Grassroots activism is an American tradition as old as insulting presidents, but astroturfing such as the lobbyist financed and Fox news promoted tea baggers is the far Right version of a Potemkin village. No doubt there are some genuine feelings involved, but even outrage and opinion should be backed up by facts. Times Square Tea Party Denounces Obama, Media, Imaginary Tax Rates, Etc.
Though the organizers claimed it was a non-partisan event, many of the signs and t-shirts were anti-Obama (“Don’t Blame Me I Voted for the Old White Guy,” Calvin peeing on the Obama logo, etc). Others celebrated the 2nd Amendment and denounced the Federal Reserve. The major theme, reflected in the paper signs handed out by sponsoring group TeaParty365 to protesters, was “Taxed Enough Already.”
[ ]…”Reckless spending, unread legislative bills, and runaway government — I’m sick of it,” said Organizer Kellen Giuda. He was also sick of being ignored. “Fox is here… where’s the rest of the media?
These are the same people waiting on the platform for the 8AM Express at 9AM. They work themselves into outrages over deficits, spending and general fiscal criminal negligence that started eight years before President Obama took office. America’s Sea of Red Ink Was Years in the Making
There are two basic truths about the enormous deficits that the federal government will run in the coming years.
The first is that President Obama’s agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying.
[ ]…The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years.
You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush’s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.
The first category — the business cycle — accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It’s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.
About 33 percent of the swing stems from new legislation signed by Mr. Bush. That legislation, like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt.
Mr. Leonhardt is mostly correct when he says that Obama does not have a plan to really deal with the deficit, but two things have changed that changes that projection, at least in theory. If Obama lets Bush’s tax cuts expire that will help reduce some of the deficit. Returning some rates back to what they were under Reagan and he has asked Congress to return to PAYGO guidelines. The Obama administration may be overly optimistic about how much health-care reform will help the economy, but many think health-care reform and climate control legislation will help the economy in the long term. During his campaign Obama said he wanted to rescind those upper income tax cuts,
– The top two income-tax brackets would return to their 1990s levels of 36% and 39.6% (including the exemption and deduction phase-outs). All other brackets would remain as they are today.
– The top capital-gains rate for families making more than $250,000 would return to 20% — the lowest rate that existed in the 1990s and the rate President Bush proposed in his 2001 tax cut. A 20% rate is almost a third lower than the rate President Reagan set in 1986.
– The tax rate on dividends would also be 20% for families making more than $250,000, rather than returning to the ordinary income rate. This rate would be 39% lower than the rate President Bush proposed in his 2001 tax cut and would be lower than all but five of the last 92 years we have been taxing dividends.
Obama has yet to undue Bush’s cuts, but has given working class families, those making under 60K a tax cut. So the “psychiatrist” that claimed with absolute certainty that Obama is taxing him into the poor house is either in need of therapy himself or just enjoys telling a tall tale. These folks would have voted for the “Old White Guy”(their words not mine. Well the old white guy and his party do not have a real deficit reduction plan – they do have a plan to make $23 billion in spending cuts – more on the Republican plan here Republican Budget Plan: ‘Undo’ The Stimulus, Cut Taxes For The Rich – the amount that we spend on Iraq about every three months. A certain person from a certain political party once said, “Deficits are Worrisome, but Not as Worrisome as an Economy that is Not Growing and is Rapidly Shedding Jobs”
The Administration (Bush) would prefer not to have deficits, but deficit reduction is only one of many goals. … Deficits are worrisome, but not as worrisome as an economy that is not growing and is rapidly shedding jobs. …
The most important fiscal challenge facing the United States is not the current short-term deficits,… but instead the looming long-term deficits associated with the rise in entitlement spending …
We do not yet have all the answers to the problems posed by entitlement costs, but we are hard at work. … These longer-term issues, however, should not blind us to the immediate needs of the economy. The President came into office inheriting an economy …[in] a recession. He has responded vigorously to the challenges and, as a result, the current outlook for the U.S. economy is bright…
That was Greg Mankiw, on September 15, 2003 in a speech to the NABE. [Note: verb tense changed from past to present in a few places, ‘chairman’ was changed to ‘chair,’ and he is, of course, mainly promoting tax cuts, not government spending.]
Another grassroots astroturfer Herb London, president of the right-wing Hudson Institute paraded his ignorance as though it were a Merit badge, “I fell asleep in 1965 and woke up in 2009,” he said, presumably speaking figuratively”. While Herb was sleeping this is what Republicans did for working Americans, Average Income in 2006 up $60,000 for Top 1 Percent of Households, Just $430 for Bottom 90 Percent: Income Concentration at Highest Level Since 1928, New Analysis Shows. That 1% would be those people at various financial institutions that we hear about getting those million dollar plus bonuses. The bonuses that conservative tea bagging supporters like Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck have defended.
* 2006 marked the fourth straight year in which income gains at the top outpaced those among the rest of the population. Since 2002, the average inflation-adjusted income of the top 1 percent of households has risen 42 percent, whereas the average inflation-adjusted income of the bottom 90 percent of households has risen about 4.7 percent. (See Table 1.)
* As a result, the share of the nation’s income flowing to the top 1 percent has increased sharply, rising from 15.8 percent in 2002 to 20.0 percent in 2006. Not since 1928, just before the GreatDepression, has the top 1 percent held such a large share of the nation’s income.
Here it is 2009 and Republican plans and solutions amount to whining, calling Obama names and proposing even more tax cuts for the richest Americans. These solutions will not cut the deficit, will not get health-care costs under control, will not position America to make the transition to a greener sustainable economy and as usual will do nothing for the working class Americans creating the wealth for that wealthy 1%.
Where has President Obama gone wrong. One major disappointment has been the reluctance to do away with Bush’s tax cuts for those Americans making over 250k, that despite the recession are still doing very well. Half of all American households make less then 53k per year.