The Real Tax Outrage

Rick Santelli is an unlikely character to be complaining about taxes and deficits. But it knocks on the door of absurdity when you recognize that he was an organizer of the not- so-spectacular teabagger protest. The head teabagger, Santelli, never protested when George Bush handed out $150 billion to AIG and $29 billion to Bear Stearns. We never heard a word from the head teabagger when his Wall Street cronies were bailed out with taxpayers' money. But Santelli showed indignant outrage when President Obama began spending money on Americans losing their homes to foreclosure. That Santelli teabagging crowd was outraged when Obama created a stimulus package to put average Americans back to work.

I have some great news for the Santelli crowd. But it's probably not what their Wall Street pals are going to want to hear. The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found billions of dollars hidden in offshore corporate tax havens. This would no doubt upset the teabaggers to know that there is more than 100 billion dollars worth of tax shelters offshore created by many of Santelli's Wall Street pals. We don't have money to pay for schools, teachers, new roads, and health care, but billions of dollars are sitting in no-ask no-pay corporate tax shelters offshore.

Go online and look at PIRG's data and you will see that those protesters in Florida who took the time to dress up in patriot costumes and hang tea bags all over their body could have found billions of dollars worth of unpaid revenue in corporate tax havens. In fact, last year, Florida taxpayers lost 5 billion dollars in the offshore tax shell game. If you were a California teabagger dressed up like Paul Revere or Martha Washington you probably would have felt overwhelmingly ridiculous once you learned that 11 billion in revenues left that state to places like the Grand Cayman Islands.

I'm not certain that most of the teabaggers were actually focused as much on taxes as they were on letting us know that they are still furious that their political party was trounced in the 2008 elections. But what seems hard for them to accept is that they lost because they began to look too creepy. Between Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, Rush Limbaugh, and Bobby Jindal, the weight of weird has been holding the party down. And that was even before Santelli and his Wall Street crowd dressed the party up like peculiar minutemen and convinced them to hang Lipton teabags from their body parts.

It's not just intuition that tells you this is a party out of touch. The polls show that a solid majority of Americans approve of Obama's plan to salvage our economy. Obama last week announced that he is committed to shutting down tax loopholes like the offshore corporate tax scams identified by PIRG. He seems to recognize that as we close down schools and health care services, as well as police and fire departments, we begin to look more like a banana republic.

Obama wants to end the cycle where the average American sacrifices more so Santelli's corporate pals can sacrifice less. Now, to me, that sounds like something to party about.