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Weekly Roundup: Not Enough Taxes

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Taxes!I’m sure you’ve heard about the TEA Party, “Taxed Enough Already,” and how they want change (if you haven’t, turn on the news!). Well, did you also know that, according to a USA Today’s article, we are paying the lowest amount of taxes in 60 years? Federal, state, and local taxes consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest since 1950 and far below the 12% average of the last fifty years.

Remember, the tax brackets are just a starting point… after deductions and credits, very few people pay anything close to their marginal tax rate.

Here are this week’s choice cuts:

  • 60 Minutes had a short piece today about strategic defaulting, where homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages willingly walk away from a loan. I’m OK with it and most of you are too (if last year’s Your Take on whether it’s OK to default on an underwater mortgage still holds).
  • Gen Y workers are not only the worst performers but have the greatest sense of entitlements, says a new academic study from the University of New Hampshire. “As a group, he says, Gen Yers are characterized by a “very inflated sense of self” that leads to “unrealistic expectations” and, ultimately, “chronic disappointment.”” Yikes.
  • I was glad to share some thoughts with Liz Weston on her latest article “5 ways to earn more from your bank.” Definitely worth checking out and not just because I was in it! :)
  • Trent at The Simple Dollar explains why it may be a mistake to chase interest rates. He gives a lot of good reasons why.
  • Jeremy looks at The 7 Biggest Money Problems for Most People… how many of them do you have?

Finally, Lazy Man shares 8 ways to be more focused when you work from home. I found eating breakfast (and wearing pants) are absolutely crucial.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and be on the lookout for this week’s New Graduate Guide!

(Photo: alancleaver)

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48 Responses to “Weekly Roundup: Not Enough Taxes”

  1. PT says:

    I suspect that people in the TEA parties are the one’s paying the taxes. Otherwise they wouldn’t be complaining.

    If the point of that USA Today article is to diminish the TEA party effort, then they need to take a look at what’s coming down the pipe. Government spending is out of control. Entitlement programs and bureaucracies are exploding in growth.

    I think it’s sad that the media takes on honest, hard working people to defend the US govt. I’m not a TEA partier, but I like when people stand up against an over reaching govt for our personal liberties.

    The story USA Today needs to be writing is “Have You Seen the Deficit Lately?”

    Sorry for getting so political. I just can’t stand seeing these slanted articles about how much I’m not taxed. I pay a s-load in taxes and expect to pay a s-load more if things continue like they are.

    • billsnider says:

      I like your comment that the tea party people must be paying the taxes since they are the ones who are complaining.

      Good thought.

      Bill Snider

  2. Jim,

    I’m not a member of the TEA Party, but I have followed their progress and I have family members who are very active. I think one their biggest beefs is exactly what you are saying in your article. The bottom 47% of taxpayers are paying no taxes and many big corporations are paying no taxes, so the entire burden of the government falls on the remaining 53% of citizens. That’s why they feel they are Taxed Enough Already.

    I also think it’s interesting how the TEA Party is being characterized as a bunch of whackos and rednecks by the media. Most of the TEA Party people I know are very knowledgeable and concerned about our nation’s future. And, since the government is on a wild spending spree and accumulating debt at an unprecedented rate, I believe their concern is well founded.

    Bret

  3. Ugh. I feel really bad about my effective rate now.

    I’m a bit hesitant to take these stats as gospel truth quite yet, either. USA Today made a pretty major error regarding baseball salaries a couple of months ago (large enough that many fans were seriously questioning the data even before they corrected it), so my trust in them isn’t really sky high at the moment.

  4. billsnider says:

    You forget to add into taxes things like social security, state and local fees and also real estate taxes. This is a better and a more depressing statistic when you add it all up.

    Bill Snider

  5. billsnider says:

    On strategic defaylt, I am horrified reading this and also your opinion that this is right. This rips right through the moral fiber of who we are. I, like you know people who walked away from their home even though they could afford the payments. They looked at it as cutting their losses. What have we become?

    Bill Snider

  6. billsnider says:

    I started to read the Gen Y article and got sick. Says something about where we are headed.

    Bill Snider.

    • Shirley says:

      The ego-boosts and praise given freely to the Gen Yers were meant to boost self confidence and motivation.
      And yes, given without being a reward for effort, they did lead to a very inflated sense of self.
      The widespread attitude of ‘I want my child to have more than I did’ also added greatly to (or possiby caused?) their sense of entitlement.

      While I agree that the generation is made up of a high percentage of ‘I wants’ and ‘I ams’, there is also a high percentage of Gen Yers with realistic attitudes about work and responsibilities, and that circle widens as they age and come in close contact with the real world which doesn’t just ‘love them for who they are’.

  7. eric says:

    “wearing pants” <—wow, I needed that lol.

  8. Don C says:

    I don’t like paying taxes just as much as the next guy (or gal) but I think eveyone making some kind of income should pay in something. Even if its a 1% to 5% tax rate. Eveyone expects a hand out (or bail out) from the gov’t these days, but they have no sense of who’s payng for it. Put a real price tag on all of these entitlements and let’s see how many people really want them all. Its easy to vote for big entitlement programs when over 50% of the population is not paying anything for it.

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      It’s also easy to forget how much our taxes do do, and how many people greatly benefit from them without even recognizing it (many people in the middle and upper classes could benefit more than low-income in some areas).

  9. Mo says:

    The low rates the US Today article are citing are utter nonsense. As noted in the comments to the article, more than 45% of the U.S. population pays zero income taxes, and most of the rest pay much higher total rates than the small tax burden US Today claims. So that 9.2 percent rate is utter bullshit.

    I will also add that the ultra-rich…the Warren Buffets and Bill and Melinda Gates types..huge donors to the Democrats…pay very small tax rates because they are able to use tax breaks ONLY available to the few at the top of the heap. Warren doesn’t have income, because he never sells his stock, and I read somewhere that even HIS tax rate is 17%. But that’s a lot less than most middle-income workers pay (see comments on the article..”I pay 25%”, “I pay a lot more than 9%” etc). Bill and Melinda use their foundation to shelter money from taxes (I’m not saying the Foundation is a scam, or that it’s only purpose is to shelter income from taxes, but I know the average person can’t set up a foundation!)

    This kind of article will be used by the Left as justification to further deplete the bank accounts of the middle class and small business owners and the productive members of society. They have wasted many billions of monies, can’t control spending, and will soak us with their debt problems.

    America will be bankrupted and the Marxists will have won the day by destroying the middle class. 9.2% . LIARS.

    Oh, and I don’t care about the standard retorts of how the conservative and Republican politicians did the same or worse. I agree, but who gives a crap? The point is, raising taxes is a loser’s game. Hoover did it in 1931 and it’s one of the reasons the recession of that time turned into the Great Depression. Raising taxes is economically STUPID, unless it’s on the Buffets and Gates; but it will be on the small biz owner who can’t buy off Senators and Reps, and the workers making 80k/year.

  10. Will says:

    Well, obviously someone is not paying their share. Our tax burden for 2009 was the largest ever. This USA TOday article defies all logic.

    • CLARENCESWINNEY says:

      2009 BIGGEST TAX YEAR?

      No! We failed to collect Revenue to pay our bill. Deficit largest.Not Revenue collections. Down.

      Our problem number two– spend too much tax too little.

      If we are to spend let us get revenue

      Clinton-Newt did it. Surpluses as far as eye could see.

      Tax Rich. Cut some spending.

      Bush went on spending spree and cut revenue spree Deja Vu Reagan and Coolidge

      He increased spending by 100%. Debt 100%.

      His 1700B Tax Cuts for, primarily, top 10%
      cost him 8500B of Revenue which would have given him a 2100 Billion Surplus instead of 6100B of Debt.

      He inherited a Fiscal program to give surpluses for many years.
      He copied Reagan idea of spend like crazy and cut taxes.
      Reagan could have had a surplus had he not cut Taxes for Top 10%.

      His OMB Director said the Tax Cut was Trojan Horse to disguise amount to top 10%

      Reagan + Bush gave America an erupting financial volcano for Obama to correct..

      I doubt he can do it. Clinton could.

      cswinney old ugly mean honest

      • uclalien says:

        I agree with a few of your points. The fact that some people continue to mention Bush and conservatism in the same sentence is an absolute joke. Look at his record:

        * Centralized control of education (No Child Left Behind)
        * Medicare drug benefit
        * Patriot Act
        * Nationalization of airport security
        *Socialization of virtually the entire banking system
        * Freddie and Fannie takeover (government directly and indirectly owns over 90% of all mortgages today)
        * Put up more protectionist barriers than his father and Clinton combined
        * Spent more than any president in American history
        * Bailed out airlines
        * Bailed out auto companies
        * Bailed out insurance companies
        * Intensified health care controls
        * Massive increase in agricultural subsidies
        * Guaranteed savings and money fund accounts
        * Doubled the national debt

        You are correct that the government spends far too much, but mistaken in saying the government taxes too little. Despite this severity of this downturn, inflation adjusted tax revenues are still up by 61% since 1980. The problem is that government spending is up 159% over that time period.

        While Clinton might not have been inclined to spend as lavishly as Bush, inflation adjusted federal spending under Clinton rose 12%. In reality, Clinton was a benefactor of circumstances well beyond his, or the government’s, realm of control. He was fortunate to serve as president during a massive bubble that burst just before leaving office. As such, tax revenues were artificially inflated during the 90s. The idea that Clinton had anything to do with the short-lived success of the 90s or that he could have solved today’s fiscal problems is severely misguided.

        And of course Obama won’t be able to correct the government’s fiscal problems. So far, he has been nothing more than Bush on steroids. You can’t solve a spending problem by taking on more debt in increasing your future obligations. I can’t be the only one who sees this technique as counter-intuitive.

  11. uclalien says:

    I question the validity of the argument that we are not paying enough taxes. As of 2007, inflation adjusted tax revenues had risen by 100% (a record high) since 1980. As a result of the economic downturn, this number has now dropped to 61% (based on 2010 projections).

    Since this is a personal finance blog, let’s put it in those terms. If your inflation adjusted income rises by 61%, but your inflation adjusted spending increases by nearly 150%, do you blame your resulting financial woes on being deprived of income?

  12. jim says:

    THe USA Today article is looking at the figures reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That is the govt. body that calculates GDP and other figures. They are looking at the ‘current taxes’ paid as % of total personal income. Looking at BEA data the portion of current taxes / personal income is at a 60 year low. It comes out to 9.2% in 2009 and hasn’t been under 10% since 1950. According to BEA figures, personal current taxes went down considerably from 2008 to 2009 from about 1.4T to 1.1T.

    • uclalien says:

      The fact that prosperity has boomed over the past 60 years (as proven by skyrocketing tax revenues beyond those attributed to population growth) despite declining marginal tax rates seems to further weaken your point that we are not being taxed enough. Perhaps, as many believe, taxes are a drag on an economy after all.

      We must also look at the starting point for the data you are using, 1950. I’m fairly certain that taxes as a percentage of income peaked around this time. In other words, prior to FDR and the Great Depression, taxes were always lower than 1950 levels. If I had to guess, I would say that we are now taxed at a higher rate than the 150 years of US history prior to the 1920s.

      • jim says:

        I was not personally making any declarations about being taxed too high or too little. Just confirming the data USA today article cited. In don’t think anyone said we’re being taxed “too little”. p.s. I”m a different Jim than the author of the blog.

        • jim says:

          Oh… I just noticed the title of the article is actually ‘not enough taxes’ so I guess that implies that the author does think taxes are not high enough. I was not echoing that sentiment myself.

      • cubiclegeoff says:

        Hard to say when the tax rate in the 70s topped off around 90%.

    • uclalien says:

      As others have pointed out, nearly half the population pays zero to negative (resulting from tax credits) federal income taxes, which severely distorts the average.

      A few notes:
      1) Take it from someone who has spent his entire career in public finance, there are any number of ways for public agencies to enact taxes without using the term “taxes.” Here in California, municipalities are fond of “fees,” whether it’s a permit, licensing, or user fee. The Federal government is particularly fond of using the term “reform,” whether it be health care, environmental (think cap and trade), financial, or any other euphemism it prefers.

      2) The “personal current tax” figure that the BEA uses ignores all types of taxes, including: sales, fuel, Social Security, Medicare, estate, gift, transient occupancy, cigarette taxes, and so on.

      3) Taxes on company products, services or employment (e.g., duties, tariffs, FICA, etc) are paid in part or in whole by consumers and employees.

      4) You might ask, why did the USA Today author use 1950 as a baseline when data was available back to 1929? Because it was a date that best supported his case. Prior to 1950 the average tax rate was 4.9%. And prior to 1943, the average tax rate was 2.1%.

  13. zapeta says:

    Thanks for sharing! While I think people at the bottom of the tax brackets should pay something small (5% maybe) rather than zero the upper brackets have nothing to complain about given that taxes are at a historical low. I can’t say that I feel bad that someone has to pay 35% of what they make over 373,650. Where they really need to close the loopholes are in corporate taxes where corporations are getting away with paying nothing.

  14. billsnider says:

    Mayor Bloomberg of NY City made a statement on public radio last month that 1% of the population pays 50% of the income tax there. Note that I said income tax and not fees, real estate, sales tax and other such things. So this is only part of the story.

    None the less, it is still a startling figure when you think about it and says a lot about taxes in general. To argue that the wealthy are not paying, is a silly arguement. It is valid to say that they feel the pain a whole lot less than poor people.

    Bill snider

  15. NateUVM says:

    I love it when people get all angry when facts get in the way of their arguments… I know stats can be skewed to represent whatever the “skewer” would want, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are….facts.

    And if those on the “right” seem to think that corporations don’t pay enough taxes, I’d thank them not to be so hypocritical as to lump ALL the blame on the left.

    For a recent example of the government fighting for corporations and not “regular Americans”, etc… Check out the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the regulation of corporate donations to political campaigns. The ruling fell right down party lines…and it wasn’t the Liberal Wing that sided with the corporations….

    And why is it that the “Right” is the side fighting the regulation of Wall Street? Is it because they are protecting us, or big business?

    I’m sure there are plenty of instances where the Left coddles Corporate America, I’m just sick of they hypocrisy that states that they’re the only ones.

    So, take a look at those stats, and realize that yes, we do pay a lower effective rate than Americans have paid in the past 60 years. Given the responses I’ve seen here, it’s no surprise that we’ve become the deeply polarized society (Left vs. Right) that we find ourselves…unwilling to accept when facts get in the way of our arguments.

    (Sorry for the rant.)

    • Anonymous says:

      “we find ourselves…unwilling to accept when facts get in the way of our arguments.”

      Does this apply to you as well or are you the only enlighten one (a very common leftist trait ;-)

      • NateUVM says:

        Oh, I’m sure I do it, too. In fact, I know that I do…I get upset at myself when it’s pointed out. Just seemed like the comments were trending in one direction here, so I decided to provide the dissenting opinion.

        I would never deign to claim to be enlightened. (pun intended)

  16. MD says:

    2 points

    1. The USA today article is only looking at income taxes, and not considering the total tax burden (property taxes, sales tax, etc)

    2. Since income taxes are progressive (make more, pay more %), the major reason that we are paying record low percentages is because incomes are down, or non-existent for 10% – 15% of the population, due to the massive recession.

    The article is very misleading.

  17. freeby50 says:

    The taxes counted by the BEA are the “personal current taxes” which they define as :
    “Personal current taxes. Includes taxes paid by persons on income, including realized net capital gains, and on personal property.”

  18. freeby50 says:

    Tax Foundation also tracks overall tax burden levels. They figure total federal, state and local income tax burden to figure their ‘tax freedom day’. Tax Foundation is generally anti-tax and not likely to spin data to minimize the tax burden.

    Their data also supports that the current taxation level is at a low for several decades.

    See their data:

    chart going back to 70′s: http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday/
    select data for 1900 to 2010:
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/386.html

  19. Gosh, I get so darned tired of listening to people bitch about taxes.

    How do they think we get roads built? Bridges built? Where do they think schools come from? Do they really think it would be better for all of us to home-school our kids, or to rely on private entities like, oh, say, Qwest, to educate our children? Did none of them watch last week’s Frontline report on the quality of education delivered by for-profit “colleges” and “universities”? Have they never used a public library? Have they never put their kids in a summer program run by their town or city’s public parks program? Did they all go to private colleges and universities, paying the vast tuition for places like Princeton, Yale, and Stanford out of pocket? Where does the water that comes out of the taps in their kitchen come from? Is each and every one of them ready to pick up a machine gun and defend his home against an invading army? And who among them will be the general and who the privates in the unfunded militia that will protect our country against those who hate it?

    Bill says, “You forget to add into taxes things like social security, state and local fees and also real estate taxes.” I weep with agony over being forced to pay a few bucks for the services.

    If it were not for Social Security, after a lifetime of hard work and a bouquet of graduate degrees, I would be sleeping on the street and blogging from the library. Oh–no, I wouldn’t. There wouldn’t be any libraries without local taxes. I would not be blogging at all. Nor would I be eating.

    When I was laid off from my job–as the result, we might add, of lax regulation of the financial industry and the logical consequences of misguided theories about economy and government–I was forced into retirement because I am too old to get another job and do not know how to wait tables or stock shelves at the local WalMart (which wasn’t hiring anyway). Without Social Security, which now represents more than half my income, I would have lost my paid-off home because I could not have paid the utilities or the cost of maintaining it. I would not have enough to to buy food or clothing.

    Were it not for Medicare, I would not have any access to health care, because at my age and with my rather normal medical records, I would be ineligible for health insurance and even if I could get a policy, I could not afford it it. For the health plan that cost $36 a month while I was working, COBRA charges $500 a month. Medicare is pretty stiff, too: 8.33 times what I was paying on the job, where my employer footed most of the bill. The largest part of the individual’s cost of Medicare goes to private entities: Medicare Part D and Medigap are covered by the same insurance companies that rip you younger folks off; they only reason you can get full coverage in these programs–assuming you move fast and get yourself a policy the instant you become eligible–is that the federal government requires it.

    The point of this rant: Taxes don’t just evaporate into the air. They buy essential services.

    Those services keep our country safe, make commerce and communication possible, make our record high life expectancy possible (if you were born in 1900, when taxes were nil, you could expect to live around 50 years), make it possible for us to educate our children for nothing or nearly nothing (have you priced private grade schools and high schools lately?), and relieve you from having to support your aged and infirm parents.

    Among other things.

    So please. Give it a rest!

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      This is always good to point out. As I said above, our taxes benefit many people and they don’t realize it.

    • uclalien says:

      I would like to address a few of your point.

      1) Most people don’t complaint about taxes that go to build roads, bridges, libraries, schools, water systems, and pay for military defense (note: not offense). This is a straw man if I’ve ever heard it. People complain about the ever-expanding grip the government has on our everyday lives. If you can’t see that the government now taxes for “services” (I use this term lightly) far beyond your short list and far beyond what any reasonable person would label as necessities, there is no helping you.

      2) As someone who warned others years in advance, I consider myself a quasi-expert on the housing bubble. I can say without a doubt that nearly a century of government pushing home ownership through various programs were as much, if not more, of a root cause of the housing bubble/economic downturn than any contributions the financial sector made. (Please note that I am not saying the financial sector doesn’t deserve a great deal of blame. But in many ways, the financial sector was simply responding to the incentives our government created for banks to take on excessive risk.) Heck, the government, through its various agencies, now owns over 90% of all US mortgages. It uses tax dollars to prop up home prices while simultaneously uses tax dollars to subsidize home ownership. If that isn’t a waste of tax dollars, I don’t know what is. Are these the necessary services that you speak of?

      3) As far as Social Security and Medicare, your lifetime of work and paying into these programs will only cover a fraction of the costs you incur. Subsequent generations are stuck footing the bill. Of those paying your bill, most will receive little or no benefit of their own. After all, a Ponzi scheme can only hold up for so long. Future generations thank you.

      4) Your final paragraph summarizes your misguided rationale. Government as the primary driver for increased life expectancy since 1900? You act as if private innovation never existed and that the government was wholly responsible for the economic progress our country has experiences over the past century.

      Is it possible for us to educate our children for nearly nothing, or are people simply happy to have someone else pay the bill (whether paid today or by future generations)? Daily, I read about the bloated wages and benefits that are bankrupting the public sector. The US public school system is wrought with waste. And for the most part, it isn’t teachers being overpaid, administrative waste is skyrocketing. A recent study showed that the US college student population increased by 13.5% between 2001-2008, while administrative staff was up a whopping 67%. A similar phenomenon is occurring in the K-12 system.

      The point of this rant: Many taxes virtually evaporate into the air.

  20. And as for the New York Post article, what stupid stuff.

    Have you ever looked closely at psychological tests that purport to assess your state of mind? As a scholarly editor, I read and analyze that kind of material all the time, and I can assure you, most of it is nonsense.

    First, let’s define “sense of entitlement.” Second, how’s about we ask a few questions here, like what qualifications does a management professor have to administer psychology instruments? What is his sample and what is his control? How does he define his terms? What is a “notion of self-worth” and what is “unwarranted”? How is it unreasonable to think you should earn a middle-class salary after four to eight years of college and vocational education? What is unreasonable about expecting American jobs to be in America, not off-shored to Indonesia? How is it unreasonable to expect a living wage and decent working conditions?

    As a parent of a Gen-Y and still a professor of
    Gen-Xers, I can report that few of the representatives of either group feel “entitled.” My son and his friends work far harder than I did as a young person. So do my students. They shoulder huge debts to get higher education that in my day was so affordable sthat my working-class father could pay for my bachelor’s degree out of pocket. Once they have their bachelor’s degrees, they learn that they can’t get a decent job without a master’s degree or higher, and they take on still more debt, often working full-time while putting themselves through school, to qualify themselves for jobs that will barely keep them in the middle class.

    “Disappointed”? Yeah. Most of them recognize that they will never have the lifestyles their parents have enjoyed unless their parents do not outlive their assets. The only way most people in those two generations will stay in the middle class will be for my generation to pass financial capital to them. They recognize that because of mismanagement by our elected representatives, there will be no Social Security for them, and, having watched jobs evaporate, investments dissolve, and home equity disappear during the late recession-that-is-not-a-depression, they also recognize that their 401(k)s and 403(b)s represent no credible security for their retirement, either. They know that owning a home will probably be out of reach for most of their contemporaries, and that the day comes that they’re struggling to live on whatever they managed to squirrel away in retirement funds that depend on the vagaries of the stock market, they’ll still be paying rent.

    They know this country is seeing the growth of a vast underclass, and they’re fighting to stay out of it. Many of them have little chance of staying in the middle class, because this country’s middle class is quietly going extinct.

    THIS is “entitlement”? What is hard work in the face of a bleak future, then?

  21. My problem with the “tea party” is that they just now showed up.

    Where were they when we were pouring billions of dollars into Iraq, based on lies?

    Why do they claim to be an independent movement, but then invite Sarah Palin to speak at events?

    If they hate government spending SO much, when are they going to ask if they can return their SS checks and Medicare payments? Those two programs are a huge “drain” on the country’s finances.

    • uclalien says:

      I also agree that there is a hint of partisanship with the tea party movement, but it is found on both sides of the political isle. Does anyone recall the calls for fiscal responsibility by the Democrats during the Bush administration?

      As someone who complained about Bush’s rampant spending, I can sympathize with the tea party cause, especially since government spending has risen exponentially since Bush left office and it looks like the trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

      Perhaps the tea party movement tends to have speakers that are more right-leaning because they can’t find speakers on the left who will speak out against this administration’s thirst for spending, even though so many were willing to do so just 2 years ago.

      “Where were they when we were pouring billions of dollars into Iraq, based on lies?”

      This is a great question, but to the best of my knowledge, this administration is still pouring billions into Iraq & Afghanistan. What happened to the cries of illegal wars and warmongering from the left?

      I don’t think that the tea partiers necessarily hate government. But they do see government overstepping its bounds.

      The problem with programs such as Medicare and SS is that people are: (1) they are bound to fail, and (2) people are forced to pay into these programs with the promise of a payout at retirement. As a result, they feel they should receive their promised payments. Perhaps the fact that the government has been taking money out of their pay checks for so many years kept them from being able to save enough for retirement. In effect, the government (as it does in so many ways) forces dependence with these programs.

      • Agree with many of your points…

        I know this isn’t 100% accurate, but to me, the Tea Party (the one I see on TV and on YouTube videos) is just a racist group of old white people who hate EVERYTHING the left even thinks of doing.

        Probably not a fair portrayal…but that’s what happens when extremists become the face of a group.

        • uclalien says:

          This reminds me of last year when a number of the major networks showed videos of a man carrying a rifle at a health care demonstration. The networks labeled it white racists that can’t handle having a black president. If you missed it, here’s the video:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYKQJ4-N7LI

          Why am I bringing this up? Here’s your answer:

          http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_gcA0ZuKGkI8/So162KSVKsI/AAAAAAAADQw/3fNkRiCpFHI/s400/black+protester+with+gun.jpg

          Perhaps you can’t believe everything you see on the news after all. Here’s a different perspective:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1CLPhz0DHM

          • I’m not saying that all tea partiers are racists. I am saying that racists are likely to be part of the group. I hope that makes sense.

            Just imagine if the tea party were mainly black. A bunch of angry, wealthy, black people with guns at the ready. People would be going nuts.

            The tea party doesn’t want THEIR benefits cut, but is fine if “waste” is cut. What exactly is waste? I don’t know and neither do they apparently.

            Here’s a survey done of the tea party:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html

            And of course, some of their actions are downright disgusting:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ik4f1dRbP8

          • uclalien says:

            Ryan-
            You can find nut-jobs in any group, but pointing out that racists are likely part of a particular group only serves one purpose, to label the entire group as as racist, whether or not you claim otherwise.

            The fact is that there are plenty of other groups in America that consist of a greater number of racists, yet they get a pass by the media and virtually everyone else because these groups are sympathetic to the liberal agenda.

            The ridiculous amount of waste by the government is no secret. Here’s a list of the proposed cuts from last year. Keep in mind that these are very simple changes and do not even address some of the larger instances of waste.
            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124882436513388423.html
            The fact that the Treasury alone is paying $320k/year for unused cell phones should be enough to make you sick.

            There is no shortage of examples of government waste:
            1) Trillions of dollars spent propping up housing prices, then subsidizing home ownership via tax rebates. All this and mortgage delinquencies hit a record high this month.
            2) This week, the CBO announced that taxpayers will be taking a $34 billion loss on the auto company bailouts.
            3) $10 million to expand a Canadian border crossing that only sees 5 cars pass on an average day
            4) $100 million for an Eisenhower memorial (what’s another $100B to the deficit?)
            5) nearly $20 billion in pork spending in last year’s federal budget
            6) $300k for alcohol
            7) $800k for stemware
            8) $219,000 examining the relationship between casual sex and alcohol consumption (did these people even attend college?)
            9) Ohio alone spent $1 million last year to tell its residents that it was spending taxpayer money (signs). In my state of CA, I’m sure this number is well over $10 million.
            10) Wisconsin intends to spend $3 million to hire lobbyists.
            11) $13 billion to pamper public servants last year

            Even if we ignore huge fiscal drains like welfare and the military, the list (and cost) is a mile long.

            Here are some of the links (website wouldn’t let me post all of them:
            http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/15/sex-drugs-and-blackberrys/
            http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/04/09/more-pointless-government-work/

            Right off the top, it isn’t surprising that the NYT found that tea party members are wealthier and more educated than the general public. They are the ones paying the vast majority of taxes. With 45% of all households expected to pay zero federal income tax this year, nearly half the public really doesn’t pay that much tax.

            I agree that the actions of the two men in the video you posted are a disgrace. That’s why everyone involved with the Tea Party has labeled it so.

            From the Columbus Dispatch:
            “Letcher said he did not fear for his safety and acknowledged that his two antagonists were not typical of the vast majority of the hundreds outside U.S. Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s district office…”

        • Ryan,

          This is pretty shameful calling a group of patriotic Americans old white racists. I know you are young, but it’s still no excuse. It takes no personal courage or intellectual integrity to accuse and label people. This makes you look as ignorant as the fools in the YouTube videos.

          Most of the TEA Partiers I have met just want what is best for our county’s future. Many are veterans who have risked their lives for the freedom and prosperity you enjoy. Of course, the thousands of peaceful protesters won’t appear on TV, because the media is searching for the one bozo extremist. And, despite the Taxed Enough Already acronym, most seem more concerned with the runaway spending than higher taxes.

          When you start a career, have some kids and pay some taxes, you may become concerned about the government yourself. And, as you become older and wealthier, you will likely also become more conservative. Life has worked that way, since before America was founded. Take a look at how Europe is doing financially, if you want to see what our future holds. America has to control our spending and President Obama is starting to realize this too.

          Bret

          Disclosure: I’m registered as an independent and am not part of the TEA Party movement.

  22. Don C says:

    Wow, there are actually people that think this way? Hmmm, And just where did you see such portrayals? On the networks that routinely demonize anyone who is concerned about the direction this company is going. I protested with the tea parties and I am far from a racist. I am so tired of being called a racists just because I/we have different political views with our half black president.

  23. Brian says:

    If you want to understand TEA Partiers, simply ask them if they buy lottery tickets, AKA The Redneck Retirement Plan. You’ll be shocked. People who gripe about taxes invariably dump money on a lottery, AKA Tax for People Who Are Bad At Math. I’ve never met a TEA Partier who had a Statistics class in college.

    • uclalien says:

      Since you are so adept with statistical data, you should have no trouble providing evidence that supports your generalizations.

      All data shows that poor and lesser-educated are far more likely to purchase lottery tickets (as you point out). Data also shows that lower income individuals pay far less in taxes (in total and as a percentage of income) than those in the middle to upper classes (the nature of a progressive tax system). This means they are less likely to have complaints about the current tax system.

      This brings me to my main point:
      A recent poll by the New York Times showed that, in general, “Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html

      In other words, the data doesn’t seem to fit your description of Tea Party members. In general, they are neither poor nor uneducated, which contradicts both of your stereotypes. Then again, I suspect you are amongst the same group of people that labeled Tea Party members as a bunch of rich, white, male, racists, but are now calling them poor, uneducated, rednecks.

    • Brian,

      I don’t think you understand the TEA Party at all.

      My Mom is a TEA Partier and she has taken lots of statistics classes. In fact, she graduated from business school with honors. Her retirement is funded with real estate and mutual funds, not lottery tickets. She’s not nearly as concerned about the taxes as she is about the future of our country.

      Yes, there are some rednecks in the TEA Party. But, most of the people I know from the group are pretty intelligent.


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