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Tea partiers rally on Boston Common

Caitlin Yoshiko Buysse | 4/20/2010, 7:47 p.m.

The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was an important episode of colonial resistance that led to the American Revolution. Colonists opposed England’s policy of taxation without representation — not the amount of taxes they had to pay.

Hundreds like Ted Kennedy also flocked to the Boston Common, holding signs with slogans mocking Palin and chiding her followers. One sign, held by a group of young protestors, said, “Representing Fake America”— a dig at Palin’s comment during the 2008 presidential campaign that small towns are the “real” America.

Another sign, staked into the grass, said, “If she only had a brain” next to a picture of Palin.

But Karen Reed from Brookline took a calmer approach to protesting, using the afternoon as an opportunity to meet other Bostonians. Reed simply disagrees with the selfish attitude she sees in Tea Partiers.

“We have to think beyond me, myself and I, and we might be better off!” she said.

A recent CBS/New York Times poll found that 34 percent of Americans — and 64 percent of Tea Partiers — believe  the Obama administration has raised taxes, despite the president’s frequent iterations that 95 percent of working families will receive a tax cut this year.

In fact, under Obama, middle-income Americans are paying federal taxes “at or near historically low levels,” said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C.

One-third of the 2009 Stimulus Package was made up of tax credits. Under the Making Work Pay tax credit, working individuals will receive a $400 tax credit, and couples will receive $800.

This year, a family of four in the middle of the income spectrum will pay only a 4.6 percent income tax, the second lowest rate in 50 years. The lowest tax came in 2008, when another stimulus-related tax cut was in place. Federal taxes are also at or near their lowest rates in decades.

But these figures do not sway Tea Party loyalists. In an interview with NPR last week, Christen Varley, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party, said she simply does not believe that taxes have decreased.