Everything I Learned About Movement Conservatives Tea Buggers, I Learned From Creationists...

It's the willful ignorance:

No, tea baggers believe stupid shit because they want to. It's willful ignorance. They spin outrageous theories because they know that the naked truth about what they believe would make them look like giant bigots and big meanies. So, instead of saying, "I don't want health care reform because I like a system where poor people are shut out because that means I don't have to see them in my doctor's office," they start yelling about the slide into socialism. Instead of saying, "I'm an incredibly selfish person who wants to keep my government-funded Medicare, but I don't want to see that single mom down the street get health insurance because she's a slut and I want to see her suffer," they say that Obama's trying to take their Medicare and that's socialism. They're not confused because they were badly educated and don't have a grasp on critical thinking. In fact, I think a lot of us would be surprised to find that the person hollering ignorant shit about Obama's birth certificate often turns around and is highly competent at a job that requires the cognitive skills they don't bring to their politics. They're willfully ignorant, and this distinction should never be forgotten when trying to understand them.

Here's an example (italics mine):

"We're bankrupt in America. We can't run our households like the government's running the country. That, and the idea of people [sitting] around on their butts. Fifty percent of the people collecting a check are paying no taxes, while the other 50 pull the wagon."

This isn't true on so many different levels. 47% of households don't pay income taxes, but, if you have earned income, you pay payroll taxes (and many people pay more in these taxes, especially if they're self-employed, than they do in income taxes). Everyone pays sales taxes. Most local and state taxes are very hard to 'deduct' out of.

One of the truly pathetic things about the Tea Buggers and movement conservatives is that they have spent a lot of time learning misinformation. It's not as if they have been asked a question that they've never considered and are just bullshitting an answer. They've worked hard, scoured the internet, consumed various media to learn (such as it is) this astounding idiocy. But it's finally starting to make sense to me: if your mythos is that you, along with other 'real' Americans, are carrying the weight for the rest of us parasites, then these deceptions have a purpose. It's a form of psychological protection.

And it's the same damn thing creationists do.

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47% of households don't pay income taxes

I'm pretty sure that even this isn't correct, as my understanding is that the 47% number is in relation to Federal income taxes. So many of those people may be paying state or local income taxes.

My husband always calls it "Ignorant and Proud of It".

By MissBetsy (not verified) on 17 Apr 2010 #permalink

This isn't true on so many different levels. 47% of households don't pay income taxes, but, if you have earned income, you pay payroll taxes (and many people pay more in these taxes, especially if they're self-employed, than they do in income taxes). Everyone pays sales taxes. Most local and state taxes are very hard to 'deduct' out of.

What you're saying is correct, but there is something else to consider.

First, local and state taxes pay for local and state spending. Most states have their own progressive income tax to try and balance out the regressive nature of sales taxes so that everyone is contributing to those services local and state governments provide.

Second, payroll taxes go to pay for specific programs that people will draw from when they reach retirement age or become disabled. I'm sure the math works out that most people with lower incomes will end up drawing considerably more in benefits from Social Security and Medicare than they ever paid into it, as well.

So, those 47% that paid no federal income tax for 2009 (which includes some people that actually got a net payment out through refundable credits) paid nothing to fund the federal government's general operations: federal law enforcement and judicial activities, federal regulatory agencies, grants given to states for transportation, education, etc., national defense, the stimulus plan and TARP, interest on the national debt, and more.

The tea baggers you quote are then wrong on the details, but they do have a larger point that shouldn't be ignored, unlike creationists that are just plain wrong.

I think that we need to address the Tea Party Movement by demonstrating a clear understanding that there is a big difference between many Tea Party supporters and their would be leadership. Many Tea Party event attendees are justifiably angry. They know that their middle class status is being taken away from them.

Powerful special interests are trying to manipulate this group by diverting it towards scapegoats and away from becoming a genuine populist revolt.

Scientists have something to fear from this. Yesterday's lead story on Fox news online, for example, was not about the charges against Goldman Sachs but rather a story about the possible harm of fluoridating drinking water.

Keith Hennessey had a good analysis, via Tax Foundation, of the highest earning family who owes no income tax. Between the stimulus (remember that whole recession thing?), the EITC, and most importantly, the child tax credit, this wage has gone from $24000 in 1997 to $50000 in 2009. *Shrug* Get those lazy kids off their butts, they need to start contributing their share.

By creeky belly (not verified) on 17 Apr 2010 #permalink

It says something about a person that their response is "How dare these 47% freeload off us?" rather than "Why is nearly half the populace so poor that they don't pay income tax?"

I don't know what the phrase, "paid no federal income tax", really means. Does that cover people who are out of work and not earning anything as well as people who work but get back everything they paid into federal income tax? If the latter is true, isn't some of the money coming in invested so that, even if the person gets all of the money back, his contributions still earned something for the government?

And the recently publicized information that the financial backers of the tea baggers are wealthy, well-educated people reveals a bit more of the picture.

It's not surprising that it's hard to nail down just what phrases like "47% pay no taxes" actually mean. They are not trying to inform, but rather they are reinforcing their own prejudices, as well as trying to convince the gullible.

Not to mention the racially motivated dog-whistles.

What makes you think they are not the same group of people?

By Tige Gibson (not verified) on 18 Apr 2010 #permalink

"I'm sure the math works out that most people with lower incomes will end up drawing considerably more in benefits from Social Security and Medicare than they ever paid into it, as well."

That's the point.

Well, it is that they and we are getting lied to, e.g.
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2010/04/yet-another-reason-the-country-wo…
(where Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, said he is going to make âwaste, abuse, fraud and inefficienciesâ in Medicaid a priority issue (in a fiscal commission) âNobody else is going to focus on that,â Coburn said. âNobody else thinks the $300 billion that we waste every year is important. Over 10 years thatâs $3 trillion."
And Prof. Brad Delong points out: "Total Medicaid spending this year is currently pegged at $280 billion. How Coburn can think that all $280 billion that will be spent this year on Medicaid is waste--plus an extra $20 billion in waste even though we do not spend it--is beyond me.")

For the taxes, the relevant comparison is the percentage of total income to share of total taxes paid. And one should include other taxes paid, such as sales taxes, which impact those more, who have to spend all their income to survive.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_the_United_States
"When including all taxes: In 2007 the top quintile earned 41.5% of all income and paid 48.8% of all taxes. The fourth quintile earned 21.0% of all income and paid 22.4%. The third quintile earned 15.4% and paid 14.8%. The second quintile earned 12.2% and paid 9.6%. The lowest quintile earned 9.8% and paid 4.3% of all taxes. [25]" So that doesn't sound like the poorer of us sponging off.
Even the anti-tax the rich tax foundation admits http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html (for 2007):
"....the top 0.1% of tax returns (the top 10 percent of the top 1 percent). This 10 percent of the returns in the top 1 percent amounts to only 141,000 tax returns but accounts for nearly 12 percent of the adjusted gross income earned and approximately 20 percent of the nation's federal individual income taxes. The average income for a tax return in this top 0.1 percent is $7.4 million, while the average amount of income tax paid is $1.6 million, indicating an average effective individual income tax rate of 21.5 percent. This very top income group actually has a lower average effective tax rate than the rest of the top 1 percent of returns because these extremely high-income returns are more likely to have income from capital gains and dividends, which are typically taxed at lower rates. "
So these superrich get 12% of the nation's income, and pay about 20% of the nation's income tax. (at a rate of ~21.5%).
Not to bad, considering that the rich can typically hide more of their income as 'Capital gains', under-report more of their income, can take advantage of more deductions (except for Alternate Minimum Tax)....and also might profit more than the rest of us from a stable legal system, with Federal Courts, the SEC, enforceable contracts,... than the typical poorer person.
The other thing is the decrease of corporate income taxes and fees as part of the federal income; under Eisenhower, about half of the federal take came from corporations, and the other half from individual income taxes. Now the share of corporate taxes and fees to the federal government is ~8% and ~90% comes from individual income taxes. The decreasing contribution by corporations again benefits those owning bigger shares of them.

Another tactic of the "willfully ignorant" is to claim that any source of information that is not in agreement with their own opinion is biased or worse - a tool of the "media elite". This of course includes text books, scientific journals, research papers, virtually everything ever written - except of course the Bible, which is infallible and can only misinterpreted by non-believers or as they would prefer to call us -"the Damned".