’t make sense.
And to top it all off, participants like Glenn Reynolds are trying to portray it as a mass uprising against the socialists of the Obama administration. But public polling paints a very different picture. Public polling shows that most Americans—71%—approve of the way Obama is handling the economy. Public polling shows more Americans are okay with the amount of taxes they are paying than any point since 1956.
The problem is, many of the people protesting today don’t have any idea what they’re really mad about, or if they do, they aren’t conveying the message with clarity. It’s like Glenn Beck pouring gasoline over an “average American” to express his disgust with Obama’s immigration plans—it’s over-the-top and the intended symbolism only gets through to the handful of individuals who already agree with him.
It’s just undirected anger, that was conspicuously absent when the Bush administration was running up deficits, bailing out Wall Street, and pouring billions into an unnecessary war.
Cross-posted at Ablogistan.