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US Tax Day Brings Out Protesters

  • Nico Colombant

Protesters also called on energy companies to pay more taxes, April 18 2011

Protesters also called on energy companies to pay more taxes, April 18 2011

The deadline for filing taxes in the United States was Monday, and protesters took advantage of the day to voice their views on some of the most divisive economic issues facing the country, including tax rates and how tax dollars should be spent.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched in downtown Washington to complain about what they view as misguided government policies.

One of them was Liz Hourican from the protest group CODEPINK. She said the U.S. government should spend more on social spending and less on war.

"We want to pay taxes for human needs programs, our safety net, schools, education, health care, things that make us stronger," said Hourican.

Americans hurried in and out of post offices on Monday, mailing their tax returns.

Many other Americans used computers to file their taxes electronically.

In recent days, supporters of the conservative and libertarian Tea Party movement have organized protests around the country to demand lower taxes at all levels of government.

At a rally in the eastern state of Connecticut, protesters were spurred on by conservative radio talk show host Dan Lovallo.

"So which is it higher taxes? No! Or lower spending? Yes. Ax the tax, ax the tax!" yelled Lovallo.

At another rally in the north central state of Minnesota, Tea Party member Bob James shared his own concerns.

"If anyone of us ran our household or our business like the way our elected officials handle the purse strings of government, we would be without bread, drink or home," said James.

Here in the nation's capital, protesters such as Washington resident Jesse Lovell, rejected Tea Party arguments that governments are going bankrupt. Lovell said he believes the problem is that during the past three decades tax rates for the rich have gone down, while they have gone up for the middle class and poor Americans.

"We are having some crazy back and forth debates about taxes," he said. "They would have a much better argument, some of the wealthy, if they could say their taxes have been going up and up. But obviously, they have not. They have actually been going down and down and down, and yet we see some of the most intense anti-tax anger and tax-cut mania that I think we have ever seen."

Protesters also gathered outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, complaining that despite billions of dollars in profits in recent years, many American energy companies used tax breaks and loopholes to receive tax rebates, which they say have denied the federal government much needed revenue.