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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 19, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Tax day tea parties

Real protests against inefficient, unresponsive government

Editor, The Times:

The tea parties are very real protests [“Tax rallies say: Enough already,” page one, April 16]. Fry cooks to physicians from a broad range of political backgrounds are very sincere in their concern for the future freedom — both physical and economic — of this nation. These people, most of whom have never protested, say they feel our nation is in such peril that they are compelled to protest.

<img

src=”http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2009/04/17/2009077615.jpg”

width=”450″ class=”pic” />

Harry Cabluck / The Associated Press

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, foreground, speaks to the crowd during a “Don’t Mess With Texas” tea0party rally at Austin City Hall Wednesday

We are saying that the government is out of control. This isn’t merely a response to President Obama. It is a response to a government that is decreasingly concerned about the people it represents. It is also a warning to our elected officials to either represent their constituents responsibly or be voted out of office.

Why are people upset? Here are a few examples: The tax cut was provided by borrowing money; our national debt is skyrocketing; the stimulus package passed before legislators had time to read it; inefficient local and state governments are trying to raise taxes rather than working effectively; our government is relinquishing U.S. sovereignty to the international community, one treaty at a time.

Suffice it to say that the recent changes are simply the straws that broke the camel’s back.

— Gail Dutton, Montesano

Protesters on the wrong side of history

It was almost amusing, if not so sad, watching conservatives and Fox News hold their 750 tea parties on April 15. In classic conservative fashion, they passionately protested issues that exist only in their own paranoid imaginations.

The real facts are that taxes are the lowest they’ve been in decades, and the majority of recently polled Americans felt that they’re paying about the right amount. Furthermore, as he’s repeatedly stated, President Obama has no plans whatsoever to raise taxes on the vast majority of Americans (95 percent), but has already lowered them further. And yet incredulously — but predictably — here were thousands of pious Republicans following their leaders in protest against Obama and a slew of conjured pet issues that they love to hate.

Obama has been an excellent and unprecedented president in his short 90 days, collaborating with the best minds in the country, aggressively tackling a difficult economic crisis with wise and proactive long-term solutions, brokering deals and amending tattered global alliances, and doing everything with an emphasis on honesty, transparency and the greater interest of all Americans.

And how have Republicans responded to this? By characteristically attacking every bold, intelligent action with tired rhetoric and lies, saying that Obama has repealed the Declaration of Independence (how, exactly?), cut defense funding (he actually increased it 4 percent), and ushered in socialism (a favored sound bite to rile up the conservative masses). It’s like watching a mob of drama queens lividly protesting the sky being green, when everyone else knows it’s not.

These people are on the wrong side of history, and when my blood isn’t boiling from their latest antics, I feel sorry for them.

— Jarom Shewell, Puyallup

Protesting squandering of tax dollars

Three of the four letters you selected to print Friday on the nationwide tea-party protests sought to belittle and discredit those who participated or supported these efforts [“Tax day tea protests,” Northwest Voices, Opinion, April 17]. Why the bias?

One of the anti-tea party letters states that we all pay “a small amount of the money we earn …” for services/facilities such as fire, parks and schools. Over the past 15 years, I have consistently paid 35 to 55 percent of my income in taxes –federal income tax, Social Security, Medicare, state sales tax, property tax, gas tax, cellphone tax, electric bill tax, park fees, etc. Not only is this beyond “a small amount,” it has become very upsetting considering how our public servants squander our money.

Putting aside national issues for a moment, consider our state, county and city administrations, which I believe clearly empathize with the voices that belittle and discredit the tea parties. These administrations have all failed in their fiduciary duties — they are broke.

In the state’s case, while tax revenues are lower than projected, the amount of tax revenue Washington will collect this coming biennium is higher than the past biennium, yet the state is overdrawn by $9-10 billion — and now the state seeks, guess what, more taxes.

King County is $40-50 million behind, yet continues to give its employees generous raises and does not require that those civil servants share in the cost of their health benefits [“King County’s riches,” editorial, April 7].

The city of Seattle likewise is overdrawn and cannot even manage to plow its streets when it snows — except in the mayor’s neighborhood.

More and more government services, more and more taxes, more and more feathering of their own nests. This pattern is what the people at the tea parties are protesting.

— Erick Cody, Sammamish

Solution: pinch pennies from stock trades

While people have been protesting the possibility that future taxes will be raised to pay for federal bailouts and stimulus, an enticing idea has been floated by some economists as a means to cover these future costs. The idea is simple and straightforward: Place a small transaction tax of one penny on every stock-market trade.

In this way you tap speculation (moneymaking) and use it to invest in ventures that create real, long-term wealth (like solar technology or next-generation car batteries). At a very small cost to speculators, the nation could give itself the means to launch a real program for building the industries of tomorrow that it desperately needs. And it wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything.

Getting that penny out of the speculators will undoubtedly be a fight. But if the tea-partiers are any indication, working people won’t be ponying up the investment money anytime soon. And they shouldn’t have to. They’ve been surrendering their pennies for long enough while they work at companies that create America’s wealth.

— Thomas Sullivan, Seattle

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