In comments on this blog, one of the more constant supporters of the teabaggers frequently admits to not really knowing much about politics. Turns out, it's a perfect match. To the surprise of no one who has ever read a sign those angry and uninformed so proudly wave, or has seen an interview of any of those frothy fumers, it's an obvious inference: for people full of rage and certitude, they sure don't know much. Here's an article with proof (you might have to click past an annoying "welcome page"). The author was an economist for Ronald Reagan:
In short, no matter how one slices the data, the Tea Party crowd appears to believe that federal taxes are very considerably higher than they actually are, whether referring to total taxes as a share of GDP or in terms of the taxes paid by a typical family.
Tea Partyers also seem to have a very distorted view of the direction of federal taxes. They were asked whether they are higher, lower or the same as when Barack Obama was inaugurated last year. More than two-thirds thought that taxes are higher today, and only 4% thought they were lower; the rest said they are the same.
As noted earlier, federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president. And given the economic circumstances, it's hard to imagine that a tax increase would have been enacted last year. In fact, 40% of Obama's stimulus package involved tax cuts. These include the Making Work Pay Credit, which reduces federal taxes for all taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 by between $400 and $800...
...Whatever the future of the Tea Party movement in American politics, it's a bad idea for so many participants to operate on the basis of false notions about the burden of federal taxation. It only takes a little bit of time to look at one's tax return to see what one is actually paying the Treasury, calculate the percentage of one's income that goes to taxes, and compare it with what was paid last year and the year before. People may then discover that their anger is misplaced and channel it into areas where it is more likely to bring about positive change.
How truly sad it is that such a large part of the national conversation is being dominated by the ill-informed. How destructive. How dispiriting to know that the Republican ideal of controlling education in order to produce dumbed-down sheep is so effective. How easy it is, as we see every day, to stir up rabble with lies. Such a simple formula: ridicule education as "elitist;" remove science and all ability to judge facts from education, preferably in the name of god; make up stuff; get an entire media outlet to repeat constantly; stir vigorously; drink deeply.
Brilliant. Effective. And it's killing us.