There was a Republican-led demonstration at the Michigan State Capitol today, what they called a “Taxpayers Rally” to supposedly mimic the Boston Tea Party.
While it was marginally interesting to see GOP Party Chairman Saul Anuzis hand Lt. Governor John Cherry his tea bag with Tim Skubick holding a microphone between them, it’s not like the Governor or the Democrats decreed a tax on tea. Tea doesn’t even have anything to do with the current budget debate. The tea-bags were for what? Symbolism?
Here’s what the original Boston Tea Party was about, courtesy of the the Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum,
On May 10, 1773, the British parliament authorized the East India Co., which faced bankruptcy due to corruption and mismanagement, to export a half a million pounds of tea to the American colonies for the purpose of selling it without imposing upon the company the usual duties and tariffs. With these privileges, the company could undersell American merchants and monopolize the colonial tea trade. Not only did this action create an unfair commerce to the merchants of the colonies but it proved to be the spark that revived American passions about the issue of taxation without representation. To fully understand the resentment of the colonies to Great Britain and King George III, one must understand that this was not the first time that the colonists were treated unfairly. In previous years, the 13 colonies saw a number of commercial tariffs including the Sugar Act of 1764, which taxed sugar, coffee, and wine, the Stamp Act of 1765, which put a tax on all printed matter, such as newspapers and playing cards, and the Townshend Acts of 1767 which placed taxes on items like glass, paints, paper, and tea. The Tea Act of 1773 was the last straw.
Last time I checked, the Republicans controlled the Senate and have a number of people in the House. This state also has a Republican Attorney General and Secretary of State. By that measure, the Republicans have plenty of representation. The people in this state, too, who are able to vote regularly in elections for those positions, have their views represented. There is no king or queen in this state, either. Given all of that, you can’t really say that we suffer from “taxation without representation” in Michigan.
So if anything, the Taxpayers Rally demonstrated Saul Anuzis’s and the GOP’s incomprehension of useful symbolism, our state’s political structure, and one of our country’s defining historical events. Which means they have how much credibility in this budget debate? Looks like zero right now.