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Hundreds use tax day to protest federal spending policies

Published: Thu, April 16, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.
  Youngstown TEA Party

Area residents came together April 15 for a Tax Day TEA Party on Federal Avenue in Youngstown as a protest against taxes and other issues. The Youngstown-area protest was coordinated by the YSU College Republicans.

Area residents came together April 15 for a Tax Day TEA Party on Federal Avenue in Youngstown as a protest against taxes and other issues. The Youngstown-area protest was coordinated by the YSU College Republicans.


Pat Eccleston of Lisbon prays in Lisbon Square for Lisbon's Tax Day Tea Party to protest Washington's "socialist" direction.


Richard Ellis, of Youngstown, participates in a Tea Party, standing for Taxed Enough Already, on Federal Plaza in downtown Youngstown on Wednesday afternoon.


TEA (Taxed Enough Already) party protests took place in Youngstown, Warren, Lisbon and Sharon.

During a downtown Youngstown TEA party, James Carnahan made it known that the Mahoning Valley will survive if another major industry collapses.

He was one of about 200 people to attend a TEA — an acronym for “taxed enough already” — party on Central Square.

“When the steel industry was devastated, the industry was gone, but the area survived,” Carnahan said, referencing the possible loss or downsizing of General Motors. “The area shrank, but the area survived. You don’t want to see it happen, but it’s not the end of the world.”

Carnahan, 68, of Campbell, expressed his displeasure with the federal government stepping in to help the ailing auto industry, including the removal of then-GM CEO Rick Wagoner. Carnahan said President Barack Obama’s imposition on the auto industry is unwarranted and a bailout is unnecessary.

The downtown demonstration — and others like it across the country — was organized to give voice to frustrations with government spending.

Similar demonstrations saw about 300 people in Warren and 500 in Lisbon.

Carnahan used a bailout of GM as an example of frivolous spending.

“People keep thinking this bailout is going to save Lordstown,” he said. “There’s nothing that says in the long run if General Motors survives, that as a company they have to keep the [Cruze] in Lordstown. There’s nothing stopping them from building it in Canada, Mexico or China. There is no guarantee.”

Lordstown was just one example of federal funding that upset many area residents.

Don George, 57, of Boardman, said he was simply frustrated with government spending as a whole.

“I expect Washington [D.C.] to be better stewards of our money, and in my estimation that hasn’t been happening” he said. “The [Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building] down here, which is one of the top 10 in the nation in terms of energy efficiency, now will be receiving $700,000 to improve it when we have municipal buildings here in Youngstown that need desperate help. It’s a waste of my tax dollars and everybody else’s tax dollars.”

Protesters made it clear that no party is being held responsible and that the problem isn’t new. George Misek, who is retired, of Austintown said the problem has been growing for years.

“Ideally, we would get back to a nation under God, we would get back to our Constitution, and get away from all the baloney that’s been going on for the past 40 or 50 years,” he said. “I’d like to see the government quit spending money [it doesn’t] have.

“What we have to do at home when we get in financial problems is cut back, and the government doesn’t seem to understand that. We have a government who has ruined this country, and they seem to think they can fix that.”

Carnahan also took aim at taxpayers blaming them for the economy and for government spending.

“[President Obama] is just a product of the system,” he said. “Everybody wants the government to give them everything, and it’s taking away our freedoms. What people don’t realize is that for all these bailouts, someone has to pay for them.”

In the Warren demonstration, Bill Johnson of Warren challenged taxpayers to write to or call their representatives and demand fair use of their money.

“Our forefathers didn’t take a vote, and they didn’t take a poll. They took action,” he said.

At the State Street bridge over the Shenango River in Sharon in Mercer County, about 200 people gathered at noon to protest.

Their signs said it all: “Where’s MY bailout?” “Stop Waste.” “We, the People.” “Congress, You’re Fired.”

At the tail end of the group, which spilled off the bridge and curved down Shenango Street, Linda Zembower stood with her son-in-law, Bob Ponziani, and her granddaughter, Caitlin Ponziani, 11.

The family had come from Enon Valley, Pa.

“It’s not right,” Zembower said about government bailouts of banks and car companies.

“I don’t know,” she said, when asked what a good alternative would be.

“Bankruptcy? If they all go down, then let the little guy build up,” she said. “No one’s bailing us out. We’re the ones paying for everything.”

The protest was organized by Patriots in Action, a group with about 60 members that is based in Sharon, said its president, Sue Brei.

The group appeared to bend to the conservative side, with one speaker touting his “Judeo-Christian values.” Another urged the crowd to make sure to listen to conservative radio talk-show host Glenn Beck.

Brei said, though, that the group is nonpartisan, with Republican, Democrat and Libertarian members.

“We support our troops,” she said, when asked how the group feels about the war in Iraq. But, she said, there is room for people who believe the war should end.

Brei said her group and the larger, national movement of TEA parties want to win back the nation’s sovereignty.

“We aren’t happy with overspending and overtaxation,” she said.

“We believe in the Constitution, and government doesn’t have the right to come in and tell you how to live your life.”


1DottieONeil(2 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I know many of the people who were there and they DO have jobs and they DO pay taxes. Most people can take 1/2 days or an hour off work for personal matters. Those who are retired have paid taxes in the past and have life time experience that is valuable for change to occur.
I don't see this as short sighted amateur experts but people taking the time to research and work for change that will make all in this country better off. Looking forward to more grass root protests!

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2Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago


I believe the core issue here is freedom. Do we want a government that prohibits upward mobility through punitive taxation, that punishes hard work and rewards sloth. Do you want things previously under your power controlled by the ruling class, such as your income earning ability, the care of your health, your retirement? What is so compassionate about charging the bill to our children? Are they supposed to pay their bills as well as ours? Why are you supposed to live within your means, but not the ruling class?

I'm no economist, but I do realize that entitlements are the government's largest expenditure, and cutting them is not only essential to the survival of our failing Union, but would liberate those enslaved by them.

There are so many solutions, such as a Fair Tax that taxes consumption and not work. Imagine, no IRS, no falling into debt with the government, and being able to regulate your tax burden through thrift. Prostitutes and drug dealers would join us in the tax base.

Instead, the government is pursuing failure-ensured socialist policies. Why not, it's only the fate of our country at stake.

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3cambridge(3811 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

200 protested and 10's of thousands stayed away.

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4Education_Voter(1033 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

This seemed to me to be a publicity stunt for the Fox Network -- but without celebrity appearances here, the turnout was sad.

Socialism? I know this. FICA is taking a fat bite out of my paycheck. Now if the retirees that made up the crowd downtown would like to protest by taking only from Social Security what they contributed, that would be great! (What was the deduction in 1949?)

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5jlthomas(1 comment)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

These protesters want free enterprise and no rules. Don't they realize that this attitude is what brought us to this economic turmoil. The steel industry in Youngstown died because of it. Back then, everyone was crying for government help that never came. Now you want the same for the automotive industry. etc.? With attitudes like these, you won't need to worry about paying taxes. You won't have any jobs.

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6cambridge(3811 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't worry. I watched some of these protester from around the country on the tube. Most will be dead by the next election. I think it was just something for them to do before they went to that 3:00 pm "blue light special" for supper.

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7AmericaWakeUP(1 comment)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

First off.. The Tea Party that I was at in Warren yesterday there were more than 300 people there. As always media is lacking in correct information.That being the case. Everyone is complaining about our economic situation. No jobs, people loosing homes etc. When will the masses wake up to the fact that this isn't working. Government isn't for the people any more if you haven't realized it. Wake up people. Read and find out what rights you do have as an American citizen. They are being infringed on and if everyone continues to allow this we will be a communist society soon. We are Americans. Our country was begun on principles of freedom. Why are so many willing to just go along with anything. I say Question everything. Do not our children and grandchildren deserve a truly free American?

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8scrooge(563 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Well said as usual Clark.
The reason (or at least one of them) the crowds were smaller is that, unlike most liberal based rallies that bus in "protestors" to strengthen the crowd base, these peolpe actually believed in the cause - or were curious enough to come hear what they say.

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9hellsbells(116 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Maybe it's bad timing for the tax protest. The week after Easter is the traditional time for vacations in Florida, Hawaii, and Hilton Head. The current "economic crisis" seems to have had little effect on the vacations of my neighbors.

Then again, although they like to complain, I can't see them getting much passion for protest events. Those are for the young and hungry.

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10redvert(2212 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Politicians have to love people like you cambridge. I bet you just dream of daisy chaining on Obama and his crew. Do you actually believe that your taxes are being spent wisely? Or are you one of the sheeples that do not actually pay taxes.

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11cambridge(3811 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago


I didn't think my taxes were spent wisely when we spent 35 million a day for six years in Iraq. Or when Bush grew the government by 40% while turning a record budget surplus into a record budget deficit in only eight years.

These tea party supporters are the true sheep. The original "Tea Party" in 1773 was against a monopoly by the East India Tea co.and a tax break for the company from the government/King. In other words tax cuts for the rich zip for the rest. Sound familiar? I didn't notice Fix News orginizing any tea parties for the bank bailouts. Now that the government is looking to invest in jobs, infrastructure and clean energy free from foreign oil Fix News releases the sheep. You and the protesters are being played for fools.

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12Justin2204(13 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

At any rate the protestors and even some of the speakers were off topic much of the time. I'm not convinced they even knew what they were protesting.
I swear they just miss the campaign rallies of last year.

"AmericanWakeUp" says, "It isn't working," as if the new administration has had more than a bare three months in office. These are the same people who try to say that George Bush couldn't be held responsible for 9/11 after being in office only 8 months.

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13valleyred(1102 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

300,000+ Attended these rallies, which were organized by the blogsophere, not FOX.

And nonetheless, Fox absolutely annihilated the competition at every hour from 5pm-11pm that day.

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14redvert(2212 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

When your kids and grandkids are paying for BO's and Pelosi's fiasco you can do your whining.

Cambridge, I noticed you mentioned FOX (fix) network but failed to mention Clinton News Network and the other three liberal Obama daisy chain participants.

I didn't expect "fix" to support the bank bailouts since the crats get the credit for the financial meltdown of Fannie and Freddie etc.

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15wearepack(26 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Even as a (mostly) liberal leaning Youngstown resident, and as a supporter of much of Obama's spending, I'm really happy to see people out on the streets being involved in the political process. I don't protest the spending the way those did on Tax Day, but I certainly support them getting their voices out. This can only lead to more involvement, more education about the issues, and, hopefully, a well-informed Youngstown.

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16redvert(2212 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Cambridge, you mentioned in your last post how Bush turned a record surplus into a deficit. What I am trying to figure out is how we got that record surplus since all spending bills originate in congress. I think that the repubs may possibly of had control of congress for the last six years of the Clinton presidency. Would you check on that and come up with some excuse on how Clinton did this on his own.

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17Education_Voter(1033 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I said that the turnout here in OUR AREA was sad because we didn't have any celebrities from Fox News, except Dan Rivers, who did his best to promote the event.

I'm sorry if you were one of the speakers, but it just didn't work out.

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18cambridge(3811 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago


I never mentioned Clinton's name. But since you brought him up. Clinton inherited a record budget deficit, Bush inherited a record budget surplus and Obama inherited a record budget deficit. Those are the facts. I didn't make it up. Obama definitely has his work cut out for him and I would not want his job.

I did however have a typo in my post. Bush didn't spend 35 million a day in Iraq. It was 350 million a day seven days a week for six years. I just wanted to clarify that.

As far as these bailouts, I hate them. But I don't know what the answer is. You only have so many choices. Let the financial institutions fail and the whole worlds economy collapses. Give them money with no strings attached or by stock in the companies hopefully to be sold at a later date for profit. If there are any other choices please share them. Like I said I certainly don't have the answers.

As far as the future. I think it's obvious that you can't let these people that control that much of the worlds economic health work without regulations and government oversite. That's not socialisim or any other kind of isim. It just makes sence.

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19scrooge(563 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

cambridge since you're talking facts:
Obama has spent more in 2 months than President Bush did in 8 years. That INCLUDES the initial bailout that Bush shoulderd so BO wouldn't have to deal with it.
The same "tax cut" being championed by the press and falsely stated as being for 95% of taxpayers is nearly identical to the stimulus given by Bush (in one lump sum and not $5/week) that the same Dem's chastised it as being worthless.
$350 million a day to NOT have TERRORISTS blowing up buildings on American soil? Where do I sign the check!
Since we're talking about millions, how about the pork in the stimulus bill that BO said he would not allow EVER.....................well OK I mean NEXT TIME?
LOL get your head out of the sand my friend. This was a protest on government spending -- Dems, Repub, Independ, white, black, hispanic,asian, and any other. Don't you get it? We've been taxed to the point that we are giving over 50 cents of every dollar we earn to the governement and that number is growing.

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20cambridge(3811 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago


I said I hate it. Nobody wants to spend this money. What is the solution? How do we fix the economy? Letting these companies go out of business will destroy the economy. If what Obama is doing is so wrong it should be easy to tell the rest of us the plan that will work. What will you say if the stock we bought a rock bottom prices gets sold for two or three times what we paid? When I see someone say that everything the guy is doing is wrong makes me think that they are part of the crowd that wants it to fail. That's not very American. The guy has been President for four months and I think you have to agree he's a hard worker and is peddling as fast as he can. Bush would have taken four vacations by now and told us it will all be OK because we are Americans. Bush wrecked this country in was that I didn't even know were possible.

As far as earmarks. That is what representatives go to Washington for. I'm sure you want the representatives from your state and or district to bring as much money back as possible. I agree with you about pork and I'm glad everyone will be able to track where the money goes. If any money is spent improperly they should get called on it.

I live in California. It's ironic that the bluest of states sends tax dollars to Washington and that money gets sent to dirt poor red states down south and places like Wyoming or Montana that could never afford to build or maintain their infrastructure without blue state money. But you know what? I don't mind some of my tax money going to those states because they are part of America. We are all in it together and I don't like getting ripped off anymore than you do.

As far as terrorist in Iraq. The were not there until we failed to protect Iraq's borders after the invasion. Al Qaeda is in Afganastan and Pakistan. When General Petrais spoke before Congress he was asked how many Al Qaeda were in Iraq. His answer was 2000. We have 150'000 troops and even more support personal for six years because of 2000 Al Qaeda? That's nuts. If they went into Iran or Iraq when Saddam was in power or any other country in the region they would be killed in a heart beat. The countries in that region just enjoy watching us piss money away fighting them. If we wiped them out after 9/11 we wouldn't be having this conversation. By the time we are done taking care of the solders seriously wounded in Iraq for the rest of their lives the projected cost is 2 trillion dollars. Since we both dislike throwing money away, tell me what we got for all that money and American lives.

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21hellsbells(116 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Nice posts Cambridge. Good point about "blue" states supporting infrastructure in "red" states. Example: Taxpayers in industrial powerhouses like Ohio and Michigan supported infrastructure projects in Arizona over the last 50 years.

I don't like these designations by color, though. Every time I see valleyred's user name, I think of the movie "Reds". I'm pretty sure valleyred is not a Bolshevik.

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22andersonathan(682 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Try over 700 hundred cities and a few hundred thousand people making a statement in less than 100 days into Hope, Change and Yes We Can Administration.

All saying enough is enough And Perry from Texas saying it the loudest.

D.Feinstein a {D} from [CA] and hubby, Freddie Mac Executive kills himself. When some one finds their coins to look into were all this money is going and start holding people accountable things might "Change" and new federal prisons might be built to house them!

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23cambridge(3811 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

For every person that showed up 1,000 stayed home.That would be the percentage that agrees with you.

They couldn't build a prison big enough the hold the criminals in the last administration.

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24glbtactivist(304 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Fox and the Republican greedy leadership have found a new way to use the ignorance of the masses. Protest taxes. Right when the Republicans have created the biggest debt in the history of mankind that needs to be paid off somehow. Right when the Democrats passsed a tax cut for working people. Yet the dummies follow them to the streets. How funny our democracy is.

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25Ken(153 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Just back from a vacation and while catching up on my reading, I congratulate the Vindicator for the fair coverage it gave this story. Hundreds gathered near Naples, Florda this same day and not a word about it on the local news or in the local newspaper. Thanks for your fairness!

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