The Hijacked Tea Party

Earl Clarendon, of The New Pamphleteers was all set to attend a Tea Party event yesterday, but eventually changed his mind, citing the way the Tea Parties have been “hijacked” by B-list conservative celebrities.

The Tea Party movement didn’t need this, the sad parade of B-list conservative celebrities all too eager to attach their name to the cause. The movement did start organically, even if it was soon co-opted by a political machine that politicizes and makes partisan even the most important of issues. Once that issue becomes just another “conservative” thing, all hope of real victory is lost. It is just something else that conservatives will be mocked for, because that is what we do to our political opponents these days. I imagine there’ll be a lot of mocking of our opponents at the Washington Tea Party today, because both sides are equally guilty of the practice.

And yet, the organizers of the D.C. Tea Party invited these pundits to assume leadership, or at least prominence, in the movement. By doing so, I can’t help but feel like they’ve killed something very important. I don’t know why they felt it was so important to have partisans play such a large role in today’s events. Maybe they simply thought it was a good idea. If so, they were wrong.

Eric has more.. much more. Read the whole thing.

I sympathize with Eric’s point of view, but I think that what he’s missing is that the whole conservative/libertarian movement has been pretty much taken over what Steven Taylor calls “Talk Radio made manifest”.

That is to say: bluster, drama and criticism without much actual substance all aimed at an audience predisposed to agree. Sure, there are kernels of ideas and policies, but ultimately very little in terms of actual policy prescriptions. There certainly isn’t an actual argument being proffered.

I’d go even further than Taylor–he sees this as limited to the Tea Parties. I see it as being related to the conservative movement as a whole. This video, entitled “How Conservatives View the IRS” kind of sums up the state of things right now (minus the Ron Paul bits):

We’re barely four months into the Obama Administration, and we already have conservative TV hosts muttering about secession and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas back-handedly muttering it too! And in response to what? A modest tax increase that still keeps taxes lower than they were in Reagan’s day? A bailout of the banks that’s similar to the Republican led S&L bailouts of the late 80s? A controlled bankruptcy of GM that pales in comparison to the Truman’s attempt to nationalize the steel industry? Suggested income caps on CEOs that are nowhere near in scope or breadth as Nixon’s wage and price controls in the 70s? Come on!

Personally, I have to say that I’m pretty concerned about the effects of the Obama Administration on liberty, too. But not because of the TARP program or his willingness to let the Bush tax cuts expire. No, I’m talking about more serious concerns like the fact that Gitmo isn’t closing–it’s just getting a new name and a paint job. But the degradation of America’s proud tradition of humane treatment of prisoners and dedication to due process appears to be continuing unabated. As Thoreau says

Bagram is the new Guantanamo, and we cannot rest easy as the prison at Guantanamo closes. If anything, Bagram will be worse, because it is even farther from the US, in a place even more dangerous and more difficult for journalists and lawyers to reach. In this, at least, Obama is smarter than Bush: If you want to have a gulag, you have to put it in a remote and dangerous locale (like the Soviets did in Siberia), not on a tropical island in a region where planes can fly without being fired upon.

Funny, I don’t recall any large masses of conservatives protesting this–which is an actual threat to liberty. As far as I can tell, though, the conservative movement appears to be fixated on the dual horrors of gay marriage and slightly higher taxes, with the occasional swipe at Mexican immigrants thrown in for grins.

Once upon a time, I’m told, the conservative/libertarian coalition actually believed in liberty and smaller government. Nowadays, though, it appears that the conservative/libertarian coalition believes largely in boogeymen conspiracy theories and lower taxes for the richest 1% with no concern for small businesses or true entrepreneurs. Which I suppose is a blessing for Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh–conspiracy theories are their bread and butter, and lower marginal tax rates means more money for them. But it doesn’t do much for most Americans now, does it?

FILED UNDER: National Security, US Politics, , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Tlaloc says:

    Once upon a time, I’m told, the conservative/libertarian coalition actually believed in liberty and smaller government. Nowadays, though, it appears that the conservative/libertarian coalition believes largely in boogeymen conspiracy theories and lower taxes for the richest 1% with no concern for small businesses or true entrepreneurs.

    My concern is that now we’ve got torture countenanced by both major parties. Both are responsible at this point, really responsible. So who is going to actually be willing and able to end it?

    As I said during the primaries (and got yelled at for a lot) there are going to be an awful lot of disappointed progressives with the Obama presidency.

  2. […] The Hijacked Tea Party […]

  3. I’d go even further than Taylor—he sees this as limited to the Tea Parties. I see it as being related to the conservative movement as a whole.

    Oh no, I concur: it describes, unfortunately, a great deal of the GOP and the conservative/libertarian movement.

    As said a bit later in the post:

    All this describes, by the way, the current state of the Republican Party: populistic, critical and yet empty.

  4. Bithead says:

    How does improsoning people who demonstrably would kill us given the slightest chance, trheaten OUR liberty, Alex?
    Wipe the foam off your mouth, pard.

  5. Michael says:

    How does improsoning people who demonstrably would kill us given the slightest chance, trheaten OUR liberty, Alex?

    During a war, we don’t treat all enemy soldiers as murderers. When WW2 ended, we didn’t insist on imprisoning every former German or Japanese soldier. I have a hard time believing that someone who fired upon foreign soldiers in their home country, necessarily present a danger to my life or property in my home country.

  6. Brian Knapp says:

    How does improsoning people who demonstrably would kill us given the slightest chance, trheaten OUR liberty, Alex?

    Ummm…DUE PROCESS? Do you really want to have a government who is practiced and comfortable withholding it?

  7. brainy435 says:

    What dishonest, partisan hackery. True conservatives and libertarians have been fighting to limit government excesses for many years. Even under President Bush right-leaning blogs and foundations were speaking out about wasteful spending, see the Porkbusters movement for example.

    The problem for short-sighted people like Alex is that the Tea parties HAVE learned a lesson. Fiscal conservatives spent the Republican majorities thinking they could rationally guide GOP members back to fiscal discipline. Didn’t happen, so naturally a new approach was needed. It didn’t come from politicians, or think-tanks, or lobbyists it came from regular citizens. It will grow and will continue to be bipartisan, regardless of these baseless, ignorant attacks.

  8. Boyd says:

    You brought up a nit I’m compelled to pick, Alex. You mention, as many others have, “taxes lower than they were in Reagan’s day.” I think it’s a bit disingenuous to bring that up without context. Did Reagan raise tax rates to that level you mention, or did he cut them from where they were under Carter? I think we all know the answer to that question.

    So it appears to me that you’re following the pattern used by others: conveniently leave out important facts in the attempt to make people believe something that’s not true.

  9. Phil Smith says:

    And in response to what? A modest tax increase that still keeps taxes lower than they were in Reagan’s day?

    I hate to be rude, but anyone who can look at Obama’s proposed spending increases and say with a straight face that tax increases are going to be “modest” is too innumerate or too partisan to reason with. Bush’s deficit last year was a little over $400B, and that was bad enough. The CBO puts this year’s budget at $1.85T. Taxes are going up, sport.

    Oh, and “lower than in Reagan’s day” is a fundamentally dishonest way of phrasing it. “Lower than they were before Reagan got TAMRA and TEFRA passed” would be accurate.

  10. Alex Knapp says:

    Boyd,

    If you recall, Reagan cut taxes early in his term, but RAISED them later.

  11. Phil Smith says:

    Get your facts straight, Alex. TEFRA/TAMRA lowered the top rate to 28%. OBRA 1990 raised the top rate to 31% in 1991.

    OBRA 1993 raised the top rate to 39.6%, and there it stayed until 2001.

  12. brainy435 says:

    http://townhall.com/blog/g/eaf7ffd9-ca7f-4a4e-9494-a7893c413356

    Why would Alex bother with facts when he has perfectly good talking points to regurgitate?

  13. Franklin says:

    Bush’s deficit last year was a little over $400B, and that was bad enough. The CBO puts this year’s budget at $1.85T.

    There are massive accounting differences in these two numbers. I think you know that.

  14. Phil Smith says:

    Bovus fecalis, Franklin. Those numbers all come from the CBO. But I’m willing to be educated. Put up the relevant numbers using the same accounting methods. I’ve sourced my data. You should be able to do the same.

  15. Bithead says:

    Boyd says:

    So it appears to me that you’re following the pattern used by others: conveniently leave out important facts in the attempt to make people believe something that’s not true.

    And I offer another example:

    Ummm…DUE PROCESS? Do you really want to have a government who is practiced and comfortable withholding it?

    All this outrage of course ignores the status of those people. They’re not part of a recognized army, and are in fact terrorists.

  16. Phil Smith says:

    Although re-reading the numbers, last year’s deficit was $458B, which is more than “a little” over $400B. The essential point still stands.

  17. Alex Knapp says:

    Brainy and Phil,

    There are more to taxes than just the top marginal rate. Reagan raised payroll taxes. He cut the number of brackets, which imposed a de facto tax hike on several different sets of incomes. And for his coup de grace he raised the bottom marginal rate from 11% to 15%. (Or are tax hikes okay when they’re imposed on poor people?)

  18. Alex Knapp says:

    Phil,

    That $400B does not include the TARP program or the supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush Administration used a lot of sleight-of-hand accounting to hide the fact that his deficits were enormous.

    I’m not saying that I’m happy with Obama’s budget numbers–I’m not. But it’s BS to say that they’re that much worse than Bush’s. The national debt was about $6T higher when Bush left office than when he took office–which represents an almost doubling of the national debt. At least Obama has the decency to be transparent about how awful his budgets are.

  19. Alex Knapp says:

    All this outrage of course ignores the status of those people. They’re not part of a recognized army, and are in fact terrorists.

    How do you know unless you go through a legal process to determine that information?

    You do know that most of the inhabitants at Gitmo were not found or captured by American soldiers, right? That most of them were not engaged in military action against either Northern Alliance or American forces, right? That most of them have no affiliation with al-Qaeda or the Taliban, right? That some of them were citizens of our allies, right?

  20. Phil Smith says:

    Reagan raised payroll taxes.

    Very true. Social Security was significantly underfunded then, just as the Democrats have suddenly realized it is now. I believe it was James who recently stated that it is a fiction to pretend that SS isn’t general revenue, and we had ought to eliminate that fiction. I wholeheartedly agree.

    He cut the number of brackets, which imposed a de facto tax hike on several different sets of incomes.

    This is much more problematic. I suspect you’re regurgitating talking points again. If you have a multivariate regression analysis you’d like to point me to, I’d be happy to see it. However, doing a quick and dirty comparison of the rates and threshholds for Married Filing Jointly between 86 and 87, we see that the 15% bracket was from $3k to $28k in 87. In 86, on the other hand, the rate went to 16% at $12,840. The 28% bracket (there sere several brackets in between) kicked in at $32,270. So nobody in that income range had a hike.

    In 87, the 28% bracket went from $28k to $45k. In 86, the 28% bracket topped out at $38k. So none of those folks got a tax hike either. It just keeps on going.

    You have two accurate points. Payroll taxes went up. By 3% or so if memory serves. And yes, when the bottom rate went up to 15%, everyone’s taxes went up on the first $3,000 of taxable income (which is a whole ‘nother set of issues). Yep, taxes went up on that bottom bracket – by $120. Ouch. That would have been over the $370 or so they started paying in 87. But let’s get serious here – minimum wage was $3.35 in those days. In order to make less than $3k you had to have a minimum wage job where you worked fewer than 20 hours per week. We’re not talking about “the poor” here. That was “the high school kid with a part-time job”.

    I’ll give you the payroll tax, but the rest is either demonstrably false, or trivial.

  21. Phil Smith says:

    Those are CBO numbers, Alex. I’m comparing CBO numbers to CBO numbers. Find me a similar apples-to-apples comparison showing different numbers, and I’ll be happy to be corrected. Until then, I’m afraid I’ll continue to contend that you are regurgitating misleading talking points.

  22. Alex Knapp says:

    Phil,

    Obama submitted budget numbers to the CBO that included TARP and war expenditures. Bush didn’t, so those numbers weren’t tabulated as part of the budget. So yes, they’re both “CBO numbers”, but they’re working from different assumptions.

    Also, $120 is a BIG DEAL when you’re poor.

  23. Alex Knapp says:

    Phil,

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot–the 1986 Tax Reform Act was revenue neutral. It lowered the top marginal rates and streamlined brackets, but it also raised taxes on businesses–particularly with respect to capital formation.

    And no, that’s not a “regurgitated talking point.” I am nobody’s f***ing puppet.

  24. UlyssesUnbound says:

    Also, $120 is a BIG DEAL when you’re poor.

    As a member of AmeriCorps, whose “living stipend” is calculated at “Poverty rate + 10%,” I just want to attest to how big of a deal $120 is now, let alone in the 1980s.

    After groceries, rent, utilities, and a minimal amount of fuel to a car, my average discretionary cash (including any medical expenses, or unforeseen living costs) for each month is around $30. So a tax increase of $120 would effectively eliminate 4 months worth of budget. Again that is in today’s money. Back then? I can’t even imagine how much that was to the lowest income bracket.

  25. Franklin says:

    I don’t have an apples-to-apples comparison. The deficit is certainly worse than last year, but it’s nowhere near the 300% increase you are claiming.

    On this site U.S. public debt we can see the gross debt changed from 9,008 billion to 10,699.8 billion from 2007 to 2008. One could claim, then, that Bush’s last deficit was approximately 1.7T.

    Or more directly, just use this site referenced from the Wiki site above: Treasury Direct. You can look at the debt growth by the day, which is fun.

    I don’t know what the official fiscal calendar start dates are, but January 1st, 2008 to January 1st, 2009 gives approximately the same number as above. We’ll have to wait eight more months to see what the actual effects of the 2009 budget are, which are of course going to suffer from reduced tax revenues this year (yup, setting expectations here).

  26. Phil Smith says:

    Alex, personal income tax accounts for something like 80% of all federal general revenues. Even if you are correct about corporate tax (and given your record for factual accuracy up to this point, I’m holding that judgment in abeyance), the revenue neutrality was due to the elimination of loopholes in the personal income tax. Besides which, it still doesn’t have anything to do at all with your statement – now proven false – that Reagan “cut the number of brackets, which imposed a de facto tax hike on several different sets of incomes.”

    Now, since I’m keeping an open mind here, howsabout you go ahead and show me the numbers on the 08 budget including supplementals and TARP. You keep on saying that the differences aren’t that great, but you have so far failed utterly to back that up with a number. Please be so kind as to do so.

    Here’s your problem if you do: My original point was that anyone who thinks these deficits can continue without substantial tax hikes across many income brackets is a fool. If you want to argue that Bush’s deficits were larger than the CBO states, that only reinforces my point. But I would like to see the numbers.

    What I can find in various news sources like the WaPo from Feb. 2007 is “The administration also deserves credit for a more candid acknowledgment of the likely cost of the war in Iraq than in budgets past. For the first time, the administration included a realistic estimate of the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the coming year, $145 billion.” Now that sounds like maybe the war was factored in, but YMMV.

    Let’s see some numbers. Even if you double the CBO numbers from 2008, you’re still talking about nearly an additional TRILLION DOLLAR deficit. You’re not going to win this one, whether you’re a puppet or not. But you could go a long ways towards eliminating that perception by ponying up some actual data and admitting that you were factually wrong about the Reagan era tax rates.

  27. brainy435 says:

    More dishonesty. If you want to go more in-depth concerning federal tax burdens you may want to reflect on ALL of them, then, not just the few that might tend to prop up your fallacy:

    “These reductions for the lowest-income groups were so large because President Reagan doubled the personal exemption, increased the standard deduction, and tripled the earned income tax credit (EITC), which provides net cash for single-parent families with children at the lowest income levels. These changes eliminated income tax liability altogether for over 4 million lower-income families”

    http://www.heritage.org/research/taxes/bg1414.cfm

    So you have shown that some PARTS of the tax burden may have increased under Regan but given absolutley no proof that the total burden increased, especially for the poor who according to the research above were removed entirely from tax rolls (which I do not approve of, everyone needs to pay taxes). Next time you want to parrot others arguments maybe you should make sure those arguments are correct?

  28. Phil Smith says:

    Thank you for that, Franklin. Comparing actual deficit to actual debt is something of an apples to oranges comparison, as you forthrightly admit, but at least it’s something.

    According to that site, the total debt has gone up rougly 1.1 trillion since September (through March). 500 billion of that since January. The evidence just keeps mounting – taxes are going up.

  29. Tlaloc says:

    All this outrage of course ignores the status of those people. They’re not part of a recognized army, and are in fact terrorists.

    Yeah, like Padilla, that foreign terrorist picked up in afghanistan…

    what? He was an american citizen? And he was arrested on American soil?

    Well okay then but he didn’t deserve his constitutional rights to habeus corpus and a speedy trial because… um… huh.

    Bugger.

  30. Alex Knapp says:

    Phil and Brainy,

    The whole POINT of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was to offset decline in revenue from cutting the top marginal rate by increasing corporate taxes. And coporate taxes, like all business and sales taxes, tend to affect the population in regressive ways. Higher corporate taxes mean higher prices, the burden for which tends to be disproportionately borne by the poor.

    Also, as a matter of de facto rather than de jure, something like 25% of people who should receive the EITC don’t because they don’t know how to file for it. So while on paper their tax burden is less, the reality is that it is not.

    Our byzantine tax system makes it easy to decrease your tax burden if you’re well educated or well off enough to hire someone to do your taxes for you. It’s not quite so easy to navigate for single moms who are working two jobs.

    The fact of the matter is, through a bunch of handwaving accounting tricks, the 1986 Act made it look like lower taxes for all on paper, but in terms of actual tax burden, it was regressive and increased the burden on the poor and middle class through a reliance on the EITC and a hike in corporate taxes.

    I will grant, though, that if you were well-off and could afford an accountant, your tax burden was lowered under Reagan.

  31. brainy435 says:

    So…. your argument, such as it is, was first taxes were higher under Regan, then after we all stopped laughing you switched to PARTS of the tax code were higher for poor people, and now that that fallacy has been exposed your contention is that ok, yes, Regan cut taxes, but it doesn’t count because the tax code is too hard? How pathetic.

    And all of this without ANYTHING to back up your sad-sack accusations. How typically liberal.

    For extra irony, a very large percentage of Tea Party protestors would like to see the tax code vastly simplified. Just look at Glen Renyolds site to see that that is true. So if you were the kind of person who took positions based on rational thought or principle instead of blind partisanship you’d actually be praising the protests instead of slandering them.

  32. Phil Smith says:

    The fact of the matter is, through a bunch of handwaving accounting tricks, the 1986 Act made it look like lower taxes for all on paper, but in terms of actual tax burden, it was regressive and increased the burden on the poor and middle class through a reliance on the EITC and a hike in corporate taxes.

    You’re just not going to provide any actual data to back up your assertions, are you?

    All the handwaving I’m seeing is coming from you. And even if we accept your bald assertions as accurate in the absence of any evidence other than your assertion, you still haven’t accounted for the quite simple fact that the tax rates decreased for nearly everyone, contra your prior assertion, as I’ve already demonstrated.

    And besides, claiming that qualifying for the EITC requires some sort of arcane accounting knowledge is just gibberish. If you can answer questions like “how many children live in your household?” and “how much money did you make?”, and do some simple arithmetic, you can see if you qualify.

    As for the claim that the corporate income tax rates increased – well, that is yet more moonshine. According to the IRS, corporate income tax rates went down in 82, 83, had a strange blip in 84-86 where they went up 5% between 1m and 1.4m, and then – whaddaya know – went down in 87 and again in 88.

    Come on, Alex. Either present some data, or just admit you may have been mis-informed and let it go. Your argumentation up to now is . . . unbecoming.

  33. Alex Knapp says:

    Brainy,

    So…. your argument, such as it is, was first taxes were higher under Regan, then after we all stopped laughing you switched to PARTS of the tax code were higher for poor people, and now that that fallacy has been exposed your contention is that ok, yes, Regan cut taxes, but it doesn’t count because the tax code is too hard? How pathetic.

    Under Reagan, the top marginal rate was 50% until 1986. So yeah, for six years under Reagan, tax rates were higher than Obama’s proposals.

    In 1987, while the top marginal rate fell as a result of the 1986 tax reform act, the top rate was still 38.5%–just 1.1% lower than Obama’s current proposal. Then in 1988, the top marginal rate fell to 28%.

    However, after the Tax Reform Act, the bottom marginal rate increased. This was theoretically offset by the EITC, but as I mentioned, somewhere between 15-25% of those eligible for EITC don’t know to file for it, so it goes unclaimed, resulting in a de facto tax burden.

    Additionally, some of the middle income brackets also saw a tax hike. For example, in 1986, incomes in the middle brackets had a marginal rate lower than what those same incomes paid in 1987. That was a temporary effect in 1987 only, though–not permanent like I previously stated, which was my mistake.

    However, it is important to note that the revenue earned by lowering the rates was offset by increasing the corporate tax burden. Not by raising rates, but rather by eliminating tax shelters on passive income. But as corporate taxation tends to get passed on to consumers in the form of price increases, that becomes a de facto burden. I suppose one could argue that it’s still relatively neutral relative to the income tax decreases–I don’t have numbers on the 1986 Act specifically. But I would note that corporate and other business taxes tend to be regressive, which means again a higher tax burden on the poor.

    And all of this without ANYTHING to back up your sad-sack accusations.

    Note links above–esp. regarding marginal tax rates.

    For extra irony, a very large percentage of Tea Party protestors would like to see the tax code vastly simplified.

    They want it simplified but regressive, resulting in tax hikes for the poor and middle class and lower taxes for the wealthy. I’m good with simplification. The tax code is nuts. Let’s start by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction and I’m there. But I am very, very opposed to raising taxes on the poor as long as we have a regulatory climate that favors big corporations and lifetime employment over small business, entrepeneurship, and self-employment.

    Phil — I trust that the above answers your concerns as well.

  34. brainy435 says:

    Yes, Regan cut them TO 50 from 70, as the article I linked mentioned. Your’s is still a highly dishonest argument, and for the same reasons listed in the article. Par for the course for you so far.

    Then you finally get around to admitting that Regan’s 87 tax cuts lowered them below Obama’s proposed rates AND THEN LOWERED THEM FURTHER in 88. So, you lied and you kinda admit it. Ok. But then you seize on EITC like a rabid dog because you can feverishly dismiss it with your irrelevant statistics. People taxing themselves through their ignorance isn’t the same as an imposed tax. Everyone who uses the exemption method of paying tax taxes themselves by the amount that withheld money would have accrued interest, but they can opt out of that system, just like they can actually read the tax code and discover what they are paying and how to get their money back. Stupid argument.

    BUT you dismiss the other factors I also brought up, “President Reagan doubled the personal exemption, increased the standard deduction,” and that he removed 4 million people from the tax rolls entirely. How the hell can someone remove a person from the tax rolls AND raise their taxes? It’s bad enough to cherry pick facts to mold to your argument, but pathetic to double down on it after being called out for it. Or are the American people too dumb to figure those out, too?

    And this talk of “raising taxes” is bull as well. Regan eliminated a tax bracket that only went up to 3k a year. As shown previously he also removed 4 million people from the tax rolls. Are you claiming that people making less than 3k a year weren’t the people removed from the tax rolls? With a straight face? Phil already tried to set you straight on that point, so I guess this is more doubling down on your dishonest assertations.

    Wait, are you actually arguing that closing tax loopholes is a tax increase on businesses? Really? After all your bluster about the rich being able to pay lass taxes because they can afford tax preparers you want to fault Regan for closing off a loophole where people who can afford to buy property solely to shelter their money from taxes? So not only are you dishonest, you are incoherent as well.

    I’d really like to see where any protestor has called for raising taxes on the poor… unless you are referring to people who want to make sure everyone pays SOME tax to keep the tied into the system. If you can’t show that, then you just said that you support the protests, and at the end of a post slandering them. My, my.

  35. Phil Smith says:

    Well, it’s an improvement. However, let’s note one thing about the EITC:

    those that don’t file at all, either because they are afraid to file or because they have no tax liability and are not aware that EITC is refundable even if they have no tax liability.

    Granted, if they’re entitled, they’re entitled. However, in this instance, your point about TEFRA creating an effective tax hike is obviously false, since “no tax liability” means they ain’t paying taxes. “Afraid to file” almost certainly means that they’re illegal, or have illegal sources of income. I’m not going to get exercised about either group, frankly.

    As for corporate income – well, if the best you can come up with is that Reagan eliminated some passive income shelters – well, let’s just say that it’s a far cry from “raising corporate taxes” as you claimed previously.

    All in all, at least you made an effort. You’re a country mile away from establishing any point about taxes not really going down after 86; you’re still flogging a fundamentally misleading and dishonest point about the tax code that he inherited and eventually succeeded in changing; you’re wildly off the mark by claiming that today’s tax code is “byzantine” on the one hand, and failing to recognize how vastly more complicated and wealthy-favoring the tax code was prior to that (we haven’t begun to talk about endowment contracts – what an unbelievable shelter they were).

    And finally, it still entirely misses the point. I’ve wasted entirely too much time on this topic today, but anyone who thinks we can maintain and even increase spending as Obama has outlined our way forward, and not see significant rises in income tax or other taxes, is nothing better than a fool. Or a thoroughly dishonest partisan hack who thinks everyone else is a fool. And believe me, Alex, when Obama goes about raising taxes on corporations, eliminating deductions, implementing cap-and-trade, and otherwise increasing the cost of doing business, I’m going to remind you time and time again that you did your dead-level best to paint Reagan as effectively raising taxes on the poor by eliminating the passive income shelters that existed prior to 86.

  36. Alex Knapp says:

    Brainy,

    I said “A modest tax increase that still keeps taxes lower than they were in Reagan’s day?”

    This is, by and large, true. For six years of the Reagan Administration, taxes were higher than what Obama currently proposes. Period.

    Ok. But then you seize on EITC like a rabid dog because you can feverishly dismiss it with your irrelevant statistics. People taxing themselves through their ignorance isn’t the same as an imposed tax.

    It is if it’s systemic and no efforts are taken by the government to remedy the situation.

    BUT you dismiss the other factors I also brought up, “President Reagan doubled the personal exemption, increased the standard deduction,”

    Yes, but that was to offset the fact that the consumer loan interest deduction was eliminated–revenue neutral for most households.

    he removed 4 million people from the tax rolls entirely

    Those people still paid FICA taxes, and Reagan increased FICA taxes.

    Wait, are you actually arguing that closing tax loopholes is a tax increase on businesses? Really?

    It’s a de facto increase, yes. And those costs were passed on to consumers. The closing of the loophole should have come along with a decreased tax rate, but it didn’t.

    After all your bluster about the rich being able to pay lass taxes because they can afford tax preparers you want to fault Regan for closing off a loophole where people who can afford to buy property solely to shelter their money from taxes?

    Because it didn’t come with a decrease in the rate, yes, because the taxes were largely paid by businesses who passed the increased costs to the consumer in the form of higher prices–a de facto shift of tax burden to the poor and middle class.

    I’d really like to see where any protestor has called for raising taxes on the poor

    The “Fair Tax”, which I understand is the predominant favorite “simplification” measure, does just that, in fact.

    unless you are referring to people who want to make sure everyone pays SOME tax to keep the tied into the system.

    No, I refer to those people who propose a “fair” tax that decreases the tax burden on the rich while raising it on the poor.

    Remember, even people who are exempt from paying income taxes still pay FICA taxes, as well as sales taxes, property taxes (either directly or as a portion of rent), and federal excise taxes.

  37. Phil Smith says:

    Because it didn’t come with a decrease in the rate

    Sigh. Alex, click through on that IRS link above. Yes, it did come with a decrease in the corporate tax rates.

    Those people still paid FICA taxes, and Reagan increased FICA taxes.

    Which was greater after TEFRA, Alex – the bottom income tax rate, or the FICA rate? Take your time.

    I give up. You’ve made up your mind in the absence of data, and no amount of historical data is going to change it.

  38. brainy435 says:

    Your line was intended to be misleading and is highly dishonest. “In Reagan’s day” implies taxes that were a result of his policies and attempts to hide that you were talking about the time before his policies were fully implemented.

    All your middle blather still does not show that any people paid more taxes under Reagan than they stand to under Obama. Especially the nonsense about FICA, which is meant to be paid back through Social Security.

    Oh. My. God. Obama keeps trying to raise all our taxes!! Alex said so!
    http://levin.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=269479

    Great argument about the fair tax. I’ve seen it promoted in comments on this site before, so according to your logic OTB must be promoting the fair tax as well. Yes that’s a stupid accusation, which is the whole point.

    And what part of the taxes you mentioned contibute to the general welfare of the federal government? FICA is designed to come back to you, sales and property taxes are local. Thats leaves excise taxes, which are a flat tax paid by everyone, usually unknown to the majority of people. Doesn’t exactly give buy-in like having to type out exactly how much money you give to the federal government each year.

    Please refer to the first rule of holes if you wish to continue your “arguments.”

  39. Alex Knapp says:

    Phil,

    Sigh. Alex, click through on that IRS link above. Yes, it did come with a decrease in the corporate tax rates.

    Phil – your link is broken. If the rates did go down, that’s my bad.

    Which was greater after TEFRA, Alex – the bottom income tax rate, or the FICA rate? Take your time.

    Um, both the FICA rate and the bottom income tax rate were higher than they were pre-1986.

    Brainy,

    “In Reagan’s day” implies taxes that were a result of his policies

    You mean you’re now claiming that he wasn’t responsible for the cut from 70 to 50 now?

    All your middle blather still does not show that any people paid more taxes under Reagan than they stand to under Obama.

    What I’m saying is that two people in the same income tax brackets would have a higher burden during the bulk of Reagan’s presidency than they would have under Obama’s proposed tax plan. That’s it.

    Especially the nonsense about FICA, which is meant to be paid back through Social Security.

    Umm… all taxes are paid back in some form or another…

    Oh. My. God. Obama keeps trying to raise all our taxes!! Alex said so!

    If the bill comes without a commiserrate tax rate decrease, then yes, that is a de facto tax increase.

    Great argument about the fair tax. I’ve seen it promoted in comments on this site before, so according to your logic OTB must be promoting the fair tax as well. Yes that’s a stupid accusation, which is the whole point.

    Hey, that’s the predominant tax plan I’ve seen promoted by prominent tea party supporting bloggers. If you have an alternative that actually simplifies taxes while not increasing tax burdens on the poor, I’d definitely be interested. I’m certianly more interested in ideas than I am childish insults.

    And what part of the taxes you mentioned contibute to the general welfare of the federal government? FICA is designed to come back to you

    In theory, yes, but de facto FICA money goes into the general revenue as long as Medicare and Social Security are running a surplus, which they currently are.

    Thats leaves excise taxes, which are a flat tax paid by everyone, usually unknown to the majority of people.

    That doesn’t mean that they don’t pay taxes. Plus, the poor pay taxes in the form of higher prices as a consequence of corporate taxes. (If it were up to me, there would be no corporate taxes.)

    Please refer to the first rule of holes if you wish to continue your “arguments.”

    The first rule of holes is that we do not talk about holes.

  40. Phil Smith says:

    Um, both the FICA rate and the bottom income tax rate were higher than they were pre-1986.

    I apologize for being cryptic. If you pay 2-3% more FICA, but no income tax at all, you pay less tax. Prior to TEFRA, if your taxable income was less than $3k you paid no tax. You paid 10% on 3 to I forget what. After, if you had taxable income at all, you paid 11%. You also paid more FICA.

    However, those 4 million people brainy mentions were no longer paying income tax at all, so the lowest paid worker traded a bump in FICA for a complete elimination of an 11% income tax. More take-home pay. And I reiterate, that rate wasn’t the working poor. That was part-time minimum wage.

    The broken link is to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/02corate.pdf. Enjoy it in good health.

  41. brainy435 says:

    You should have looked up the rules. You just keep diggin.

    And we all know what you’re shoveling. You dishonestly portyayed Reagan’s efforts to decrease taxes, made up hypothetical and imaginary situations to insinuate Obama’s tax rates will be more beneficial to the poor and invented from whole cloth that the protests had anything to do with the fair tax movement.

    And then you mention yet another grievance you have in common with the protestors you slandered, again showing that you care more about partisan sniping than in honest discourse.

    Stop digging.

  42. fix bad credit…

    If you were to ask any financial expert whether or not you need to check you credit report, chances are they will tell you it is essential information to check up on at least once a year. The average person, however, has never checked their score and i…