Tax Day tea date: Hundreds gather to protest paying taxes
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It is a hot day in front of Bloomington’s city hall as dozens of American flags wave and snap. It is April 15, Tax Day, and the protesters are out in force.
Hundreds of local residents crowded Showers Plaza. Described on fliers as a tea party, a vivid crowd manifested itself.
Between yellow flags that read “Don’t Tread on Me,” a man stood dressed as an early American colonist, complete with a three-corner hat. The people here are tired of higher taxes.
Among the sea of signs calling for lower taxes and a new congress, IU students voiced their opinions of the matter.
Sam Spaiser is one of them.
Spaiser is a 19-year-old junior with long hair pulled back into a ponytail. He is an individualized major in evolutionary perspective on human diet and is also a member of the Young Americans for Liberty, a movement he says bridges ideologies. He is “philosophically libertarian,” and with a megaphone in hand, he addresses the crowd.
“You know, I thought the tea parties are a great thing,” he said. “I think what we have to be wary of is the tea parties being co-opted by some establishment politicians that are trying to ride the wave ... Sarah Palin has often been talked about as heading the Tea Party.”
Spaiser doesn’t see a big difference between Palin and the president, who is unpopular with the Tea Party crowd.
“But she was running with McCain,” he explains. “And they were getting together with Obama to pass bailouts.”
Ryan Guillian, a freshman, agrees.
“Republican and Democrats are pretty much the same thing as Coca-Cola and Pepsi,” Guillian said.
Not everyone in the crowd is in agreement, though. Speckled throughout the crowd are counter-protestors, holding signs reading “Shut up and pay your taxes” and “Christ was a socialist.”
“What is Obama?” a protestor asks the counter-protestors.
“He’s a Keynesian capitalist,” Ryan Briles, a senior, answers.
“Yeah, he’s not a socialist,” adds Ben Horvath, a junior.
“He’s got an agenda and he doesn’t care,” responds the protestor. “He’s spending money we don’t have.”
The discontent with the federal government’s increased spending is far from local. Across the entire nation, protests have boiled up.
Thousands of protesters gathered in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., protesting higher taxes. Hundreds of protests popped up across the nation, all the way from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
The president said he was “amused” by the protests.
In Miami, President Barack Obama informed a crowd at a fundraiser that he’d cut
taxes, according to the Associated Press.
Lost in the rhetoric was that taxes have gone down under Obama. Congress has cut individuals’ federal taxes for this year by about $173 billion, leaving Americans with a lighter load despite nearly $29 billion in increases by states. Obama plans to increase taxes on the wealthy to help pay for his health care overhaul and other programs.
“You would think they’d be saying ‘thank you,’” the president said.
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