USA Today Misses the Point of Tea Party Protesters

Curtis Dubay /

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.