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Why The Tea Partiers Are Angry?

Yesterday’s National Review Online has a great article by Jim Geraghty in which he discusses the highest tax increases ever that have been passed by state and local governments. He introduces the essay thus:

“State governments know we’re in a recession, and they know you’re hurting. That’s why they’re demanding more from you.

“We’ve seen a lot of anger about taxes at the tea parties and town-hall meetings this year, and observers might be forgiven for thinking that the federal government enacted income-tax increases the moment Obama was inaugurated. It did not, but Americans are governed by more than Washington, and while Obama has enacted only one major tax increase this year — raising the tobacco tax nearly 62 cents on a pack of cigarettes, to $1.01 — state and local governments have responded to the recession by essentially lifting up their citizens, turning them upside down, and shaking them until all their remaining pocket change falls out.” (emphasis added)

Geraghty writes that a new survey “shows that 29 states enacted tax and fee increases this year that are expected to take in another $24 billion from their residents.

He also points out that spending by all states is estimated to be $1.23 trillion this year, having grown from $1.01 trillion in 2004 (21.8%) and from $693 billion in 1999 (77.5%). Talk about the greed of government?

Is any of this wild-eyed and irresponsible spending by state and local governments justified. No more than spending by the political elite at the federal level. Geraghty concludes his essay by saying:

“Private-sector employees could be forgiven for thinking that state and local government is a racket. In the private sector, you can do your job well, for a well-established company like Circuit City, KB Toys, Lehman Brothers, Saturn, or Gourmet magazine, and suddenly find yourself without a job for one of many reasons: changing consumer habits, a dramatic drop in revenue, new competition, reckless management decisions, or just bad luck. State and local legislators face possible job loss once every two years at most, and gerrymandering and the benefits of incumbency ensure its rarity. And when the governing classes want more money, they just demand it from those they govern.

“In light of all this, one stops asking, “Why are the tea partiers so angry?” and starts asking, “Why are they so calm?”

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