Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Surly, selfish, and sour: Tea partiers show up at statehouse to grumble about taxes

This morning, several hundred of Washington's most ardent conservatives and libertarians showed up on the north side of Washington's Legislative Building to chant anti-Obama slogans, grumble about the Legislature's decision to suspend Tim Eyman's Initiative 960, and jeer at public employees.

The event, organized by the right wing Evergreen Freedom Foundation, drew about five hundred people, in advance of a rally organized by the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition (of which NPI is a member) which drew close to two thousand people. (The State Patrol has suggested that attendance at both events was much higher; we were there and we believe their estimates are inflated).

Most of the homemade signs that tea partiers were carrying read No new taxes, or something to that effect. There were, however, some sillier and more pathetic messages. Here's a sampling of my favorites:
Bumper stickers
Feed the Mooches
Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Palin
He's Not the Messiah
I Love Global Warming
Obama bin Lyin

Get Rid of the Queen
Recall Gregoire
Atlas Has Shrugged
Slavery Redux 2010
the great Peasant Revolt of 2010 begins
Shut Down Medicare Now! Is Socialism! Go Palin 2012!
Time to Roll Back Taxes Like Wal-Mart Rolls Back Prices
Obama and his Czars Create the Soviet States of America
Suspend 960 November 2010 Your Fired
Naturally, Tim Eyman showed up to circulate petitions for his Initiative 960 do-over (Initiative 1053) and xenophobic tea partiers were circulating petitions for an anti-immigrant measure (Initiative 1056).

The speechifying, organized by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, lasted for about an hour before the rally broke up. The shorter version of it was No taxes good, Legislature bad. Nobody in the crowd bothered to acknowledge the link between the tax dollars we pay (our membership dues to Washington State) and the services we get in return.

Libertarian sign calling for end to Medicare

One person did have a sign calling for Medicare to be abolished (as noted above), and although we at NPI disagree with him, we commend him for being honest about what he believes. We suspect, however, that most of the people who came to the statehouse to grouse about taxes today are looking for a free lunch. They want public services to exist; they just don't want to have to pay for them.


Blogger tiresias said...

No, the folks who showed up to protest taxes today aren't looking for a free lunch. They don't want all the public services that exist today to continue to exist because those programs are funded by taking the property (money) of one person and forcefully giving it to another, thereby impinging on the rights of the person from whom the property was taken. They don't want to pay much in taxes, and they don't want much in return.

February 15, 2010 8:51 PM  
Blogger Thomas Ardour said...

I concur with Tiresias, I showed up at the Tea Party rally because the state has increased spending by 31%, meanwhile claiming that they are "cutting spending". I protest to new taxes in an economic climate where businesses are struggling to survive. We need to keep spending at the same level or lower to allow our businesses and jobs to recover! I am not against paying taxes, I just don't want to pay any new taxes!

February 16, 2010 9:46 AM  
Blogger Steve Zemke said...

To keep spending at the same level means raising new revenues. Otherwise you are cutting jobs and services.
The issue is one of fair taxes. We have the most regressive state tax structure in the county; we need to not increase taxes on lower and middle income folks but ask that higher income folks pay their fair shares. We need to end special interest tax breaks that do not provide a significant return to the state. If a tax exemption claimed it would create new jobs in our state but didn't why should we continue giving them an unfair tax break at the expense of the rest of us. Unfortunately I-960 also allowed a minority of only 1/3 of the Legislators in either house the ability to prevent repealing non-performing tax breaks. That is a good reason to suspend I-960 to make changes to not waste tax dollars.

February 16, 2010 10:17 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

WOW. The first rally drew 500 and the second drew 2000!? THAT is some biased nonsense right there. I'd place the first rally numbers at about 3000 and the second rally numbers at about 3500. They were almost the same size.

Here's why the turnout of the first event is more relevant: The "reduce spending" rally was made up of individual citizens from around the state who took time out of their lives to rally on behalf of overburdened taxpayers who couldn't be there. Their motives were driven by principal and were much more pure that those of the second rally.

The "increase taxes" rally, first of all, had a LOT of school-age children being paraded around by the union organizers. These kids had no idea what the two sides were about and should not be counted as attendees. Second, every person at the second rally was there for money. Greed. Almost all of the people at the pro-tax rally make their living off of the tax money. A much smaller number of the group are people who live on government programs, which is still considered living off of the government.

You can write off these silly conservatives as much as you want, but the wave of reform is in full swing, and it's time to return to the principals that this nation was founded on: Less government, more liberty.

February 16, 2010 12:53 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Kris, your own baseless estimate is one half more than what the State Patrol estimate. And their own estimate was inflated. We know because we were there and we did a rough count.

When there's a big crowd with signs, it often looks like there are more people than there are.

If you noticed, the post says the second rally was not 5,500 people either (the State Patrol's estimate).

The fantasy numbers you've offered are clearly biased: You are suggesting the State Patrol lowballed your numbers and exaggerated the numbers of the second rally. That makes no sense. Unless you actually believe the State Patrol are purposely making up bad estimates rather than mistakenly exaggerating (as we believe they are).

This country, by the way, was not founded upon conservative principles (and the word principles does not have an "a" in it, that's a different word). Rather, America was founded upon liberal/progressive ideals. The founders believed in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. They obviously did not believe government was evil, or they would not have replaced the Articles of Confederation with a Constitution creating a strong federal government, complete with a Bill of Rights to guarantee our liberties. Try reading what the founders actually wrote sometime, instead of allowing conservative proselytizers to interpret their words for you.

February 16, 2010 1:06 PM  
Blogger Thomas Ardour said...


I have no idea where you're getting your "several hundred" figure because the police estimated thousands of Tea Partiers! See the Seattle Times article:
From the Seattle Times article: "A crowd that State Patrol officers pegged at around 3,000 people chanted 'No more tax!'"

Or judge for yourself...For anyone who is interested, you can also see pictures of the crowd for yourself here:

As for not increasing taxes on the lower and middle classes, Andrew, please explain to me exactly who would bear the burdern of a 1% sales tax increase? Are you under the impression that only rich people want to buy things? And this is only ONE of the 11 billion possible tax increase bills on the table! And please stop using the term "raising revenues". The correct term you're looking for is "raising taxes". I know it doesn't sound as "nice", but it is exactly the same thing.

Finally, I take issue with the idea that we should raise taxes on the rich. For those of us who are employed by the private sector, and there are many of us, we actually get our jobs from those people. And guess what, it's those business owners who will get hit hardest by tax increases, and if we hit them hard with taxes, how are their businesses going to fair? Do you really think that government can "create jobs"? Only businesses can do that! I realize that raising taxes is good for the union workers, but you cannot convince me that raising taxes on is going to improve this state's private sector and our overall economy. It's simple economics!

So, yes, we need to keep taxes at their current level, or lower them and cut where we can. This is the only road forward to economic prosperity for the people of Washington. We need to cut taxes, just like any responsible family would do when times get tough. A responsible family certainly doesn't go next door and ask/take money from their neighbors. We're all in this together.

February 16, 2010 11:13 PM  

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