Bruce Bartlett, Forbes columnist and former Treasury Department economist, has a bone to pick with all those tax tea party attendees (mentioned in this earlier post).
Bartlett thinks this week's tax protests were "largely a partisan exercise designed to improve the fortunes of the Republican Party, not an expression of genuine concern about taxes or our nation's fiscal future."
The reason for Bartlett's skepticism about protest motives? He's got a couple.
First, he says, the Congressional Budget Office was projecting a deficit of more than $1 trillion well before the Democratic majority took office.
More to the tax point, Bartlett says our current tax burden isn't that heavy.
He has crunched some numbers that show "the median family tax rate is well below that which prevailed in 2007 if only because in February, Congress enacted a new tax credit that will reduce the median family's tax bill by $800 over last year."
Plus, he says, folks know this. About half of Americans think their federal income taxes are about right. "In only one other year since 1956 have more Americans said their taxes were about right than said they were too high," Bartlett writes.
He backs up his argument, including a table detailing the effective tax rate (taxes paid as a share of income) on the median family, in this week's column, Tax Tea Party Time, Part Two.
He makes some interesting points, and I happen to agree with him about the motivations of the tea party planners, if not all the attendees. Check out Bartlett's analysis and let him, and me, know what you think.