I wish protesters well


To The Editor:
Peaceful protests are a healthy manifestation of democracy and a means for numbers of people to vent their feelings on matters that bother them and hopefully make changes.

The first time I saw a Tea Party protest was in Kingston, about three years ago in April (income tax month). I was driving on Ulster Avenue and pulled over to ask someone carrying a placard in a crowd on the sidewalk what it was all about. His response was concise and encompassing: Taxes are too high, national debt is too large, national deficit is excessive and governments are operating with a credit card mentality.” 

He also said that government is too big and powerful and does not properly reflect the will of the people. I said to him “so, in a nutshell it’s about fiscal conservatism,” to which he quickly affirmed. That’s good because we do need to protect our children and grandchildren from spending excesses of today.

I now watch the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests with interest. I fully support their right to peaceful protest and have tried to understand all of their ventings since there is no common platform. Like the Tea Party, they all seem to resent the powerful and the greedy (politicians and people) and the unfairness that has crept into the system. I am uncertain as to the rest of their agenda and perhaps there really is no clear agenda.

I do have concerns with those fringe fanaticals who advocate sentiments such as anti-capitalism, anti-corporations, anti-wealth (to me this means anti-success), all wrapped up in an anarchist ideology. Hopefully, we will not see the protests turn violent but with devoted anarchists that may be too much to hope for.

The messages on taxation is also a bit disturbing in that some in the fringes want to tax success at an even higher progressive income tax rate while leaving many others to pay no taxes at all. The following are excerpts from an April 2010 Associated Press news item of interest: “About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization. The result is a tax system that exempts almost half the country from paying for programs that benefit everyone, including national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education. It is a system in which the top 10 percent of earners, households making an average of $366,400 in 2006, paid about 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.”

At any rate there are many others in the OWS protests who have less radical visions and are looking for a more fair and just America, both fiscally and socially. I support their rights and wish them well.

Chuck Freas,

Editor’s note: Chuck Freas is Chairman of the Town of Middletown Republican Committee