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Old April 15th, 2017, 09:36 AM   #1
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8 Years After Bogus Tea Party Rallies Marches To Release Trumps Returns


Taxed enough already? In 2009 and 2010, the federal tax bite dropped to the smallest share of the U.S. economy since 1950.


On Saturday, April 15, thousands of Americans will take part in Tax Day Tax Marches in cities and towns across the country. Their objective? To pressure President Donald Trump to release his hidden tax returns. The concerns are certainly legitimate. After all, Trump isn’t merely the first occupant of the Oval Office in over 40 years to refuse to do so.

The Donald also pledged he would publish his returns, just as he promised his tax cut windfall for the wealthy would “cost me a fortune.” Americans deserve to know, as Richard Nixon explained his disclosure of his own returns, “if their President is a crook.” And even if President Trump isn’t a crook, the nation more than ever needs to do know who he is doing business with and whether he’s getting paid in rubles.

The contrast with the Tax Day Tea Parties on April 15, 2009, could not be more stark. On that day, thousands of people took to the streets chanting “Taxed Enough Already” despite having just received the largest two-year tax cut in modern American history, all courtesy of President Obama and Democrats in Congress.

Eight years ago, thousands of the furious faithful rallied at those Tax Day Tea Parties lovingly promoted by Fox News and bankrolled by the right-wing sugar daddies including the Koch brothers and DickArmey’s FreedomWorks. In addition to carrying signs like “Sieg Heil Herr Obama” and “No Taxation without Representation,” many displayed buttons, hats, and posters announcing “T.E.A.” or “Taxed Enough Already.” As future House Speaker John Boehner summed up their complaint:

"Across our nation, thousands of Americans are participating in taxpayer tea parties today for one simple reason: overtaxed families and small businesses have had enough.”

Now, there was a big problem with this claim at the heart of the Tea Party movement: it simply wasn’t true.

For starters, on Feb. 9, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also known as the stimulus. With no GOP votes in the House and just two in the Senate, the stimulus provided $787 billion to jump start a U.S. economy on the brink of collapse. Roughly 40 percent of that package came in the form of tax cuts. President Obama didn’t just keep his campaign promise to deliver tax relief for 95 percent of working Americans. With an estimated $282 billion in individual and business tax reductions, Obama had also provided, as Steve Benen noted at the time, the largest two-year tax cut in American history.

BIGGEST. TAX CUT. EVER…. A few weeks ago, when the House approved the economic stimulus bill without any Republican votes, David Weigel noted that he literally couldn’t remember “a time when the entire Republican conference in either house voted against tax cuts.”

That’s true, but let’s go a little further. The compromise plan announced last night includes $282 billion in tax cuts over two years. With that in mind, Steven Waldman argues, persuasively, that when the vast majority of congressional Republicans oppose the package, they’ll be voting against the biggest tax cut “in history.”

But as the New York Times reported on the eve of the 2010 midterm elections, “What if a president cut Americans' income taxes by $116 billion and nobody noticed?” As then North Carolina state representative Thom Tillis remarked, “This was the tax cut that fell in the woods—nobody heard it.”

In a troubling sign for Democrats as they headed into the midterm elections, their signature tax cut of the past two years, which decreased income taxes by up to $400 a year for individuals and $800 for married couples, had gone largely unnoticed.

In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know.

Believe it or not, those September 2010 results represented an improvement over a CBS News poll conducted that February. One-quarter of respondents said the Obama administration increased taxes, while 53 percent said they were unchanged. Only 12 percent rightly answered that federal income taxes had come down under President Obama.




The Tea Party thought taxes had gone up after the largest two-year tax cut in history,
But among the confused tea party crowd, that belief was akin to asserting the sun orbits the earth:

Of people who support the grassroots, "Tea Party" movement, only 2 percent think taxes have been decreased, 46 percent say taxes are the same, and a whopping 44 percent say they believe taxes have gone up.
It's no wonder that former Reagan Treasury official Bruce Bartlett aptly concluded, "For an anti-tax group, they don't know much about taxes."

As it turns out, their ignorance was even more profound than that. Thanks to the combination of the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the deep recession which began in late 2007, and those Obama tax cuts of 2009, the AP reported, "as a share of the nation's economy, Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way."

In January 2011, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) explained that "revenues would be just under 15 percent of GDP; levels that low have not been seen since 1950." That finding echoed an earlier analysis from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Last April, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded, "Middle-income Americans are now paying federal taxes at or near historically low levels, according to the latest available data." Or as former Reagan Treasury official Bruce Bartlett again explained it in the New York Times:

In short, by the broadest measure of the tax rate, the current level is unusually low and has been for some time. Revenues were 14.9 percent of G.D.P. in both 2009 and 2010. Yet if one listens to Republicans, one would think that taxes have never been higher, that an excessive tax burden is the most important constraint holding back economic growth and that a big tax cut is exactly what the economy needs to get growing again.

Here's how Michael Ettinger of the Center for American Progress put it in 2010: “The idea that taxes are high right now is pretty much nuts.”

Nuts, indeed. Almost as nutty as the Trump White House talking point that “nobody cares” about the President’s tax returns. Eighty percent of Americans, including 64 percent of Republicans, say otherwise.



Eight years after bogus tea party rallies, tax marches target Trump returns
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Old April 15th, 2017, 09:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
In short, by the broadest measure of the tax rate, the current level is unusually low and has been for some time. Revenues were 14.9 percent of G.D.P. in both 2009 and 2010. Yet if one listens to Republicans, one would think that taxes have never been higher, that an excessive tax burden is the most important constraint holding back economic growth and that a big tax cut is exactly what the economy needs to get growing again.
The percentage is dependent on the GDP. Using dates with a negative GDP growth rate and a low GDP growth rate is misleading and inaccurate. The number has dropped in every recession.
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