Lord North - Painting by: Nathaniel Dance
There are a lot of naysayers and critics opposed to the nation-wide Tax Day Tea Party protests that took place in hundreds of cities across the United States. When annoyed at their remarks, it helps me to look at the picture above, a painting of Lord North- a fat, stupid, incompetent London bureaucrat who opposed and criticized the original Boston Tea Party. He is truly the spiritual and intellectual ancestor of the modern naysayers.
They write smug little columns and make smug remarks on television news networks, saying that the analogy is false and overblown, arguing that we do not face the abuses our tea partying forefathers did. Let's put this claim to the test. I've already argued ad nauseam here that we are suffering taxation without representation because bills are being crafted and amended in secret, closed-door committee meetings and put to a vote just hours later before any of our representatives have a chance to read them. I've already argued that spending bills in D.C. have now become so large (surpassing the entire cost of World War II, in fact) that they necessarily indebt our children, who we cannot fairly argue have representation in Congress. But the similarities run deeper than taxation without representation... much deeper.
The situation in 1773 was eerily similar to ours today. The British Empire had run up heavy debts from a long war with France. The global economy was shaky. High taxes and heavy regulations were taking their toll on British companies, and one of them in particular- the East India Trading Company- seemed in danger of going under due to a "near term liquidity crisis." After determining that it was "too big to fail," the British Parliament passed the Tea Act, a bailout of the East India Trading Company. Incensed about the taxes levied under this plan in violation of the principle of taxation without representation, the colonists erupted in protest. Predictably, the British public was unhappy with the colonists' reaction.
So Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman can keep the insults flying (in the New York Times he wrote of the Tea Parties that "Republicans have become embarrassing to watch. And it doesn't feel right to make fun of crazy people."). He, and Keith Olbermann, and all the rest of them can keep scoffing. They can keep drinking the Kool Aid while we're sipping down our tea, because they're in good company with the original mediocre bailout apologists like Lord North. It is only fitting that such opponents of liberty should fall into line with our Founding Fathers' contemporary antagonists. And yet even Lord North did not support actions as wildly tyrannical as those we suffer today.
I submit that Washington D.C.'s treatment of Americans in 2009 is inarguably far worse than that of London's in 1773. The taxes we fought a revolutionary war over back then are a pittance compared to the kind of taxes we pay today. In truth, the Tea Act had the practical effect of making English tea cheaper for Americans, who were actually paying more for illegal, smuggled Dutch tea. They protested on principle because of the taxes levied in that act. Today they would have principle and tax slavery as motivators. Think I'm exaggerating? The average American family pays 40% of its earnings in taxes. So if you're average, you work for the government from January 1 to May 26. Only on May 27 do you start working for yourself. And as government spending explodes from already unprecedented levels, it will only get worse.