Party Like It's 1773 with the New American Tea Party

BlogHer Original Post

This Friday in cities across the country disgruntled, taxpaying Americans will be taking to the streets to stage a protest not seen since 1773: the new American Tea Party. Why are they protesting? People are unhappy with the excessive fiscal irresponsibility and economic waste carried out by our government so they are coming together to protest and dump tea - in St. Louis it's going into the Mississippi River.

It's a twist on the classic taxpayer revolt, all which started with a now-famous speech from a disgruntled CNBC reporter on the floor at the CME Group in Chicago.

Right Wing Sparkle writes:

It all started when CNBC's Rick Santelli called for a "Chicago Tea Party" Thursday. It was this shout out (and you have to watch it) that caused this ripple of revolution that touched a nerve. People are frustrated to no end about this stimulus bill that passed too quickly, and not even properly read by anyone who voted on it. Along comes this mortgage bailout and the frustration mounts.

During revolutionary times a small group of individuals acted together to create a watershed moment in American history. In cities like Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Washington D.C., Lansing, Houston, groups of individuals are doing the same for the conservative movement; Santelli's outburst was the flashpoint, the proverbial straw which crippled the camel, it provoked conservatives to action.

Which is odd because, as Kathy Shaidle notes:

Conservatives aren't normally the marching types.

That's putting it mildly. Watching the birth of aggressive - and not passive aggressive - conservative action is like watching the birth of a two-headed calf. It's just not something you see everyday. Conservatives, for whatever reason, do not have a record in modern history for making placards and marching in the streets. I suspect that they for too long relied on the notion that common sense would prevail on Capitol Hill and, if it didn't, well surely someone else would say something about it. Federal irresponsibility has thrived on the indulgence of political apathy.

No longer. As I write this I'm also fielding emails related to the protest here in
St. Louis, which I am helping to organize with area blogger Bill Hennessey. Myself and others are angry: we were told we had to choke down the Wall Street bailout and the stimulus bill on the premise that our economic success hinged on its passage. Remember the urgency with which these items were pushed? For what purpose? The TCOT Report highlights some of my favorites [my emphasis]:

  • $100,000 for economic relief to Maine lobster fishermen
  • $900,000 for fish management in Mobile, AL
  • $250,000 to monitor cyanobacteria blooms in the Great Lakes
  • $1.65 million for various National Textile Centers
  • $350,000 for Climate Change and Air Polutant Impacts to New England’s Rare Alpine Zone
  • $190,000 for salmon research and restoration projects in Western Alaska and interior river systems and ongoing marine productivity research
  • $200,000 for west coast weak stock salmon solutions
  • $545,000 to Hubbs SeaWorld for various projects
  • $700,000 for Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Research
  • $150,000 for Lobster Research in Augusta, Maine
  • $1,000,000 for continued research into the New England scallop fishery, to promote sustainability
  • $500,000 for an oyster hatchery economic pilot program
  • $7,100,000 for the conservation and recovery of endangered Hawaiian sea turtle populations
  • $100,000 to prevent the spread of exotic aquatic weeds such as millfoil and others in NH lakes
  • $360,000 to purchase, install, and maintain rain gauges
  • $3,000,000 funding for climate research at nationwide sites (Reid and Schumer are two of the sponsors)
  • $3,000,000 for continued research and development of new methods to protect, preserve, and improve the health of multi-species fisheries in New England
  • $10,000,000 to provide economic assistance, equally divided between states of Maryland and Virginia, to watermen and communities impacted by the Secretary of Commerce’s blue crab disaster declaration of September 22, 2008.
  • $4,600,000 to restore oyster habitat and plant disease free oysters in scientifically selected sites throughout Chesapeake Bay.
  • $1,600,000 for citizen-driven environmental protection in Olympia, WA
  • $10,550,000 for weather research in the Gulf of Mexico
  • $1,000,000 for the CORE Philly Scholarship Program
  • $2,000,000 for the counties of Accomack and Northampton for broadband deployment
  • $1,000,000 for advanced robotics for lunar and Martian exploration
  • $2,200,000 to recruit minority students who will pursue careers in the sciences in New York.
  • Unspecified amount of money for bill language making the State of Nevada eligible for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (Harry Reid)
  • $188,000 for drug abuse alternatives center in Santa Rosa, CA
  • $ 8 billion for "high speed rail" from Disneyland in Anaheim, CA to Las Vegas
  • $30 million for a salt marsh mouse study in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • You can get a state-by-state break down of financial allocations at www.StimulusWatch.org. Like here in Missouri, we're spending it on playground equipment and golf course renovations.

    Oh, and some was spent on a Sheryl Crow concert, parties, and swag (by one of the banks that received bailout cash). Because remember! We handed Wall Street wads of cash with no rules.

    THIS is why we're protesting. Sure, some of the projects listed to receive stimulus cash are warranted but there is a massive amount of unnecessary spending. I love playground equipment just as much as the next person, but will it tank our economy to NOT get it? No.

    Personally, I question whether any of it is necessary, considering that this spending will jack up our deficit from 1.3 trillion dollars to 1.5 trillion - which President Obama plans to offset by increasing taxes on the people who pay most of the taxes, essentially penalizing people for daring to achieve the American dream. In addition, the President plans to raise capital gains taxes (yes, some are still seeing a return on their investments, though it's not a majority at the moment) which will absolutely kill the incentive to invest. To raise taxes during a recession is economic suicide. Just ask Japan about the 90s and their "lost years."Wall Street is trying to send the message "DO NOT WANT" but not many in D.C. appear to be listening. 

    An aside - I'm not rich by any means. I clip coupons, drink generic soda, buy on sale; I haven't visited a salon since summer and we've only ever owned pre-owned vehicles. However, just because I'm not swimming through cash like Scrooge McDuck doesn't mean that I begrudge the people who are because they've made wise decisions or made the most of the opportunities they encountered.That's what's great about America: we all have the same potential.

    This is the spirit of the protest: decrying waste while celebrating American ingenuity. Such a spirit knows no political party.

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