On the deadline to file federal income taxes, hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered at state capitols nationwide to protest what they described as exorbitant taxing and big government spending under the Obama administration.
Gathering for TEA-"Taxed Enough Already"-parties in more than 2,000 cities Wednesday, demonstrators held signs saying they were "tea'd off" and liberty was "all the stimulus we need," the Associated Press (AP) reported. The events recalled the Boston Tea Party, where colonial Americans protested the heavy tax burdens England imposed.
Initially promoted by a conservative nonprofit advocacy group called FreedomWorks, the tea parties gained wide support from groups such as Focus on the Family Action, the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association.
"People who are lining U.S. cities with teabags in hand recognize that the tax debate isn't just about money; it's about freedom," FRC President Tony Perkins wrote Wednesday. "More government means less liberty. And it's time that we all plant in our heels at Washington's encroachment on our freedom--and our wallets."
In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry told a crowd gathered at Austin City Hall the federal government was strangling Americans with taxation, spending and debt, and vaguely suggested that Texans might get so fed up they would want to secede, the AP reported.
"We've got a great union," Perry said, according to the AP. "There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that."
Several hundred people showed up in Lafayette Park opposite the White House, until the area was cleared while a robot retrieved what the Secret Service determined was a box of tea bags, the New York Times reported.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said most people at the tea parties would be helped by Obama's tax policies, according to CNS News.
"The only thing I find amusing is that, as I said and the president said, the tax cut that covers the most people in the history of this country was proposed and signed by this president," Gibbs said.
"[If] anybody involved would look at the facts, they would find that this president promised and this president delivered more money back into the pockets of hard-working Americans," Gibbs added. "I'll let the organizers of whatever these are speak to their motivations. I think we can be reasonably assured that the people outside the window are not making a quarter of a million dollars a year."
But many tea party supporters worry that the massive federal spending under Obama's stimulus plan will increase the tax burden on all taxpayers, not just the wealthy. Regent University economics professor Douglas Walker, Ph.D., said the idea that his taxes will not fall on 95 percent of the population is "frankly absurd."
"He has proposed a great increase in taxes on carbon, and unless those taxes are only going to be paid by the man on the moon and Martians, it's going to fall on Americans, and it's going to fall on all Americans," Walker said.
He added that proposed reductions in charitable deductions could greatly impact churchgoers. "Christians in general support their churches and they support a lot of charities, and they will lose if not all much of those deductions and obviously that will increase their taxes," he said. "So there is this impression that the president is not being straightforward about what his policies are and what the cost of those policies would be."
Pro-family leaders also worry that more tax dollars will be spent to fund abortions, which have been increasing since the recession began.
"Thanks to President Obama, taxpayers are now subsidizing abortion providers like the Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, who will promote abortion overseas," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. "And thanks to the abortion-friendly leadership in Congress, domestic taxpayer funding for the nation's No. 1 abortion provider is on the rise."
"More of today's taxpayers are recognizing that their hard-earned dollars are going toward a hefty abortion bailout," she added. "The Obama administration's promise to find ways to reduce abortion numbers rings hollow in such an environment."
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