Monday, April 20, 2009

Axelrod doesn't get Tea Party concept

Dishonest or ignorant? You decide:
Senior White House adviser David Axelrod on Sunday suggested the "Tea Party" movement is an "unhealthy" reaction to the tough economic climate facing the country. . . .
"I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy," Axelrod said. . . .
"The thing that bewilders me is that this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people," Axelrod argued.
Let me explain something to you, David Axelrod: Obama and the Democrats didn't "cut taxes" in a way that will stimulate economic growth. They didn't reduce or eliminate the capital gains tax. They didn't reduce or eliminate the corporate tax. Most of all, they didn't reduce the top marginal rate.

The stupid "targeted tax cuts" approach that Democrats have been pushing for the past 15 years -- check this box on your 1040 and add an extra few hundred bucks to your refund -- does nothing meaningful to stimulate growth. The fact that most of that money is going to people who don't pay income taxes anyway means that it is, in fact, a welfare giveaway, not a tax cut.

What you, David Axelrod, don't understand is that those of us who support a growth-oriented economic policy aren't in favor of tax cuts on a "more-money-for-me" basis. It's not about who gets what, it's about increasing prosperity by expanding liberty. But Democrats are so narrow-minded that they don't even grasp the concept.

No surprise that the master of astroturfing would find a true grassroots movement distasteful.
Via Donald Douglas, here is CNN's John King calling the Tea Party movement "ginned up":

UPDATE: Linked at RCP Best of the Blogs.


  1. We don't need to reform the tax code; we need to scuttle the 16th Amendment and the moral hazard it created.

  2. "What you, David Axelrod, don't understand is that those of us who support a growth-oriented economic policy aren't in favor of tax cuts on a "more-money-for-me" basis. It's not about who gets what, it's about increasing prosperity by expanding liberty."That may be true. But is that what most Tea Party protesters believe? That's not entirely clear. My guess is that some were protesting because of the huge tax increases they predict will be needed to pay for the current round of spending, and some were protesting because they think they are paying more in federal taxes than they actually are. You point out that most of the Obama tax cuts are going to people who don't pay (net) federal taxes anyway, but this might be true as well of most of the Tea Party protesters, for all we know (and this is probably Axelrod's assumption).

    I agree with you that the Democratic strategy of "targeted tax cuts" isn't helpful, but the Republican strategy of deficit-financed marginal tax cuts seems to have run its course as well. I don't believe a 15% (or even a 20%) capital gains tax rate inhibits much economic growth, or that eliminating the capital gains rate would spur much growth at this point (doesn't everyone have plenty of capital losses to carry forward?). I agree that cutting the corporate income tax rate would be stimulative. It's too bad the GOP didn't advocate this when we had the White House and Congress for 6 of the last 8 years.

  3. As often as the libs and lefties attempt to sell their program on the basis of "look at what is in it for you," I have to believe that they must, themselves, be completely and entirely self interested. Or completely dishonest.

    Those are the only reasons to use such an appeal, because it appeals to you, or because you think you've got a sucker on the line.

  4. Hell, it's not even a real tax cut, just an advance on next year's refund, paid in weekly installments instead of one lump sum (like last years stimulus).

    Unless, of course, you opt not to over-prepay the IRS through withholding, in which case your lump sum payment will be that much larger next 4/15.

    The liberal/progressive statists think you should be happy about this, which ought to tell you something about just how stupid they think you are.

  5. Stacy,

    I suppose you know that you got your kind of tax cuts in the last administration and look at what a great economy that left us.

  6. Full disclosure: I'm a liberal.

    I think the tea parties were great. A country's freedom is measured by how much freedom it gives to its minority/opposition voices. The only thing that annoys me is that conservatives hail these as virtuous, while Iraq War protesters were anti-American.

    What I wasn't sure about, though, was their message, a problem that affects the republican party as a whole. I mainly only saw reporting on two of the protests(and the 2 local ones in my area). The one in Boston was more generic anti-taxes & spending while the one in Atlanta was more pointedly critical of Obama. So it seems that the talk-radio set was motivated to come out, but mainly they're just voicing general unhappiness with current policy. This does not an agenda make.

    And now there's a lot of false outrage over a handshake & smile with Hugo Chavez. It seems to me that republicans are continuing the kind of petty sniping that contributed to their election loss. They have yet to articulate their ideas even as well as this blog.

    As for the top marginal rate, I'm not too concerned about raising it 4 or 5% to what it was under Clinton. Lowering those rates will not stimulate the economy much more than the extra few hundred bucks that most of us are going to have in our pockets when our refund comes in.

  7. I am an Independent and attended a tea party. Most people whom I spoke with there were not focused on party identification but rather wanted Washington D.C. to know that we are tired of their games with regard to taxes and budget. Most of the people present were not anti-Obama, and in fact most voted for him. However, there was a sense that President Obama had played the American people during the campaign because he protrayed himself more middle then left so many voted for him because they felt he would be more moderate. Well now we know we were played. Overall these tea parties were a message to all politicians that enough is enough. For President Obama it should be a wake up call.

  8. Yes. Dishonest and ignorant.

    We had a great turnout -- 7,000 people. All were sick and tired of the Robin Hood government.

    I agree with smitty1e in part. Reforming the tax code is basically imposible. Each reform that we get helps tax lawyers carving out loopholes. A tax system much less subject to exploitation would be much better. I don't live in the illusion we can live without taxes, as appealing as that sounds, but our tax system has failed us.