Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tax Day

I finished my taxes last month, so that aspect of tax day was a non-event for me.

Instead, Wendy & I attended the Denver Tax Tea Party.  As I understand it, it was a protest against the out of control government spending. 


This was my first political protest or rally type event, so I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know personally know anyone that was going, so I was a little worried that I’d be standing there alone with some crickets chirping in the background. As it happens I’d guess over 1,000 people were there, maybe 2,000. I’d count that as a pretty good crowd.


As I said, I personally was there because I think the government spending, particularly bailout spending, has been completely out of control recently. This isn’t a partisan or anti-Obama position in my opinion. It’s about the principal that people and companies should face the consequences of their decisions, rather than foisting them off on the rest of us. That applies equally to investment bankers, insurance executives, home buyers and shareholders. I also think that throwing around a trillion here and a trillion there adds up to real money pretty damn fast.


Of course others were there for other reasons. There were some attacks against Obama personally, for example questioning his citizenship or heritage. I don’t think that was particularly constructive, but everyone can have their opinion. There were also some pro-lifers, anti-immigrationers, and even a “down with the Federal Reserve” group, all of which struck me as off-topic.


Although none of them were as baffling as the guys wearing Guy Fawkes masks playing Jonathon Coulton on a boombox. All I can figure is that they were advocating blowing up Congress. Although that would substantially improve the level of discourse there, I think that’s a bit extreme.



I’ve been checking out some of the coverage of the protests. I think it’s interesting how it’s been spun. For instance, nearly every news outlet referred to it as “Fox News hyped” or “Republican backed.” Apparently Fox did hype it, although the first I heard of that was CNN talking about it after the fact. Apparently they did a poor job of hyping it. Regardless, I think it’s a silly criticism. Just because a news channel jumped on the bandwagon doesn’t mean they own it. You might as well belittle Obama as “the MSNBC backed president.”


I’ve also noticed a lot of commentators claiming that the protest is ridiculous because taxes have not been significantly raised yet. Even Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman jumped in, and threw in some partisan name calling that would be the pride of any eighth grade recess. I know my taxes haven’t gone up yet. But what about next year? Where else is all the money to pay off that debt going to come from?


CNN reporter Susan Roesgen wins my personal prize for least-objective journalism of the day. I’m pretty sure objective interviewing does not require that you belittle, interrupt, and openly argue with the interviewee, before dismissing them as “anti-CNN.” I think she missed the idea that reporters report the news, instead of dictating it.


All in all, it’s been an educational experience for me. Maybe we even discouraged the government from throwing away more of our money in the future. Unlikely, I know, but I can still Hope they’ll Change their ways.

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