Political Hay

Tax Day on Holiday

Where were the anti-tax rallies this year?

By 4.19.06

Something's been missing from a lot of the anti-tax protests this past week: people who think taxes are too high.

Protests have been organized across the country by left-wing groups who don't want their tax money going to kill terrorists. In New York City it was Grandmothers Against The War that made the news. It is "unconscionable that our tax dollars are going to the invasion and destruction of Iraq while we have so many needs here in Harlem and all the Harlems of the country," one grandmother against the war told CNN.

In Sacramento it was another group of leftist anti-war types.

In towns and cities across the country, left-wing groups are organizing demonstrations to protest the war and argue for MORE government social spending.

Where are the anti-tax protesters who actually think we're overtaxed?

Libertarians at Auburn University did stage a protest, complete with "Honk if you hate taxes" signs. In South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. Rep. Mark Green, the GOP nominee for governor, held an anti-tax rally. And of course there was Grover Norquist's annual rally. But by and large what little protests were seen this past week were staged by liberals protesting their tax dollars going to the war effort.

USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor both had big features last week on anti-war activists who refuse to pay the portion of their federal tax bill that would go to military spending. I could find no story anywhere about conservatives upset with current levels of federal taxation.

It's not as if there is nothing to protest. Tax Freedom Day, as calculated by the Tax Foundation, is three days later this year than it was last year. That's thanks mostly to economic growth pushing people into higher tax brackets. America still has a 35 percent federal tax bracket. It still has a death tax. It still does not let people invest even a small portion of their Social Security taxes on their own. There is plenty to protest.

Tax Freedom Day, the day when we stop working to pay our taxes and start working for ourselves, still hasn't arrived yet. It is next Wednesday. By that date, Americans will have worked 77 days just to pay their federal taxes, and another 39 days to pay their state and local taxes.

We spend more time earning the money it takes to run our government than we do feeding, clothing, and sheltering our families.

Tired of big corporations "not paying their fair share" by relocating to Bermuda or the Bahamas? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that America has the highest corporate income tax rate in the world, according to a Tax Foundation study earlier this year.

Taxes in the United States are still too high, but most Americans don't think so, according to a recent Gallup poll. It found that 60 percent of Americans said their income tax they pay is fair. Seventy percent said corporations pay too little in taxes. Do they know that America has the highest corporate tax rates in the world? Evidently not. Nobody is telling them.

The Bush tax cuts have spurred the economy, created millions of jobs, and allowed millions of Americans to keep more of their own money. That most Americans think their taxes are now just fine and that corporations pay too little is evidence that conservatives have a lot of work left to do. There are tax cuts to be made permanent, others to enact, and a great deal of economic educating to be done. We missed our chance to educate with big Tax Day rallies this year. Let's not make the same mistake next year.

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About the Author

Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader. You can follow him on Twitter at @Drewhampshire.