To coincide with tax day, Tea Party groups gathered in cities across the country yesterday to “denounce what they regard as excessive taxation and government spending.” “We’re going to protest excessive taxes,” one tea bagger at the rally in Washington, DC said. But at a fundraiser in Miami yesterday, President Obama seemed perplexed by the tea baggers’ motivations, noting that he helped usher in a tax cut last year for nearly all but the richest Americans:
OBAMA: We cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans just like I promised we would on the campaign. […] So I’ve been a little amused over the last couple days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying, “Thank you!” That’s what you’d think!
Indeed, taxes are at their lowest levels in 60 years. “The relation between what is said in the tax debate and what is true about tax policy is often quite tenuous,” said Tax Policy Center co-director William Gale. “The rise of the Tea Party at at time when taxes are literally at their lowest in decades is really hard to understand.” Nearly 47 percent of Americans will pay no federal income taxes for 2009 because either “their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability.”