My four year old is obsessed with tea parties right now. If she were aware that tomorrow was National Tea Party Day, she’d be absolutely delighted. Once she realized that meant little in the way of fancy dresses, she’d be pretty disappointed. Thousands of taxpayers across America, however, are energized about the National Tea Party Day.
National Tea Party Day will take place on Tax Day, April 15. Organizers hope to see high numbers at the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party rallies across the country. There are, as of this writing, 2,027 cities hosting tea parties – you can find one near you on their web site.
While I’ll admit to being intrigued at the idea of a tax protest, I was quickly disappointed when I visited the site. I agree that our deficit it out of control. I am concerned about selling our debt to countries like China. I am not a fan of special interest groups. And those of you who follow the site know that.
It was, then, dispiriting to see an opportunity to have a conversation about real tax policy (something I’d love to see in this country) devolve into a political diatribe. On the front page, mixed in with concerns about tax, there are such tidbits as criticizing the Congress and the President who would “appoint a defender of child pornography to the Number 2 position in the Justice Department” and “want to force doctors and other medical workers to perform abortions against their will.” Abortion and judicial appointments? Really? There are also concerns rallying against immigration, universal health care and more – though at least those parts could arguably be linked to tax.
Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I’m not criticizing the politics (though I clearly don’t agree with all of them). I’m just surprised that the organizers of the event have passed on the occasion to make a unified statement about our tax system that would have appealed to the general population – and instead let it become a shockingly disjointed display of “values” (however you define those).
Why can’t we just talk about tax? Wouldn’t that be a great thing to do at a Tax Day Tea Party? All that stuff that organizers buried on the News Page? Tax effects on the middle class? Charitable contribution limits? Skyrocketing deficits? That’s the stuff that will get people talking. That would have made for an awesome Tea Party on Tax Day.
I tried to reach out to some tea partygoers on twitter – but no takers for an interview. (Quick update: I’ve been promised some feedback from one of the parties – come back for the scoop!)