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  • USA Today Misses the Point of Tea Party Protesters

    Two days after Tax Day, April 17, USA Today ran an editorial—Tax rhetoric vs. realtiy—that said the Tea Party protesters had nothing to be mad at because taxes are not that high.

    Here is snippet:

    Quick now: How big a bite do federal income taxes take out of the average person’s income? 30%? 40%? Even more?

    Nope. It’s 9.1%.

    We were prompted to look this up on the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s website (www.cbo.gov) after listening to the rhetoric from Wednesday’s “TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties” around the USA. To read the placards, you’d have thought the federal government was going after everyone’s last dime.

    In fact, even if you add all the other federal levies people pay in addition to income taxes — such as payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare and excise taxes for gasoline, alcohol, tobacco and other items — the combined federal tax rate was 20.7% in 2006, the latest year for which figures are available.

    Read the whole thing here.

    In response, we submitted the following letter-to-the-editor that USA Today never ran:

    “Tax rhetoric vs. reality” (USA Today –April 17, 2009) missed the point of the Tea Party demonstrations. They were objecting to today’s out-of-control spending that will send our taxes—and our kids’ taxes—through the roof.

    Thanks to just three bills—the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the so-called stimulus bill and the omnibus spending bill—federal spending has soared 33 percent in just a few months. Federal spending now stands at $33,932 per household, per year.

    And that doesn’t include the massive spending increases sought in President Obama’s Budget Blueprint.

    Tea Party protesters know all this spending must eventually be paid for—and that means trillions upon trillions in new or higher taxes. Ten years from now, federal taxes alone will have to take up 25 percent of our economy to pay the tab Congress is running up today. Add in state and local income, property, sales and excise taxes—a multitude of other taxes—and you find that Americans will face a tax burden of over 35 percent of GDP in the very near future.

    Tea Partiers have trillions of good reasons to protest.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    27 Responses to USA Today Misses the Point of Tea Party Protesters

    1. Marsha, Wheeling WV says:

      I know a friend of mine who was involved. She said:

      The administration is scared of the tea partiers, and for good reason, it is grass roots group. Except this grass roots group doesn't ask for handouts like ACORN, Code Pink, etc. And the protesters don't get paid to protest either. They even took the day off form work to peacefully protest.

      They are a grass roots people; most are low end white collar workers, blue collar workers, collage students, house wives, elderly, service workers and most have never protested before in their lives. Furthermore, they are spending money out of their own pockets.

      I thought this President liked community organizers. It is strange that they (this administration) would make fun of the tea partiers. Oh it's okay if they (the obamas, Emanuels, Axelrods- I thought they liked Rules for Radicals) do it not you.

    2. Harvey Bailey Luth says:

      It just goes to show you that BIG GOVERMENT DOSEN'T CARE ABOUT THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS GENERATION OR THE NEXT TWO OR THREE,and I don't just mean the Democrats.This country has been betrade by both parties, but mostly the liberals and their self-centered atttitude.

    3. Larry in Texas says:

      Once again the Liberal media machine leeches on to the newest sound bite opportunity and completely blows the story. The days of "INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM" have been buried by the post up first mentality of the internet blog mania. Maybe these "Journalist", who owe there very livelyhood and existance to the liberal universities that puked them out,should actually attend the event they are supposed to be reporting on! Thought-what a concept! The Heritage will actually research a little before reporting an issue! Thanks for that.

    4. M Harr, Cleveland, O says:

      I'm sorry, Chris, but you also miss a major point in the story. The CBO may be accurate saying the average American pays 9.1% federal income tax, but that same office says that 40% of Americans do not pay +any+ federal income tax. It is the other 60% that are doing the protesting, and (you are right, they) are going to pay that debt.

      We are paying a LOT more that 9%. My most recent 1040 shows I paid 25%, and I am not wealthy. So assuming USA today was correct in saying the "other" federal taxes were 11.6%, I paid an estimated combined federal tax of 36.6%. So 30% or 40% is an appropriate guess.

    5. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      M Harr of Cleveland is correct. Bottom 50% of wage earners only pay about 2% of the total tax bill in this country, according to the IRS figures quoted in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.

      I paid about 20% of my gross income and I am squarely in the middle class. If you add all other taxes, I bet I pay about 40%.

      Tea Parties are not about taxes anyway. They are about uncontrolled spending, borrowing and printing of money by the federal government. All that burden will be on our children and grand children. USA Today will never get it because they are socialists themselves.

      USA, NY Times and host of other newspapers are dying out because they lack any objectivity and are entirely partisan mouth pieces. NYT told Boston Globe unions to come up with concessions amounting to $20M or face closure of the newspaper. How come NYT management is being paid millions of dollars while the company is losing money?

      Socialists are the biggest hypocrites. Washington is proving it every day. USA Today is no different.

    6. johndh, Fort Worth, says:

      Other missed points:

      Most TPP (Tea Party People) also prefer smaller gov’t to larger.

      Most prefer less (or no) gov’t intervention in the marketplace (banks, insurance cos., auto industry, energy industry, etc.).

      Most prefer our current health care system, education system, no Card Check that allows unions to strongarm their way into businesses, laws abolishing abortions (or at least more laws limiting them).

      [I'm sure I've missed several other major issues.]

    7. BMcCord says:

      I too am paying over 20% according to my estimates. I was in the 15% category but I had a job change and needed some rollover money to make ends meet, which bumped me up.

      I would consider myself low middle income.

    8. Thomas Gray SC says:


      It's like a licence to make up lies and it's legal.

    9. Marsha, Wheeling Wes says:

      Basically with all the spending who knows where our taxes will end up? No one really knows.

      You can have an income tax of a specific amount it doesn't account for all the user and state/local taxes you will have to pay called fees. I think focusing on income tax is a failure and a problem. Legislators at all levels need to understand enough is enough. The CBO is strictly looking at the federal income tax and ignoring the rest.

      I think a person needs to add up all of their user fees and local taxes and really see what you are paying by years end. We need a flat tax period and a resending of the 16th amendment. I think the tea partiers have it right enough is enough.

      My pocket is not your pocket and Brother I can't spare you a dime.

    10. D Rosie says:

      Just to comment on what M Harr said, he is right on and as always so is the Heritage foundation. But one comment i want to make is on the 60/40 tax idea by M Harr. Today that is accurate but in the decline we are in 5-10 years from now when this debt hits us that will be reversed and 40% of americans will be carrying the tax burden of the othe 60%. What do you think that will do to the 40%? I know i won't be happy to be in the 40%!

    11. Wayne - Greenville, says:

      M Harr of Cleveland got to my point before I logged in – and, I second his thought. "Average" is a twist and distortion by the USA Today of the facts behind the Tea Party Protests. It's "political speak" to confuse those who unfortunately have a little less than six in their six-pack.

    12. Steve, Ohio says:

      The biggest point that everyone seems to be missing is that Liberals love to follow worldwide opinion on everything until the world turns away from Socialism. China dropped the capital gains tax rate on all investments, including day trading, to 0%…China! Many, formerly Eastern Block, countries have gone to the flat tax. Ireland has gone to a flat tax on corporations. Why are we insisting on Socialism, especially when it has never worked anywhere that it has ever been tried? The Tea Parties were a great thing, but without the teeth of being able to remove the money from Washington, will prove worthless. Everyone, and especially those in the top 5% of earners, needs to go into work and adjust their W-4 to the max allowable deductions and withhold their money from Washington. Yes, you will have to pay penalties and interest in April 2010, but if the top 5% withheld 50% of their tax payments for 6-9 months, we could cripple Washington and they would have to beg us to start paying. If we did that we would be listened to and we would actually have some leverage. They can't jail all of us. A truly passive, non-violent, form of revolution is what is called for here. We need to use the IRS's own system against the government and take our country back.

    13. Brad L, Phoenix says:

      I think the TEA Parties were a smashing success. For the first time, I went through all my household expenses during 2008 and added up all the taxes and fees I pay to all governments. The amount astounded me. If every American kept track of all the taxes they pay besides the Federal Income Tax and the State Income Tax, they could easily see what the REAL impact the governments’ taxing policies have on their income.

      Because I withdrew a substantial amount of money from my 401K (201K) account last year, my total taxes paid was 150% of the net income that I made in my small business. Not only did I virtually work for nothing, I paid the governments another 50% of what I earned. Talk about a wake-up call!!

    14. Angela, Newport News says:

      Just finished the book The Forgotten Man. Insightful. Andrew Mellon served as Secretary of the Treasury for 3 presidents during the 20s. He advocated low taxes, since he believed higher taxes placed a penalty on those creating jobs and wealth. He predicted high tax rates would slow economic growth and businesses/people would refrain from the very aspects that create more money and thus bring in more taxes. As a result, government would receive less and less revenue. His policies worked. The crash of 29 and subsequent recession were market attempts to correct itself. The author says Hoover misstepped and made the situation worse with tariffs.

      Then, when FDR and Democrat Congress slapped higher and higher taxes on business/citizens the Depression deepened, job cuts soared and the Depression lasted 8 years longer than it needed to. Also, like this current administration, FDR was anti-business in every aspect and pro-union. His policies damaged businesses to the point that many closed. Those that stayed in business laid off workers.

      Had taxes been cut, had policies been friendlier to business, the author asserts the Great Depression would have never been great, but a necessary correction that should have restored the economy within 18 months. I fear we are headed for the same outcome.

      Yes, I went to a Tea Party for the simple reason I want government trimmed back. Way back! And spending cut, cut, cut. Doubt we'll see this in the next three years though.

    15. Don, NY says:

      I would EXPECT USA Today to "miss the point"…

    16. mike baker Dallas Ce says:

      I attended in Des Moines and taxes were only part of the protest. The MSM is so steeped in the "What can't more government and higher taxes accomplish?" mentality, they don't even understand the language of personal responsibility/individual liberty. Subsidizing irresponsibility is a measure of compassion to a liberal.

    17. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      What frughtens the Media and mr. Obamalamloo, is that the Tea Parties happened. The Tea Parties are groups of Real Americans, scattered around this Nation, and fed up with the Federal lies being handed out on a daily basis!


    18. Marsha, Wheeling WV says:

      Brad isn’t that a tragedy? Steve, quit spending and borrowing; I didn't miss it repeal the 16th amendment and have a flat tax. Brad, That would have never happened to you under the fair tax system.

    19. Jim in Orlando says:

      We should also note our beef with the cap and trade tax. Other than that this point by the Heritage Foundation is spot on.

    20. Lester Blue Springs says:

      Currently the average federal taxes included in each and every item you buy is 23%. When you add 9.1% for income taxes per the article,6.2% for social security and 1.45% for medicare the average worker is already paying 39.76%.This is before the massive new spending.

    21. Phil Davis says:

      There is a deeper more prevalent meaning for the Tea Party than just taxes. Everyone knows that Americans are long past tired of not being truly represented of their needs. I believe it is long past time for a better relationship between Congress and it's constituents. A small number of individuals cannot possibly represent millions of people effectively. Here is an idea that may warrant further discussion:

      Introduce legislation requiring lawmakers to add secure verifiable polling to their websites so that their constituents can weigh in on specific issues. Accepting phone calls for same while posting the results online. One already has to fill out a form to send comments to their representative. I'll bet this new relationship with the "Key Holders" would make an impression.

      Maybe an additional phrase would be appropriate along with the old one: "No Representation Without Consultation"

    22. Larry in Texas (5th) says:

      I am VERY fortunate that REP. Jeb Hensarling (TX 5th)is my House Representative on the HILL. I think if the rest of Congress shared his views and fiscal responsibility we would still be shallower in the red ink.-NOTE:- The Graham/Rudman Bill had this nation dug out of extreme ledger bleeding because it laid down some core ethics and spending protocols for the Congress to follow. I think this too is what the Tea Parties want to bring back to the table!! There are some who have brought up the thought of drawing up "Impeachment" indictments on the "Annointed ONE"-I disagree! I beleive that charges of HIGH TREASON should be brought against Obama and all the "CLUB CHICAGO" Liberal gangsters who refused to pay the very Federal Income taxes that they now expect us to GIVE them, to splurge on their "PET" projects! Saul Hussein Obama has commited crimes against our very Constitution that HE so arrogantly bragged about being extremely well educated on. What did the USA Today report on that? Did they "miss" that point as well?Or was THAT simply a non issue unworthy of print or press? We need to all understand this…if the MEDIA has no "exclusive" reporting rights to a story, and they have no leg up on their competitors, then their "story" will be as diluted,one sided and intellectually void as the deepest reaches of a Liberal mind!

    23. angry patriot, texas says:

      I was in San Antonio for the Tax Day Tea Party. The hotel gives free USA Today newspapers to it's guests. On both April 15th and 16th, there was no mention of the nationwide tea party protests (not even below the fold). I slid this journalistic pablum right back under the door where it belonged and proceeded to step on it on my way out.

      Small wonder that this liberal administration is planning to actually pay for the newspapers (in the form of turning them into "non-profits") that they've "owned" for years.

    24. Roy, shelbyville,Ky says:

      I don't know where USA Today got their figures. When I was working the taxes I paid was between 33% to 35% and when you add the tax on gasoline, sales tax, ect., etc., the total amount of tax was around 45%. Also, whenever I happen to get a bonus, the tax on the bonus was 42% right off the top. Now to say that regular working people only pay around 20% tax is like saying white is black or the sun comes up in the West. It would be nice to see these people get their facts RIGHT instead of taking what are half truths and expanding upon what they think is right. To quote the idiots in the present administration is the biggest source of non-truth facts a person could use. Tickle their ears or compliment them and these dumba..es will print anything.

    25. David VanNorman Wi says:

      They know what it's about there just trying to down play it.

    26. Paul, FL says:

      On a local afternoon radio talk show, the host frequently talks about the ways the government usurps the Constitution and liberties. I heard on a number of occasions the host say that if you added ALL the taxes paid by the average taxpayer including local, county, state and federal for EVERYTHING, including sales, property, income, business, capital gains, and others, etc., that those taxes would amount to 53%. I first heard this back about 10 years ago! And I haven't heard that taxes have actually GONE DOWN since!

      The problem is that if taxes are lowered on one level of government, (state, for instance), one or more of the other levels will ALWAYS seek to compensate to make up for the short fall, so taxes never actually go down, even when taxes ARE CUT!

      One such problem is education funding will NOT be cut, mainly because of the teachers unions, who will always SPREAD THE FEAR that children will not get the education they need if funding is cut. But then I look at the SORRY level of education in this country, and wonder just WHO is getting the goldmine and WHO is getting the shaft!

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