Hell No, We Won't Pay

Protesters took to the streets outside of government buildings and landmarks this tax day to rail against increasing taxes and government spending as part of the nationwide Tea Party movement.

In Santa Ana, Daniel Flucke, taking a visual cue from the film, "Easy Rider," roared up to the Plaza of the Flags adjacent to the Central Justice Center on a motorcycle with an American flag flapping in the wind behind him.

"This is so important I thought I'd skip a day at work to come here," said Flucke, senior partner with Nationwide Mortgage Experts in Huntington Beach.

As he parked his 2003 Indian Chief, and pulled out a second large flag to carry to the quickly gathering crowd, Flucke elaborated on his views.

"The tax situation is just getting out of hand and spending is out of hand," he said. "Us business owners have to struggle and the bailouts go to the bankrupt companies with absolutely no value."

Flucke said he was not affiliated with any anti-tax group, but got notice of the events via the Internet. He said he opposes the policies of the current administration, but conceded that government bail-outs did not start under President Barack Obama.

"(President George) Bush did it too, but we've turned the corner and are now on a slippery slope," Flucke said. "There has to be more accountability."

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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, is among the scheduled speakers for the Orange County Tea Party.

In Los Angeles County, events are under way or planned at Glendale City Hall, Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey, outside the California Republican Party headquarters in Burbank, the Santa Monica Pier and at the Van Nuys Civic Center.

Other Orange County events are planned for Main Beach in Laguna Beach, Seal Beach City Hall, and the Yorba Linda Community Center.

Similar "Tax Day Tea Party" events are planned in 2,040 cities nationwide. They hope to set a record for the largest multi-city demonstration in American history.

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring, who was at a tea party in Sacramento, said the turn out exceeded expectations, and there was a lot of energy in the crowd.

The movement began in February to oppose the Obama administration's stimulus package. The administration's proposed budget then became a target, which organizers said would lead to record deficits, higher taxes and slower economic growth.

"The president's opponents have been looking for a way to grab the public's attention as to their objections to the Obama agenda," said Dan Schnur, the director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. "The fact that we're talking about this means they're making some progress."

The Tea Party movement takes its name from both the acronym for Taxed Enough Already and the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when a group of colonists boarded ships and dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation.

Protest organizers have used Facebook and other social networking Web sites to spread the word about the protest rallies.

"The Internet makes it much easier for movement supports to organize and to motivate and to mobilize," Schnur told City News Service.

"The Internet is less effective as a tool for persuasion.  For people who feel strongly about this issue, the Internet is an excellent way to get them in touch with each other and properly prepared for these type of events. The persuasion generally takes place off line and in the real world."

The Tea Party protests have drawn comparisons to the tax revolt of the late 1970s, which included the 1978 passage of the property tax-cutting initiative Proposition 13, widely regarded as a factor in the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980.

"The economists say you can never identify a recession until it's been in existence for several months," Schnur said. "You can make the same point about most populist movements. It's hard to tell at the beginning which ones are lighting a genuine grass roots fire."

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