A Warning About The Tea Parties

A number of people I have spoken with are planning to attend a “tea party” tomorrow, so I thought it might be a good idea to write about this.  They are not what they claim to be.  They are not “spontaneous” or “grassroots.”  They are another corporate-funded campaign to trick people into supporting more cut taxes for the rich.

The idea is supposed to have started on February 19, when Rick Santelli of CNBC “spontaneously” complained about plans (click link for video) to help people avoid foreclosure, saying this is the government “subsidizing the loser’s mortgages.”  Santelli called for organizing a “Chicago tea party” against helping people pay their mortgages.  But investigators starting finding clues that the on-air rant was not spontaneous, and signs that the campaign was organized by the right-wing, corporate-funded Freedomworks .  According to a March 2 New York Times story,

“Mr. Santelli’s televised commentary appeared spontaneous to viewers. However, the Internet domain name ChicagoTeaParty.com was registered in August 2008 — well before his commentary — but not used until afterwards.”

The events have been widely promoted by corporate-funded conservative PR professionals who specialize in “astroturf.”  This is a term for the use of money to create an appearance of widespread “grassroots” support.  Currently the corporate-funded conservative lobbying groups Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity, are organizing the events and conservative media including talk radio and FOX News are widely promoting them.  Support appears to be coming from Koch Industries, the largest privately-owned company in the country.  According to the Think Progress blog post, Spontaneous Uprising? Corporate Lobbyists Helping To Orchestrate Radical Anti-Obama Tea Party Protests,

“This type of corporate ‘astroturfing
is nothing new to either organization. While working to promote Social
Security privatization, Freedom Works was caught planting one of its
operatives as a “single mom
to ask questions to President Bush in a town hall on the subject. Last
year, the Wall Street Journal exposed Freedom Works for similarly
building “amateur-looking” websites to promote the lobbying interests of Dick Armey …

Americans for Prosperity is run by Tim Phillips, [a] former partner in the lobbying firm Century Strategies. The group is funded by Koch family foundations — a family whose wealth is derived from the oil industry. Indeed Americans for Prosperity has coordinated pro-drilling ‘grassroots‘ events around the country.”

The “tea parties” are promoted as a “grassroots uprising” against “high taxes.”  Tea stands for “Taxes Enough Already.”  However, 95% of Americans will received a tax cut in the next year if the upcoming Obama budget passes.  Only Americans with incomes above $250,000 will receive a small tax increase — and even then their taxes will be much lower than almost any time in the last 80 or so years.   This increase on the top incomes will help pay for some of the Republican-caused economic damage as well as reduce the budget deficits that the country has faced ever since the same income group received tax cuts after George W. Bush was elected.  (This is similar to the tax increase in first Clinton budget that led to the great economy of the 1990s and large budget surpluses.)

The other complaint from tea party organizers is that President Obama is “spending too much.”  The increased spending in the stimulus package and upcoming budget funds education, unemployment checks, efforts to ward off foreclosures and other programs designed to help bring us out of the recession and provide jobs.  These are programs that benefit regular people instead of big corporations and the rich.

So regular people who go to these corporate-organized tea parties are asking the government to undo their own tax cuts and reduce their own government services in order to keep taxes low for the very rich.  I wonder if people have really thought this through?

30 thoughts on “A Warning About The Tea Parties

  1. I believe your information is incorrect. The Obama 2010 Budget contains $1.96 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years. It cuts taxes by $614 billion, for a net tax hike of $1.35 trillion. The budget overstates the amount of tax relief at $940 billion by including the “refundable” portion of certain provisions, which amounts to $326 billion worth of “refund checks” (I call this WELFARE) which the budget itself admits is spending in a footnote.
    info found on: americansforprosperity.org

  2. Very well done. There was always the question in my mind, “Why would average Americans who make less than 50K a year rally in support of people who make hundreds of thousands or millions more than them?” The answer is simple, as always, like the conversation the businessman had with Dustin Hoffman’s character in the Graduate which was summarized with a similar single word, “astroturf.”
    Great blog. Keep up the good work!

  3. Who wants to be a ward of the state? Anyone who would give up their liberty for a little security from the government is worthy of neither.

  4. Yes, the Obama budget raises taxes a small bit on people making over $250,000 a year. I saw an analysis that shows that someone making $350,000 would pay an additional $8.22 a day in taxes on that $100K.
    The reason that this raises so much money is because there are people who now make hundreds of millions each year. So a small tax increase on huge incomes brings in a lot.
    Also, why are you calling at tax cut for 95% of the public “welfare” but compolaining about a small increase on the extremely rich?

  5. Oh, never mind, I see that you are from Americans for Prosperity — one of the corporate-funded groups that is putting on the tea parties. So THAT explains why you call tax cuts for regular people “welfare” while advocating tax cuts for the very rich.

  6. TeaParty participants are AMERICANS. Many of the organizers are Democrats. There is a lot of “voter’s remorse” in this country. Many like me, believe the current administration is spending our country into the ground. Obama has increased the national debt, period. He didn’t inherit the current budget, he’s promoting it. Wake up!

  7. People are eating up the message that their taxes are going up. Example:
    Yesterday, in a busy lunch line at the Subway Sanwich shop, the clerk was overcharging me by $1.61 and the woman next to me said “taxes have gone up.”
    I responded, “But $1.61 taxes on a $5.99 sandwich can’t be right. That’s over 25%!”
    She: “Well they’ve gone up a lot.”
    She didn’t appear to know basic arithmetic and was totally oblivious to what the tax rates are. Didn’t Ca. just raised the sales tax by 0.5%?

  8. Why don’t you wake up and smell the coffee (it’s Folgers :D)?
    We’ve been moving towards this for a while, and us, as AMERICANS, as you so fully-capitalized, were too ignorant and stupid to look up and go “Hey why are these people paying less in taxes then their secretaries? Isn’t the tax policy in this country progressive not regressive?”
    And when someone takes office that you know, actually KNOWS the nuances and paradoxes in economics (oddly enough, the way to drive a nation out of debt and stimulate the economy is government to borrow and spend, hell, it even works algebraically).
    GDP = Consumption + Investment + Government Spending + (Exports – Imports)
    70% of our GDP was Consumption – us buying things.
    That took a downturn along with investments, and we’ve had a trade deficit for a long while since we don’t really make things anymore.
    The only logical step is to have our government spend a bit to get us propped up. But you know, that’s just overspending and pork and more debt.
    But nobody said “Hey this isn’t economically sound” when we were invading countries we didn’t need to and were completely ignoring the housing bubble that was on the verge of exploding. We didn’t rein in the insane risks Wall Street were taking.
    And now we’re protesting things that can help because some lobbying firm decided to make it look “grassroots?” Oh wait, things go in cycles. We’re too ignorant, stupid, and easily scared to even look past the curtain and see that the lobbying firms are once again putting their hands up our butts and using us like puppets. At this point we’re not even marionettes.

  9. How can the 45% of workers who pay zero income taxes expect any government services.
    It doesn’t make sense.
    This explains it all:
    A very small number of taxpayers — the 10% of the country that makes more than $92,400 a year — pay 72.4% of the nation’s income taxes. They’re the tip of the triangle that’s supporting virtually everyone and everything. Their burden keeps getting heavier.
    Today, Mr. Obama and many congressional Democrats want the “wealthy” to pay even more so there is more money for them to redistribute. The president says he wants the wealthy to pay their “fair share.” Who can argue with that? But he never defines what that means. Is it fair for 10% to pay 70% of the income tax? Does he believe they should pay 75%, or 95%, or does fairness mean they should pay it all? It’s clever politics to speak like that, but it is risky policy

  10. This blog is very dishonest.
    How can you cut taxes for 95% of Americans when the bottom 40-50% don’t pay any income taxes at all?
    You can’t.
    It’s a big lie by Obama and his Koolaid drinkers like the writer of this blog.
    What you can do is give that 40-50% who don’t pay taxes cash money that they didn’t earn from someone who actually did work and earn it.
    Hmmm… whats that called?……

  11. The California Labor Unions have been astroturfing their “workers rights” events for decades. But this blog doesn’t seem to care when it favors their political agenda. Every movement needs organization, astroturfing is an inevitable part of poltiics.

  12. Does anyone have pictures from the Bay area tea party protests. I’m working all day so I can’t check them out. Most of the images I’ve seen have been from DC and places that are not in the Bay Area. Thanks.

  13. At a tea party in Texas that state’s Republican governor talked of seceding from the union — leaving America.
    So are you SURE the people at these tea parties are Americans? Some of them are talking of hating America and leaving it.

  14. Sorry, union MEMBERS turning out is people, citizens, actual grassroots. We’re talking about corporations paying for the appearance of popular support. That is the definition of astroturf — corporate-manufactured grassroots.

  15. Would it be possible for you to name these corporate schemers as I find it difficult to believe that most every state in America had tea parties today. This is NOT a conspiracy by the right. I live in Memphis which is 90% democrat. Audobon park had thousands of protesters…….logic would lead you to believe that all cannot possibly be “right” minded. There are just too many people attending for anyone to claim the right to call themselves the progenitors of this movement. The logistics required for the entire nation to pull this off are of a scale almost impossible to grasp. Soooooo give us some citation to verify your ideas.

  16. The links in the post DO name names. The corporate-funded organizations that put this together are Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity. Each of these organizations takes in millions from corporations to promote anti-government and anti-tax ideas and events.
    These organizations complain about “big government” and promote that corporations should be less regulated and less taxed.
    We, the People are the governemnt here. WE make the decisions. Big, strong governemnt means We, the People are strong in our ability to decide for ourselves how to run our country. So if you are against strong governemnt you are against the idea that We the People should be the ones making the decisions. And deregulation means we stop having rules for how corporations should operate. So it is corporations making the decisions or us. There isn’t really another choice there.
    Also, if you are against corporations and the rich paying more taxes, that necessarily means that the regular people have to put up the monehy to pay for the roads and bridges and schools instead. And those roads and bridges are the investment from which the big corporations reap the return that they don’t want taxed!
    The anti-government rallies today really are about letting the big corporations have a free reign, and against the idea that We, the People make the rules. Think about that.

  17. I’m a soldier, and injured soldier based in San Antonio. People don’t get more American than those in the military that defend the United States. I was at the San Antonio Tea Party because I want my taxes to go to the military and education, not welfare and handout. I feel the same about all the bailout’s, Bush’s and Obama’s, they’re the same. But according to you I hate the America I defended with my life, nice.

  18. I did NOT say that you hate America. I said that talking about seceding from the union is the defintion of hating America. But wouldn’t you agree with that?
    That’s what the South did to start the civil war. They hated America enough to leave and start a new country.
    It sounds like you do not agree with Gov. Perry that Texas should leave the United States, so no I would NOT say that you hate America.

  19. You Sir, are drinking the KoolAid.
    This country was founded on an INDIVIDUALS liberty. Remember George the 3rds big all encompassing government trying to quash those pestky rebel neardo wells? who had the nerve to protest excessive taxation to fund things they had no say in, It’s the same thing as today, We have had ENOUGH! If you really care about the little guy, remember, the smallest minority group is the individual.

  20. Thank you and agreed, but you must not have listened to all that Gov. Perry said. He said that some Texans are thinking of seceding not him. And these rallies are not anti-government, they’re anti-waste. Hardly anyone at the San Antonio tea party was against taxes, they’re against government waste and a lack of accountability. And if you happened to catch Glenn Beck’s program you would have seen that everyone cheered equally as loud that both parties are no good. None of us want anarchy or no taxes, we want responsibility.

  21. He was actually advocating states rights, which the federal government is doing it’s very best to trample. The Federal government is supposed to be the backup to the individual states, but it is slowly but surely becoming the other way around —-Federal government running the show and to heck with what the states want. Under the spending bill passed, the feds have tried to push money onto states but only if they continue with the additional programs even after the federal money is gone. This takes decision making out of the states hands regarding how they want to spend their own money. good for Rick Perry to stand up to the federal government.

  22. The Republicans lost the 2006 midterms elections and eventually The White House to an articulate, inexperienced junior Senator from Illinois for several reasons. But foremost of these is that Republicans failed to recognize the desire for change and the real groundswell of legitimate grassroots support that propelled it. Republicans were dismissive and arrogant about the “Hope and Change” movement and it cost them dearly. As an independent conservative it encourages me to see this author making the same mistake….this is exactly the dismissive arrogance that will cost President Obama and the Democrats their majorities.
    I really don’t care, when they were put together, when the domain names were bought or what PR firms were involved. It still doesn’t change the fact that people showed up…and in large numbers.
    This is perfect.

  23. I paid $19.40 to ride a bus from Seymour WI to Madison, WI – a ride of two and a half hours – with 25 other like minded citizens who are concerned not for themselves but for their children and grandchildren. 5,000 people from 72 counties gathered to hear some white people and black people and old people and young people speak. Basically – we are worried about the level of government spending. It is inflationary and will affect the value of the earnings of our kids who are paying enormous sums to attend college in hopes of making money that they can spend on their own families.

  24. Cut waste or fraud from developmental, community, and regional centers. The autism disabled consumers received money/funds from group homes and IHHS while state also funds/pays developmental and regional centers. Is it double payments/funds by taxpayer’s money? This is waste of taxpayer’s money. Don’t forget these agencies keep expanding their costs to state and taxpayers.
    State should stop or cut funding developmental, community, and regional centers

  25. Americans are waking up to George Soros and all his little shadow men. We read bills and we do know good and evil. And there is nothing good about any of these high ,and speed bills coming out of the appolo group, and reid and pelosky.

  26. Excuse me, but WE WON the civil war. Fast forward to the folks that have never gotten over it. Those who foam at the mouth about “states rights” are still at the tit of the federal government for everything they can get. Perry talked secession while at the same time is a governor who has accepted more federal money than most. “I hate the government, but DON’T TOUCH MY SOCIAL SECURITY AND MY MEDICARE”. lol

  27. As stated from a sage of old, the masses are truly tea drinking bubble headed asses

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