As you may already know, there will be nationwide protests on April 15th, Tax Day, to protest spending and tax hikes by the Obama Administration. These protests, referred to as Tea Parties, have taken place nearly every week since Friday, February 27th (yours truly attended the Atlanta Tea Party and was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News about the events) and have been gaining notoriety and slowly more people are attending. The protest here in Atlanta had around 300 people, not bad for a cold, rainy day. Other cities have seen as many as a few thousand people show up.
These protests serve do a purpose, despite what pseudo-libertarian talk show host, Neal Boortz, says or believes. They show that everyday Americans want less spending, less government and personal responsibility. However, they are at risk of being co-opted by Republicans who either stood silently or only gave passive criticism to the spending spree of George W. Bush.
Republicans do not realize the serious credibility problems they have when it comes to criticizing the economic policies of Barck Obama. According to a recent study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, George W. Bush was the biggest spender in the last 30 years. The table to the right shows the massive increases in non-defense discretionary spending.
Sean Hannity, who will be attending the Atlanta Tea Party on April 15th, says he has criticized Republicans on spending. He has been more vocal of late about Republicans getting back to the supposed small government roots, but even he was only passive while the gross expansion of government was taking place.
Newt Gingrich and his group, American Solutions, recently announced that they were endorsing and supporting the protests. Gingrich has supported and lobbied for a $9 trillion expansion of Medicare and more recently, the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP or Wall Street bailout), which has resulted in trillions of taxpayers dollar being put at risk by a completely incompetent government. This is exactly the sort of spending that these protests are against. An argument can also be made, after reading Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, that Republicans began to lose whatever principles they claimed to have while Gingrich was Speaker of the House, something can be verified by the table above by looking at the growth in spending in the second term of Bill Clinton.
The involvement of politically polarizing figures will ruin and destroy the credibility of a good movement. Accusations of astroturfing surfaced immediately after the events on February 27th. This makes those accusations have substance.
Despite all this, concerned taxpayers should show up to these events to voice their disapproval at these economic policies that have lead us down an unsustainable path. There are several of these protests lined up on April 15th across Georgia. You can find a list here.