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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 30, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Bruce Ramsey on tea parties

Important projects are not tax burdens

Your opinion page on April 29 was very interesting.

Bruce Ramsey’s column talked about the tea-party movement of frustrated taxpayers who think they are overburdened [“Tea-party frustration had real roots,” Opinion]. The nearby editorials talked about:

  • The progress we’ve made to prepare for public-health threats [“Ready for swine flu,” editorial] –federal, state, county and perhaps local governments paid for that.
  • Preservation of 7,000 acres of forestland in King County [“Nurturing a verdant vision,” editorial] –paid for by state and county governments.
  • Coming redevelopment of the Seattle waterfront for public use [“Harnessing the potential of Seattle’s waterfront,” Cary Bozeman guest commentary] –paid for by state, county and local governments.

Those are but a very few of the things we taxpayers are “burdened” to pay for — but they’re things that are important to our lives and that we as individuals need to band together to pay for. The banding together is what paying taxes is all about.

— Linnea Hirst, Seattle

Point of tea parties shrouded by hypocrisy

What gets me about Bruce Ramsey’s mock indignation (read: hypocrisy) about the Obama administration’s spending is the fact that he wasn’t expressing the same indignation about the deficit spending of the Bush administration that got us into this mess.

Where were the protests about the deficits created by decreasing taxes on the rich? Where were all the protests about the fraud and corruption and outright theft of taxpayer dollars from no-bid contracts for the Iraq war? Where were all the protests about the deregulation of the finance industry that now jeopardizes the flow of credit and devalues our currency?

The tea-party participants had several years to protest these things, and yet they only protest the actions of the president who’s actually trying to fix the situation.

The irony of the tea parties is that they occurred after Obama approved far-reaching middle class tax cuts. This is why the majority of Americans don’t view the tea-party participants’ issues as valid –we know hypocrisy when we see it.

— Laura R. Standley, Des Moines

Tea protesters are out-of-touch minority

The theme of the original Boston Tea Party was, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” What is not tyranny is taxation with representation, laws and policies enacted by a democratically elected legislature representing the will of the electorate.

The great majority of this state, and this country, support President Obama and the various Democratic legislative bodies. This is borne out by the overwhelming majorities we saw in the most recent election and the subsequent opinion polls.

Bruce Ramsey and his political allies certainly have the right to demonstrate their views, but not to complain about mistreatment when they are not shared by the majority, the way a 5-year-old defines “unfair” as “whatever opposes my interests.” The 5,000 protesters in Olympia were not the vanguard of a great populist rebellion, but the dwindled-down core of true believers, representing no one but themselves.

The right enjoyed eight years of leadership under President Bush, the first six controlling all three branches of government. We all know how disastrous this has been for our country. Now, after only 100 days in a Democratic administration, we hear conservative commentators treasonously espousing armed rebellion, the governor of Texas treasonously endorsing secession, and pundits like Ramsey recalling the Revolutionary War.

Perhaps it’s time to stop giving such fringe voices outlets like your editorial page for their increasingly out-of-touch rants.

— Joel Schwartz, Seattle

Comments | More in Politics, Taxes

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