Thursday, April 16, 2009

The irony of the tea party protest

The irony of holding tea party protests on April 15 is that the Tea Act of 1773 was a tax cut. Prior to the Act the English East India Company had to send tea to London where it paid a duty of about 2 shilling six pence per pound. Only after going through London and paying this duty could it go to the colonies.The Act allowed the Company to ship directly to the colonies, paying only a duty of about three pence per pound in the colonial ports. The purpose of the Act was to aid the East India Company not the colonists, but it resulted in a considerable reduction in taxes on tea shipped to the colonies. The trouble is that many people had done well under the old rules, for instance, profiting from smuggled Dutch tea. While the Tea Act would have lowered the tax for consumers it would have harmed these people.