Tax Day Tea Parties Are Stupid!

While many of us learned in school that the Boston Tea Party of 1773 was a protest against high taxation by the British against their American Colonies, the Truth is a bit different from what we have been told and it casts a different light on their current-day counterparts.

Originally, the so-called “Intolerable Acts”, which were really the Townsend Acts were an effort by the British Crown to try to recoup the financial losses incurred by the French and Indian War, known in Europe as the Seven Years War. Since wars are expensive in lives, property and money, the Crown had spent a great deal of each fighting the French and the American Colonists had contributed very little in the way of taxes toward that effort.

People living in the British Isles paid a much higher tax burden than the Colonists, even though the war had been fought in the North American theater, in large part, to protect the colonies from encrouchment by the French.

So, in an effort to get the Colonies to pay a bit more for their own protection and the administration of the court system which they had depended-on for their civil affairs, the Crown did not think it unfair to spread the tax burden over to the Colonists themselves.

So, taxes were placed upon imported goods, such as lead, tin, sugar and, of course, tea. While most of the other taxes were lifted after Colonial protests, the tax on tea was maintained in order to assert the Crown’s right to tax the Colonies.

The Colonists simply got around the tea tax by purchasing their tea from Dutch smugglers. The Dutch also had interests in the East Indies, though the quality of their tea was lower than the British imports.  Smuggled tea was cheaper and if you weren’t too finicky, cheap smuggled tea was better financially than the more expensive legal tea, imported by the British East India Company.

Tea smuggling cost the East India Company a lot of money in lost revenue, so they petitioned the Crown to allow them to bypass the middle-men and import tea directly to the Colonies. This made the tea even cheaper than the Dutch tea. This is akin to giving a large corporation a tax break. The British East India Company was a big money-loser for much of its later existence and was constantly lobbying the Crown for special help to keep them in business. They were the same people who started the Opium War with China to force them into accepting opium as trade.

Yeah, a real nice buch of guys. This is why they made such believable bad buys for the Pirates of the Carribean series.

However, while this deal was good news for the corporation,  it also put a lot of people out of work. Namely the middlemen in Britain, as well as the people who had been smuggling tea into the Colonies, such as Patrick Henry who was one of the leaders of the Sons of Liberty. A remarkable coincidence, don’t you think?

While people try to make this whole thing out to be “Taxation Without Representation”, the Sons of LIberty did not really want the Colonists to have representation in the Parliament, as they could be outvoted in that body. Instead, they wanted complete independence. Rather than lose the one tax that still remained as a propaganda tool, they began to exploit it as a symbol of British tyranny and unfair taxation.

How much was the tax? It was 3 pence per pound.

Yeah, like 3 cents for every pound of tea. Not 3 cents a cup, three cents a pound and you would have to drink gallons of tea everyday before you began to suffer financially from the tax. But, if you were drinking gallons of tea everyday by yourself, you’d have bigger problems than losing 3 cents for every pound of tea leaves that you bought.

Before independence, American Colonists were big tea-drinkers, even more so than the people in Britain. Given that nearly everyone drank tea, from New York offices to the frontier settlements, it would seem that a light tax on something the Colonists consumed so much of wouldn’t be objected-to. But, it was.

The Sons of Liberty used this one issue to push for independence, not letting the reality of the insignificant amount of the tax itself stand in their way. It was the one issue they had and they ran with it.

Not that I mind America being independent, of course. I have no use for monarchs, as a rule.

But, the modern myth that the tea tax was putting people out of house and home is just plain untrue.

The very idea that we suffer from Taxation Without Representation today is also catagoricaly untrue. Every State in the Union has representatives and senators in Congress, elected by the people of that State. The only people who don’t have a voting representative or senator are those citizens in the assorted territories, such as Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, etc and they don’t pay any Federal taxes.

In other words, if you’re paying taxes that your Congressional representatives and senators voted on, you are being represented, whether you agree with the taxes or not. There is no Taxation Without Representation going-on in the United States. If you feel that they aren’t listening to you, that does not meet the legal criteria of taxation without representation. It’s just politics.

The whole Tax Day Tea Party scheme is just an attempt by Republicans to try to con gullible people into thinking that President Obama is acting in the same way the British Crown did in 1773 by raising taxes. However, most people are going to see their taxes go down. Only the higfhest 5% of income-earners will see their taxes go up and it is some of those people and corporations who are actually calling for these tax protests. We aren’t all going to be paying higher taxes, just some of us, while the rest will see our taxes go down.

So, what are they protesting about? Paying less?

And what’s this bullshit about tea? In reality the tea tax wasn’t such a big deal, monetarily speaking. In theory, the tax was pretty light in the Colonies with people in the British Isles paying far higher taxes for their tea, which is why their wasn’t a lot of sympathy for Americans talking about how high their taxes were when the average man in London was being squeezed at every turn. In actual practise, Americans got around the tea by drinking smuggled tea or switching to coffee, which is where our modern coffee culture got startyed. By the way, as far as the British citizens were concerned, the Colonists were just a bunch of whiners who had enjoyed a relatively tax-free existence for decades while the people living in Britain had to foot the bill to protect them and administer their government bodies.

Since the Republicans lost the race for the White House, this whole Tea Party Tax Protest is just their latest effort to attempt to discredit Obama and try to make him irrelevent, the same thing they did with Bill Clinton. However, while Bill Clinton did create a lot of his own problems, he still did a good job as President and the country enjoyed a long period of economic growth, the longest period of economic growth  enjoyed in peacetime since World War Two, if I am not mistaken.

As for myself, I have some last minute paperwork to file and I’ll be enjoying a hot cup of tea while doing it, since I don’t drink coffee.

These protests can go on without me, since they are based upon untruths of both history and modern reality. I just hope the protesters leave some boxes of tea at the store for me to pickup later.

By the way,  Davison, Newman & Co., whose tea chests were destroyed in the 1773 tea party, still operates today. They are Britain’s oldest tea merchant.

One more thing, if you’re going to a Tea Party Tax Protest or if you’ve been to one, I’d like to inform you of something that you might not be aware of: while we see boxes of Lipton Tea at nearly every America supermarket, the company is actually owned by a British corporation, Unilever. It’s just a guess on my part that most of the tea being thrown into the streets, harbors, trash cans, etc around the USA today will be bags of Lipton. I am also certain that, while the tea itself may be wasted, the British tea merchants won’t mind all the money you’re sending their way this month.

Read this for more information.



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