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Blog of Mass Destruction

Taxed. Enough. Already.

By The Reverend Published: May 12, 2010

Often, here at the Blog of Mass Destruction, The Reverend has explained the facts about current tax rates in America. Repeatedly, I have shown that income tax rates for Americans are at a very low level, historically. The same is true with capital gains tax rates.

We're proud here at World Headquarters to be just slightly ahead of the curve....

USA Today, yesterday...

Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman's presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found.

And it's not just income tax rates....

Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

And yet....the last two April 15th's have brought us TAX DAY PROTESTS organized by the Great & Powerfully Populist Tea Partyers. Taxed Enough Already signs were everywhere.

Adds to the incoherence, doesn't it?

"The idea that taxes are high right now is pretty much nuts," says Michael Ettlinger, head of economic policy at the liberal Center for American Progress.

Pretty much.

What explains the lowest net tax rate on Americans in 50 years?

• Stimulus law. One-third of last year's $862 billion economic stimulus went for tax cuts. Biggest reduction: The Making Work Pay tax credit reduced income taxes $800 for married couples earning up to $150,000.

• Progressive tax rates. Presidents Clinton and Bush pushed through a series of tax changes — credits, lower rates, higher exemptions — that slashed income taxes for poor and middle-class families. A drop in income now can trigger big tax breaks and sharply lower rates, sometimes falling to zero.

• Sales tax. Consumers cut spending sharply in this downturn, thereby paying less in sales taxes.

There's no question that the severe recession has meant less income for families, which in turn means paying less tax. It is also obvious that if families make less money during a recession, they can't buy as much stuff....which reduces sales tax expenditures on purchases.

However, the point here is the incoherence in our national discourse. Libertarian/conservative/Republican/angry Tea Partyers threw down the gauntlet over a year god, they said, we're Taxed Enough Already. Get it? T.E.A. .....Taxed Enough Already.

When it comes to taxes.....Partyers should be Partying like it's 1950. Obama was correct when he said recently that the Partyers should be thanking him for reducing taxes on all Americans. Oddly enough, they aren't.

It would seem that Partyer groups should change their too-clever-by-half acronymn to T.E.A...N.

Taxed Enough Already....Not

But then, what would I know? I'm not a Republican voter oh-so-upset over being Taxed Enough Already even when the empirical data demonstrates I'm paying taxes at a 50 year low rate.

Do you understand, now, why this lowly blogger characterizes the Tea Party movement as incoherent?

Just for, you know, fun.....

Perhaps the Tea Partyers, after realizing they really aren't Taxed Enough Already...will change their acronymn to something more appropriate. In light of the Big Bankster Blowup and the BP Blowup in the Gulf.....I can recommend a new and improved name which still encapsulates the incoherence the Partyers are after,....yet maintains that "grassroots" earthy Patriotism that only informed, affluent, middle aged, Republican voting, males can muster.

R. E. A. Not as snappy, I know, but it's the incoherence we're after.

Regulated. Enough. Already.

Just might catch on.

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