I did my taxes today, as did many Americans. I did not do them happily, but I was also not driven into paroxysms of irrational rage like so many of those who have decided to take part in the (hilariously named) "teabagging" parties around the country today. These groups view themselves as, somehow, chanelling the spirit of Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party. The whole thing, not to put too fine a point on it, is pure, concentrated dumb.
First of all, let's remember that the heart of protest in the Boston Tea Party was "no taxation without representation." But the teabaggers are represented! In some cases, owing to the unrepresentative character of the U.S. Senate, they're overrepresented, given the size and population of their states. Far from being an undemocratic and non-consensual imposition on the U.S. people by a distant and disinterested foreign government, this is the legislation that their own elected legislators passed, and that their popularly elected president signed. This is is all the opposite of taxation without representation.
Second, although these protests are demonstrations of inchoate anger toward Barack Obama, it's worth noting that the current tax code, the one that people are out protesting today, has got nothing to do with Barack Obama, but is in fact the tax code as it was enacted under largely Republican congresses and signed over the past eight years by a Republican president. So to the degree that this is directed toward Obama and the Democrats, it misses it's desired mark.
Third, and more to the point, the Democratic Congress enacted, and Barack Obama has signed, the largest middle class tax cut in America history, of which most of the protesters today will be the beneficiaries. Far from protesting today, many of these people should be thanking the U.S. government.
Fourth, the complaints about deficits are inane. Under Bill Clinton, when the economy was booming, we actually had a chance to reduce and even elimiate the deficit. Under George Bush and a Republican Congress, the deficit exploded, along with thousands of bombs in an unjust and immoral war in Iraq, which contributed to the deficit. To the degree that Barack Obama and the Democrats are adding to that deficit, it is, and it is intended to be, a short term means of stimulating the economy in order to spark businesses to produce and thus employ workers, and banks to start lending again. In fact, for this purpose, the stimulous package was actually probably small, and so we ought to be spending more.
Finally, where were all of these people when Bush was running up those deficits? They were nowhere to be seen! So to complain now in a crisis, about deficits when they were silent for eight years when their own guy was in power, is a prima fascia demonstration of their hypocrisy.
So, happy teabagging hypocrites!