Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wag-the-Dog Tea Parties

As Fox News, the Wall Street Journal et al are heavy-breathing about Tea Party protests on Tax Day, Gallup discloses that Americans' "Views of Income Taxes Among Most Positive Since 1956."

But reality is no more a deterrent for Rupert Murdoch than it was for William Randolph Hearst when he was stirring up the Spanish-American War in 1898 with a drumbeat of scare headlines. To a message from artist Frederick Remington reporting "There is no war," Hearst famously replied, "You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war." And he did.

In a 24/7 news world, however, Murdoch's efforts seem less like Hearst's than those of the mental case who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt in "Arsenic and Old Lace," blowing a bugle and rushing up the stairs with a sword, yelling "Charge!"

One reason the Tea Parties won't work as a Wag-the-Dog move lies in Gallup's report that Americans who say taxes are too high has fallen from 68 percent in 2001 to 46 today:

"Since 1956, there has been only one other time when a higher percentage of Americans said their taxes were about right--in 2003, when 50% did so after two rounds of tax cuts under the Bush administration.

"The slightly more positive view this year may reflect a public response to President Barack Obama's economic stimulus and budget plans. He has promised not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000, while cutting taxes for lower- and middle-income Americans. The latter has already begun, as the government has reduced the withholding amount for federal income taxes from middle- and lower-income American workers' paychecks."

Add this to the undoubtedly large numbers of taxpayers who, in meeting today's deadline, will find that, as a result of falling income last year, they can expect a refund, and the tax protests look like they will turn out to be as limp as an overused tea bag.


xenonian said...

Hmm that might be because about 45=50% pay little to no taxes and some portion of that receive negative tax liabilities = and are essentially gettting income redistributed to them? No wonder 40-something % think taxes are fine - they don't pay any....

Donna said...

Wag the Dog would be an appropriate comment for the stories surrounding the prosecution of those who strove to protect us against terrorist. Obama has played footsie with too many thugs and those who have spoken against him just have to pay for their wrongs. Get real, tea party goers would have been 4-fold stronger if people did not have to work. It was not just about taxes, and polls are conducted to get the answer that the people polling want. It's easy to poll people who do not work.