This past weekend, I appeared on CNN to discuss the tea party protests of April 15th. You can watch the full clip here.
As I've said before, I think these specific demonstrations were worthy of criticism, considering they are trying to champion the very conservative ideological agenda (tax cuts/deregulation/corporate welfare/huge deficits) that created the problems (bailouts/economic collapse/huge deficits) allegedly being protested.
However, as I've also said - and as I told CNN - I think the underlying anger that these protests sought to tap into is very real, very legitimate and, as the Washington Post shows, very bipartisan. Polls continue to show that America is angry at no-strings-attached bailouts to Wall Street fat cats - and that's what these Tea Parties were trying to channel. So, I agree with Zephyr Teachout - rather than totally ridicule these protests and the anger they are seeking to channel, I think it's important for progressives to do whatever we can to coopt it for our own agenda (which, of course, would actually address the problems being railed on).
Now, what's fascinating is that conservatives are either ignorant of or willfully blind to the fact that polls show most Americans think the wealthy pay too little in taxes. As you'll see in this CNN clip, conservative radio host Ben Ferguson expresses shock and dismay that Gallup's latest poll shows exactly that - he literally doesn't believe it.
But, as they say, them's the facts. Americans understand, as Warren Buffet has said, that billionaires pay lower effective tax rates than their secretaries, and they understand that America has the second lowest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world.
And so while I think it's important for progressives to tap into the same anger the Tea Parties aim to tap into, I also think it's important that we continue debunking the worst right-wing myths that aim to use justifiable economic rage as a rationale for the same right-wing policies that got us into this mess.
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