Today is tax day. Across the country, Tea Party groups are organizing events in protest. Revelations that 47 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes have stoked the anti-tax flames, inspiring a handful of contrarian souls to come to their defense.
- 'I Love Paying Taxes' USA Today's Rich Benjamin makes the case. "I am proud and glad to pay my income taxes," he writes. "For those like me — not fighting in Afghanistan, not toiling in our foreign service, not extinguishing fires or fighting crime as a public servant — paying taxes makes real my commitment to a functioning America. Besides the crucial social goods that taxes yield (schools, roads, soldiers, embassies, air traffic control), there are key business-related dividends that benefit people, including Tea Partiers, in the long view."
- GOP 'Winning' On Taxes Karl Rove sees bad news for Democrats. "Always important in politics, the tax issue is likely to play a larger role this year than in any midterm election since 1994," he writes. "Tax concerns will hurt congressional Democrats. In rural areas, their opposition to repeal of the death tax antagonizes farmers and ranchers. Then there are America's 32 million small-business owners, who feel put upon by the administration's tax everyone-and-everything philosophy."
- Obama Actually Reducing Taxes Substantially The New York Times' Gail Collins explains, "In fact, most people who file get money back ... Thanks to the tax credits in President Obama’s stimulus plan and other programs aimed at helping working families, couples with two kids making up to $50,000 were generally off the hook this year." She jokes, "Clearly, we need a THANKS, GOVERNMENT!!!! parade of low-income elderly."
- Tea Parties Not So Anti-Tax The Atlantic's Derek Thompson examines the NYT/CBS poll of Tea Partiers. "The Tea Partiers don't appear to be as uniformly anti-tax as I painted them yesterday. Despite the 'Taxed Enough Already' signs and the many vague and often contradictory allusions to their gratuitous tax burden, the poll suggests that half of Tea Party supporters thinks that their taxes are fair. Their insistence on reform falls mostly on the spending side"
- The Tragic Public Ignorance on Taxes Jonathan Bernstein sighs, "A whole lot of people who pay zero income taxes believe they pay too much." He explains, "That's right -- 44% of those who make $20K a year or less believe they pay too much in federal income tax, and 41% of those who make between $20K and $30K believe they pay too much in federal income tax. The vast majority of those people do not pay a single penny in federal income taxes."
- Will Tea Party Champion D.C. Tax Hypocrisy? The American Prospect's Adam Serwer points out an intriguing gap. "Can't figure out why Tea Partiers haven't staged a full scale revolt over DC residents being taxed without representation."