By Ronald Kessler
April 14, 2009
More than 2,000 so-called tea parties are scheduled to take place around tax day this week, representing the biggest taxpayer protests ever, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, tells Newsmax.
Income tax rates have not been raised since Bill Clinton was president, and President Obama’s tax increases take effect in two years.
“But interestingly, the reaction is to the spending,” Norquist says. “People realize more spending will lead to tax increases. It’s a very sophisticated response from Americans. There are 2,000 of these tea party demonstrations scheduled around the country to take place around April 15. That is the biggest ever collection of taxpayer demonstrations that has ever taken place in the United States.”
While ATR and conservative coalition activists who attend weekly meetings sponsored by ATR are in touch with organizers of the nationwide tea party rallies, “The good news is these are self-generated demonstrations,” Norquist says.
Let Freedom Ring and the Institute for Liberty, both conservative advocacy groups, are organizing a “mobile petition” that will allow activists to send protests over their cell phones to Obama, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and their own members of Congress. To sign up for the petition, tea party attendees and others will text the words “Tea Party” to 74362 on their mobile phones.
The petition reads, “We, the undersigned American taxpayers, do not believe that the United States can tax, spend, and borrow its way back to economic prosperity. We call on you to lead the fight to make Washington tighten its belt rather than make us tighten ours.”
What sparked the tea parties was a rant by Rick Santelli of CNBC complaining that Obama's $75 billion bailout of mortgage defaulters “rewarded bad behavior.” As traders at the Chicago Board of Trade behind him cheered, Santelli called for a new Tea Party, referring to the protest against British taxes in 1773 by colonists who dumped three shiploads of tea into Boston Harbor.
The remarks spread through e-mails and Web sites such as YouTube, which has had more than 1 million views of the Santelli video clip. Tea parties were organized in cities like Denver, Atlanta, and St. Louis. Some were attended by thousands.
An organization called Taxed Enough Already is coordinating the events through its Web site, TeaPartyDay.com.
What Obama is doing, Norquist says, is “spending trillions of dollars we don’t have. We’re either going to end up with massive tax increases that will act like a body blow to the economy, like somebody took a sledge hammer to the economy, or there’ll be this massive monetization of the debt where they end up inflating the currency, just like President Carter did. We’re going to pay for this one way or the other, in higher prices everywhere and higher taxes.”
Norquist points out that the economy is already beginning to recover by itself without massive amounts .of stimulus money being. “I don’t think taking money out of one side of the economy and putting it into the other actually helps the economy,” he says.
Obama’s reckless spending gives Republicans an opportunity to take the House back in 2010, Norquist predicts.
“The fact that people can be worried, scared and angry now, in anticipation of things that haven’t happened yet, makes me optimistic that people can remain angry, scared, and concerned in November 2010,” Norquist says.