The Boston Tea Party is one of those iconic moments in the history of the American Revolution that every child learns about at an early age and continually revisits during his or her studies of American history. “No Taxation without representation,” was the battle cry of those protesting the Tea Act, a violation of a then imagined constitutional right to be taxed only by elected representatives. That was December 16th, 1773.
Fast forward to 235 years and six months later. All across the country communities saw various Tea Parties protesting taxes on April 15th, commonly called Tax Day.
Or rampant government spending.
Or if President Obama is, in fact, a natural born citizen of the United States.
In Texas, perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the signs protesters held even called for secession from the Union. Not only is the true meaning behind the tea parties seemingly a mixed message, but so is the origin of the idea. Some state it’s a grassroots organization, some claiming it’s sponsored by Fox Business News, The Republican National Committee or Americans for Tax Reform or even Rick Santelli. Never mind the fact that the Libertarians have been holding protests in favor of a flat sales tax every year on Tax Day.
A more concise message could have greatly aided in the movement. Holding it on Tax day offers the impression that it’s taxes that are being protested, rather than spending. Like a lot of protests of this size (some estimates state there were almost a thousand different gatherings, with attendance in the tens of thousands) there seemed to be a lack of focus. Was it simply about taxes? Doubtful. Recent Gallup polls state that nearly half (46%) of Americans say the amount of federal income taxes they have to pay is too high, down compared to years past, and majority (61%) say the amount of income tax they have to pay is fair. General consensus puts the aim of the protests against runaway deficit spending, a reasonable protest these days as we hear every week about more money being spent to bail out companies or about record budgets.