Tomorrow is a historic day for the Mad Hatters of Tea Party Day fame. I am speaking of those who are vigorously proposing that Americans are TEA’d (Taxed Enough Already). Of course, this is not really as much about taxes as evidenced from a whole host of issues that have been brought to light during the early Tea Parties. The litany begins with accusations of Barack Obama not having been born on American soil to criticisms of evolution with a smattering of concern for every policy that the Obama administration has considered. Paul Krugman outlines both the origin of this pseudo grass roots movement (He calls it an Astro Turf movement) and the issues that are dear to those who claim to be waking up Americans against alleged abuses of the constitution. The members of Freedom Works and wealthy billionaires have bankrolled pundits who are claiming that our way of life is at risk. They further insist that the rule of tyranny will come to the United States if we do not rise up and oppose efforts to destroy our country. Who would destroy our country you might ask, why the very people that our country elected and who took office less than 100 days ago.
Jon Stewart of The Daily Show has it correct, he aptly reminded those on the right that when another president was in power and the opposition offered criticism, the response from the Right was why do you hate America? Now with the opposition in power for the first time in eight years the sky is falling. Amazing all these chicken littles so worried about their children’s futures never batted an eye at all the spending of the past eight years. Remember that those on the right never concerned themselves with the loss of the surplus. Now according to Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Representative Michelle Bachman of Minnesota et al. were are in a fight for our freedom? These erstwhile Patrick Henry’s are screaming that we must protest against tyranny. To which Mr. Stewart noted maybe what you are confusing is losing a democratic election with tyranny. So what policies pray tell do true conservative cite to alleviate this tyranny?
Chris Chocola former representative from Indiana and now future president of Club for Growth believes that if only republicans had gotten behind solid conservative principles Americans would have listened and voted Republican. “I think we lost the majority because we didn’t live up to expectations about what people expected us to do. I think if we’d done entitlement reform, tort reform, we might have expanded our majorities.”
Senate Minority leader John Boehner writes in Today’s National Review Online that Republican have new ideas on how to help American’s save more. This plan will be announced as soon as congress returns from Easter recess. Here is a sample of Sen. Boehner’s revelation:
“make it easier for individuals and families to save more for their retirement; effectively reduce by up to half the cost of a family’s contribution to 529 college-savings plans; allow more Americans to increase their income without being hit by the Social Security earnings penalty; immediately suspend the capital-gains tax on newly acquired assets for the next two years, and suspend taxes on dividend income through 2011; and preserve employee-controlled 401(k)s by blocking the aforementioned efforts to wipe them out.”
Me thinks that Senator Boehner should be more concerned with the 600,000 people losing their jobs each month. He must know that the greater risk to one’s 401k has been reckless behavior by lending and investments houses think collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps.
Finally Ari Fleisher’s has decided that those earning less than $44,000 a year need to pay more taxes. Mr. Fleisher relies on America’s aversion to math story problems in an attempt to convince us that wealthy Americans are paying too much. This type of math usage is akin to claiming if Bill Gates walks into a room of ten autoworkers then they are all Billionaires since their average wealth is now over $11 billion. Here is Mr. Fleischer’s Wall Street Journal Opinion Editorial from April 13, 2009:
“A very small number of taxpayers — the 10% of the country that makes more than $92,400 a year — pay 72.4% of the nation’s income taxes. They’re the tip of the triangle that’s supporting virtually everyone and everything. Their burden keeps getting heavier.
As a result of the 2001 tax cuts enacted by a bipartisan Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, the share of taxes paid by the top 10% increased to 72.8% in 2005 from 67.8% in 2001, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Contrary to the myth that Mr. Bush cut taxes only for the wealthy, the 2001 tax cut reduced taxes for every income-tax payer in the country. He reduced the bottom tax rate to 10% from 15% and increased the refundable child tax credit to $1,000 from $500 per child, both cuts that President Barack Obama says we should keep. In so doing, millions of lower income taxpayers were removed from the tax rolls, shifting the remaining burden to those at the top, even after their taxes were cut.
According to the CBO, those who made less than $44,300 in 2001 — 60% of the country — paid a paltry 3.3% of all income taxes. By 2005, almost all of them were excused from paying any income tax. They paid less than 1% of the income tax burden. Their share shrank even when taking into account the payroll tax. In 2001, the bottom 60% paid 16.3% of all taxes; by 2005 their share was down to 14.3%. All the while, this large group of voters made 25.8% of the nation’s income.”
What Mr. Fleischer fails to mention is also on a report from the Congressional budget office (CBO). After tax (take home) incomes from the top 1 percent of earners rose $180,000 in 2005, compared to just a $400 increase for those middle class voters. Using the aforementioned Bill Gates example imagine if Mr. Gates were in a room with 99 workers who on average make less than $58,000. If the 99 and Mr. Gates were taxed at current rates for their respective averaged increases in income, (see ref.) of course, Mr. Gates would be paying an even greater percentage of taxes than before earning an extra $180,000 in 2005. Simply put he made more money. It’s no wonder that in Mr. Fleischer’s words, the share of taxes paid by the top 10% increased to 72.8% in 2005 from 67.8% in 2001. Of course, they did because the wealthy made much, much, much more money.
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8885/12-11-HistoricalTaxRates.pdf (note the table on page 6 of the pdf file.the income numbers are staggering for the wealthy.
Mr Fleischer noted that “It’s time to create an Economic Growth Code whose purpose is to fix and grow the economy, not redistribute massive amounts of wealth. A new tax code that creates growth and reforms our entitlement system is the only way to dig our way out of the hole we’re in. Under an Economic Growth Code, everyone in American would pay income taxes — everyone.”
Mr. Fleischer’s solution of increasing taxes on the lower and middle class households has even the National Review’s Ramesh Ponuru wondering:
“I was less taken by that op-ed than Veronique was. For one thing, I don’t see why the incidence of the income tax, in isolation, is all that important, as opposed to the incidence of federal taxes generally. And his bottom-line policy proposal—that Congress should come up with a new tax code that doesn’t cut anybody’s taxes, raises a lot of (low-income and middle-income) people’s taxes, and promotes economic growth—seems a little, well, crazy”
Mr. Fleischer’s madness continues,” Mr. Obama is adding to this trend with his “Make Work Pay” tax cut that means almost 50% of the country will no longer pay any income taxes, up from a little over 40% today. A certain amount of income redistribution in a capitalistic society is healthy, but this goes too far. The economic and moral problem is that when 50% of the country gets benefits without paying for them and an increasingly smaller number of taxpayers foot the bill, the spinning triangle will no longer be able to support itself. Eventually, it will spin so slowly that it falls down, especially when the economy is contracting and the number of wealthy taxpayers is in sharp decline.
Ok, let me see the Make Work Pay tax cut that the right has been ridiculing as only $10 a week is now going to far? An extra $400 each year is going too far, and lining the pockets of those making over one million dollars a year with an extra $180,000 is just the free market. Oh yeah those TEA party protesters they are the one’s who are making the extra $400 (income less than $58k) someone forgot to tell Ari Fleischer that they are TEA’d. Maybe those making less than $58,000 should wonder why they are losing their jobs and finding they no longer have credit when so many millionaires and billionaires have been making so much more.
Lest you think, that Mr. Fleischer is an outlier not representative of conservatives’ beliefs. Note he is simply revealing the truth behind the TEA party. We have all heard continuously that the rich are the ones paying all the taxes; listen to Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh et al. If that’s the case then the only solution is to either cut programs for the middle class and below, or to raise their taxes. Either way those protesting outside tomorrow will get the shaft.
Remember the poem the Hatter recited it makes as much sense as present day TEA Party advocates:
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a teatray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Let’s not forget that the hatter was not mad as hell, but rather in need of serious medical help.
Freedom Works is run by the following people according to wikipedia.com:
Founded in 1984 as Citizens for a Sound Economy, the organization was renamed FreedomWorks on July 22, 2004, and is chaired by formerHouse Majority Leader Dick Armey. Publisher Steve Forbes serves as Vice Chairman of the FreedomWorks Foundation.
President and CEO Matt Kibbe, a former aide to Republican Representative Dan Miller and a former staffer at the Republican National Committee, said that the new group “will encourage Republicans — and Democrats — to take positions on issues of individual freedom.” Armey said that “Ronald Reagan launched a political and intellectual revolution, and the Contract with America expanded it. Today, it’s time for the next wave. We have a rare window to make the big ideas of individual ownership and economic opportunity a political reality for all Americans. That’s the purpose of FreedomWorks.
Note: Don’t these people sound like real grass roots non-partisan organizers?