Here’s an interesting bit of US history that it seems like I should have learned in school. Until now I was also under the impression that the focus of the protest at Boston Harbor was a tax increase.

Hewes, who was a teenager at the time of the Tea Party (which he named in 1834), tells that the whole point of this million-dollar (in today’s terms) act of vandalism was to protest a tax cut – a corporate tax break – that the British had given to the East India Company, which would allow it to unfairly compete with and wipe out the thousands of small entrepreneurial tea importers and tea shops that dotted the colonies.

I’d thought I remembered from school that the Tea Act of 1773 was a tax increase, so I had to check the Encyclopedia Britannica, which, sure enough, said that the Tea Act was a tax cut. So what the colonists were protesting was the principle of taxation without representation, but what they meant was what today would be termed “tax breaks for multinational corporations while the average person gets screwed.”

From an interview on buzzflash.com with Thom Hartmann, author of Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights.

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