Tea party rally touts fair tax

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The tea party's call for lower taxes and greater freedoms didn't ring as loudly in Augusta as in years past.

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With his Colonial hat and flag, Louis Hutt, of North Augusta, arrives at the tea party rally at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
With his Colonial hat and flag, Louis Hutt, of North Augusta, arrives at the tea party rally at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater.

Only a few hundred party faithfuls attended the group's annual tax day protest Friday at Jessye Norman Amphitheater. That lagged last year's event, estimated at 1,200 to 1,500.

The atmosphere was more university lecture than protest movement, with the spectators listening to a lineup of 15 speakers. A few sported flags on hats, T-shirts and patches. One or two held signs with messages such as"Is it 2012 yet?"

Talk-radio host Tony Powers, who organized the event, directed attention to the upcoming national debate over raising the debt limit. The national debt stands at $14.3 trillion, he said.

"Now this is a hard thing to wrap your head around," he said. "One trillion dollars is a million times a million dollars. This is 14 times that. And they want to raise the debt limit."

South Carolina Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, who a few weeks ago introduced "fair tax" legislation to the state House, said he hoped his would be the first state in the nation to pass such a law. Sixty-five other representatives -- a majority of the House -- already support the bill, he said.

A single tax on purchases would simplify tax collections, reduce cheating, and spread the burden farther and more fairly, Taylor said.

"Oliver Wendell Holmes said, 'Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.' ... But, I identify more with Will Rogers who said, 'Income tax has made more liars out of people than golf has,' " Taylor said.

Evans businessman Russell Wilder said he went to the rally because he supports a fair tax.

He said that budget cuts passed by Congress this week were a step in the right direction but that he was tired of the "class war" that the tax debate has devolved into; a fair tax would simplify everything.

"I want everybody to pay the same tax rate whether you earn $1 an hour or $1,000 an hour," he said.

Speakers called for school choice, respect for states' rights and the Second Amendment. Visitors seemed stressed by the country's economic woes, and some said they believed too much government is the cause.

"I believe we shouldn't be taxed to death to the point where we can't afford to feed ourselves," Evans resident Kathleen Bryan said. "I'm upset about food prices and gas prices, and I'll fight that till the day I die."

North Augusta resident Ted Wasserlein said he was upset by the recent Wisconsin teachers' union debate.

"The unions are practically buying the government. They're buying votes and buying seats," he said. "Government employees are involved in unions. That's not what unions were designed for to begin with."

Aiken County residents Karen Craft and Anthony Olick said the economy is what bothers them.

"Prices are going up. Gas is up. But wages are not going up, and jobs are not being created," Craft said.

Olick, who is a tile setter, said it has been hard to find work. He said smaller government and less global commerce are needed.

"America needs to start depending on itself," he said.

Reach Carole Hawkins at (706) 823-3341, or carole.hawkins@augustachronicle.com.

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Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 04/15/11 - 09:11 pm
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The wind was blowing white

The wind was blowing white caps so hard i could smell Savannah. The guy with the flag coulda flown it like Harry Potter. ha ahah I was surfing rollers all in front of the Amphitheatre that are rarely seen this far up the Savannah
Almost $4.00 a gas, folks being killed by Tornado's, slander & bullying of Tea Partiers, last minute tax filings, etc. etc. did keep some folks away today, but returning to values is picking up steam.

bclicious
770
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bclicious 04/15/11 - 09:54 pm
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The only way this bill could

The only way this bill could ever pass, and it would be a big "IF", would be for Mike Huckabee to be elected president in 2012. Even then, I still don't think it would pass, but it would be a shot in the dark.

Oh, and I am a supporter of fair tax, but I am a realist first!

seymorcash
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seymorcash 04/15/11 - 09:59 pm
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I agree. We need a fair tax

I agree. We need a fair tax system. But what I don't understand is way the Tea Party chooses to hold their rallies in places that are payed for by our tax dollars?????????? If they truly want to cut government expenses, shouldn't they hold their rallies on private property and pay a private company for security and cleanup? U

seymorcash
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seymorcash 04/15/11 - 10:01 pm
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I agree. We need a fair tax

I agree. We need a fair tax system. But what I don't understand is way the Tea Party chooses to hold their rallies in places that are payed for by our tax dollars?????????? If they truly want to cut government expenses, shouldn't they hold their rallies on private property and pay a private company for security and cleanup?

puddycatty
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puddycatty 04/15/11 - 10:28 pm
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Did this "party" require a

Did this "party" require a motorcade of police motorcycles and state troopers heading up Riverwatch toward I-20 from downtown at 8:10 this morning? If not, who the hell did need that kind of security?

mrsmcghee
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mrsmcghee 04/15/11 - 11:14 pm
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puddycatty: Not sure who that

puddycatty: Not sure who that was but I saw a bus yesterday with a motorcade as well around 3:30 over by doctors hospital.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 04/16/11 - 12:44 am
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Although our current system

Although our current system needs a tune up, the Fair Tax may be collected electronically, hurrying everything going cashless.

andnowfor
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andnowfor 04/16/11 - 05:48 am
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Okay, really. Half the people

Okay, really. Half the people quoted for this article are complaining about gas and food prices, these are not determined by taxes but by corporations; and most of these folks want to do away with government that keep corporations in check.

To all the Fair Tax supporters, have you actually consider its real implications. In one shot, it would decimate the housing and automotive industries. Plus you are really fooling yourselves if you think politicians won't slap the 20%+ sales tax on food and other basic items.

Finally, a flat 10% tax may seem fair whether you make $30,000 or $300,000, but really it is not. With a 20% tax on a family making $300,000 a year means they still have $240,000, that is a lot of money. And this allows 10 families making $30,000 to have an extra $3,000 to spend, save, take a vacation, or put toward college.

To grow the economy you have to get money into the hands of the people who will spend it; the wealthy don't need to spend it. As for the notion that the wealthy "invest" it; investing creates supply when what you need to create is demand.

justthefacts
25072
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justthefacts 04/16/11 - 06:31 am
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"Finally, a flat 10% tax may

"Finally, a flat 10% tax may seem fair whether you make $30,000 or $300,000, but really it is not. With a 20% tax on a family making $300,000 a year means they still have $240,000, that is a lot of money." So? What has that got to do with it? Punish the more successful individual? Why?

curly123053
5378
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curly123053 04/16/11 - 06:44 am
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The biggest thing for the

The biggest thing for the FairTax is REMOVING the income tax. The income tax was supposed to be just a temporary thing way back when it was introduced. We see how temporary it has become. It has become ABUSIVE towards the American worker with the abuse coming from the U.S. Government. The Income Tax is nothing short of LEGAL ARMED ROBBERY committed by the Federal and State governments. It's time to remove the income tax from the constitution as it was never there in the original constitution. And the Flat Tax keeps the income tax intact, which we do not want.

fd1962
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fd1962 04/16/11 - 06:44 am
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'Only a few hundred party
Unpublished

'Only a few hundred party faithful attended?!' Maybe in Chronicle bankruptcy math... Hardly a few dozen by anyone else's.

justthefacts
25072
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justthefacts 04/16/11 - 06:59 am
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The success of the Tea Party

The success of the Tea Party movement will be better measured by how many vote rather than how many go to events such as this.

andnowfor
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andnowfor 04/16/11 - 07:47 am
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Just: Why do you see paying

Just: Why do you see paying taxes as punishment; I personally love this country, think it is capable of some incredible thing, and am happy to support it. If it means I have a little less so those with less can have a little extra, so be it.

If I want a Lexus over a Kia, guess what....it costs more. If I want T-Bones steak over a Big Mac, guess what....it costs more. If I want quality goods vs. cheep imports, guess what....it costs more. I want this country to be the greatest in the World rather than acting like the Third Word, guess what.....it costs more.

Patriotism is truly measured by ones willingness to ACTUALLY sacrifice in supporting this country rather than waving and flag and saying you support it.

Techfan
6462
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Techfan 04/16/11 - 07:47 am
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"It's time to remove the

"It's time to remove the income tax from the constitution as it was never there in the original constitution." Tea party logic???

dichotomy
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dichotomy 04/16/11 - 08:24 am
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I counted more than 250 at

I counted more than 250 at 6:30 P.M. not including the folks standing up on the Riverwalk. I suspect that it not being an election year, baseball game, Friday night, etc., impacted the attendance too.

The amphitheater did not seem a good place for a "rally" to me. Seemed more like a classroom lecture or something. A little too sterile for a revolution. The Commons was a better place for a rally.

Fair tax, flat tax, whatever, we need a tax code that is fair to everyone, easily calculated, easily collected, and not easily tinkered with by every representative that gets a kickback from some special interest group. I know that what is "fair" is debatable but the fact that many people pay no taxes at all is not fair. The fact that folks are hollering for "rich" people to pay for everything is not fair either. Everyone needs to pay something and a flat tax does that. If you make lots of money you automatically pay more taxes and more power to you. If you make less money you pay less taxes. But everyone needs to pay something. No tax code that allows some to pay nothing and makes some pay 35% or more of their income is "fair" by any stretched definition of the word. If you take $3000 from someone who makes $30000 and you take $30000 from someone who makes $300000, then you have reduced each persons lifestyle by 10% of what it could have been before taxes. That seems fair to me and I can explain what I consider fair so that any idiot can understand it. Those of you who say the "rich" should pay at a discriminatory higher rate leave yourself open to extrapolating out to the point where the guy who makes $300000 should be taxed until he only has $30000 left to live on like all of the "poor" people. Now we are at the root of the discussion.......Socialism. The problem with our progressive tax code is that the "Progressives" can never be satisfied no matter how much they take from the "rich. They always want more because they always want to spend more. If we lock them down to a flat tax maybe they will quit spending in order to protect their "constituents" because they would have to pay any increased taxes too.

patriotgirl
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patriotgirl 04/16/11 - 08:55 am
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Well, seymorcash...the

Well, seymorcash...the amphitheater was rented by the tea party for the event. They don't let you use that for free. Private funds. Richmond County requires police to be there and they are paid for by the tea party. Again, private funds. So I hope that makes you feel better about all of that! Someone posted that the Fair Tax will never happen. If you keep electing the same people you are right. Look at South Carolina...things are looking very good there for a state Fair Tax. That would not have been possible even a few years ago. We elected new people.

WW1949
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WW1949 04/16/11 - 09:48 am
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I don't mind paying my taxes

I don't mind paying my taxes because I live here and like the services I get. I just want it to be used for this country and not in some third world off the wall country like Yemen, Africa, Libya and the like. I want it to be used to better our infastructure and not to provide luxery jets for government officials to fly back and forth to their homes at our expense or to provide the best health care coverage for government officials but average to us and not to provide retirement benifits to Senators and Congress People for the rest of their life even if only after one term. In other words, I want our money to stay here for our people. I also do not want it to be used as an income source for all that can but will not work. I have no empathy for those types.

Emerydan
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Emerydan 04/16/11 - 11:09 am
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I think the attendance

I think the attendance numbers were lower for a variety of reasons: Threat of Severe weather (the wind was really whipping), home opener of the Greenjackets, and no major national or statewide elections this year... so the enthusiasm was probably not as high as last year when you had the midterm congressional elections and gubernatorial elections in South Carolina and Georgia.
I do agree that The Commons is a better location for a Rally. Also The Commons is closer to the main areas of dowtown and its easier to get people to wander over from offices and shops on Broad Street. Hopefully they will consider moving it back to The Commons next year.

faithson
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faithson 04/16/11 - 11:31 am
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Fair Tax of 10% up to 250,000

Fair Tax of 10% up to 250,000 than a progressive income tax. This myth being perpetrated by 'economists' that the rich will not want to be rich if they are taxed has no merit in fact. It is a grand illusion perpetrated by people that want their cake and eat it too! I know personally many 'well off' friends and family that can afford to be taxed at a greater rate than the general worker.

robaroo
884
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robaroo 04/16/11 - 11:34 am
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The Tea Party calls for lower

The Tea Party calls for lower spending and lowering the deficit. I could be a huge fan, but in the same breath they call for lowering taxes before the budget is balanced.

Massive government spending without raising enough revenue is what has brought the US to the brink of bankruptcy.

How about getting the budget under control before giving everybody tax cuts?

Jane18
12332
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Jane18 04/16/11 - 12:17 pm
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I agree with patriotgirl. By

I agree with patriotgirl. By the way, I like your name.

dani
13
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dani 04/16/11 - 12:52 pm
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It was a small crowd (in the

It was a small crowd (in the low one hundreds) in comparison to past events but there was not a great deal of publicity before hand. We sat on a bench on the walkway and there was almost as many standing as sitting. The crowd was coming and going. We were to leave by 6:30 but did stay to hear Mike Ryan.
BTW................
Everyone should go to see "Atlas Shrugged". WE had been waiting for the movie to come to Augusta and wasn't aware of the showing until late afternoon. It is a fantastic movie. Well worth the price of admission.
A need to see movie...factual.
It needs more publicity for sure.

PART_TIME_PUNDIT
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PART_TIME_PUNDIT 04/16/11 - 10:29 pm
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fd1962, maybe you ran out of

fd1962, maybe you ran out of fingers and toes. I saw way more folks.
And ditto for seeing Atlas Shrugged. I was afraid it wouldn't be picked up in our market.

mickl
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mickl 04/17/11 - 07:16 am
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‘Hopefully they will consider

‘Hopefully they will consider moving it back to The Commons next year.’
I couldn’t attend yesterday but I’ll make sure I there for the next one.
We have too get the idiots out of congress & the white house.

Brad Owens
4906
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Brad Owens 04/17/11 - 09:15 am
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WW1949, I know it is hard to

WW1949,

I know it is hard to understand how foreign aid helps us at home but it does.

We live in a global community of economic exchange and we do get bennies from our support of developing countries.

Besides, if you look at the actual budget, foreign aid is such a super small part that cutti ng it would not really help reduce the overspending.

Look at Defense, Healthcare, Welfare, and Pensions if you want to see where the money goes. Plus, if you have to see a reduction in the services you enjoy so folks could have tax breaks, yet your taxes remained the same, would that be fair?

Because that is what is being proposed right now. Cuts in spending, cut tax rates on the highest earners, and cuts services. There really isn't that much "fat" but there are plenty of programs that could be eliminated if we are willing to cut services.

Brad

justthefacts
25072
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justthefacts 04/17/11 - 09:30 am
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More flawed thinking.

More flawed thinking. Whenever someone mentions the need to cut spending, someone says it's a small part and wouldn't help. Kind of like saying, "It's my mortgage that killing me so I will keep the Cadillac, it's only a small part."

dani
13
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dani 04/17/11 - 10:22 am
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What did Greenspan say this

What did Greenspan say this morning..something like that in 10 years the undereducated, underachievers we now have coming along will be taking over from the boomers that have reached retirement age, that this new crop of workers will never be able to handle the increasing entitlement programs and we would go the way of other European nations that have fell victim to the same loss in the economy.

seenitB4
97737
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seenitB4 04/17/11 - 10:33 am
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I heard him too dani....&

I heard him too dani....& that gives me the chills because I think he is right!!! Undereducated & waiting for the next check in the mail......& some wonder why the Mex are taking the jobs.....
We have to get a grip on the insanity running our nation....BOTH sides...as some said on the program...Meet The Press.... we have a lot of grandstanding going on right now...

seenitB4
97737
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seenitB4 04/17/11 - 10:41 am
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You don't need a degree

You don't need a degree though for:
Landscape jobs
Roofing jobs
mechanic
plumbing
painting
babysitting services for animals & people
washing cars
waitress....bar tender
pressure washing
cleaning houses
Even creating a business.....you just have to want to better your life.

If you want a trade....try to volunteer for one of these jobs & learn on the job.

Cadence
219
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Cadence 04/17/11 - 11:29 am
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I'm not being deliberately

I'm not being deliberately provocative or anything, but I do feel that most who are in favor of higher taxes and who resent any kind of tax cut, mostly don't pay taxes. I had a friend who used to needle me "boy you really hate paying taxes. Never heard someone who resents taxes so much." The she got her first real paycheck from her first real job and it was "Look at how much they took out!!! They took half my check, that is not right!!" Then she knew why I don't like taxes. Really I just want us to all pay our share and a huge number in our society pay nothing at all. But they do *take* much more than their fair share, not just driving on the roads and using the public buildings. That is not "fair."

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