Tax misunderstanding tarnishes the Tea Party


File photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Protesters demonstrate outside of the post office Wednesday, April 15, 2009, on Kellogg Street. The protesters were proclaiming the need to limit governmental power back to how the Constitution originally defined it.

Curtis Powers

You know what interests me, the Tea Party folks. You just never know what’s going to happen next with them.

I say this as a person in agreement with some of their ideas: balancing the budget and a simpler tax system.

However, there are a few things that do bother me.

First, for all of their complaining about taxes, there seems to be little understanding about the history of the federal income tax.

Look at the tax rates since the federal income tax came about in 1913. The tax rates we currently have are some of the best ever, especially for wealthier folks. Look at this chart I found at the Tax Foundation.

Let’s compare some of the different tax rates during the last 50 years, just looking at the rate for single people.

The highest marginal tax rate in 1963 was 91 percent for single people earning more than $200,000. That means 91 cents of every dollar earned over $200,000 went to the federal government.

That was the last year it was that high. The next 20 years or so, the highest marginal tax rate was 70 percent for single people earning more than $100,000.

That changed in 1982 when the rate dropped to 50 percent for singles earning more than $41,500. Slowly, over the Reagan years, taxes went down; that has continued on to today with the highest rate at 35 percent with income more than $373,650.

Perhaps the craziest thing to happen to taxes was when President George W. Bush went so far as to cut taxes while in the middle of fighting wars.

That has never happened. In the past, taxes have soared when America goes to war because wars cost a lot of money.

I still don’t understand why Tea Party folks think they’re getting taxed to death, when in reality the tax system has been pretty good to them as of late.

Secondly, I don’t understand is the anger surrounding the growing budget deficit. The reason I don’t understand their anger goes back to some of W. Bush’s decisions.

As a conservative, he let PAYGO expire in 2002, which was a bill that prohibited new spending without a way to pay for it. It was started in 1990 during his father’s term.

This statute was a major reason the federal government had surpluses heading into W. Bush’s term.

A year later, in 2003, he signed into law Medicare Part D, went to war in Iraq and cut taxes. He committed the federal government to more spending with less money; absolutely fiscally irresponsible.

And yet, I don’t remember great outrage over this. Perhaps this is why I get a little upset when Republicans call themselves the party for smaller government.

They only want smaller government for things they don’t care about. Otherwise, they’d call for cuts to the military, homeland security, etc.

Lastly, I’m tired of the incessant name-calling by the Tea Party. President Barack Obama is not Hitler. He is not Stalin or Lenin or any other mass murderer.

I’m not saying his policies aren’t liberal or anything like that. However, he has not been responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Seriously, get a grip, people.

The Tea Party may want change, but the GOP isn’t going to gain ground by being the name-calling party of no ideas.