March 20, 2010

Tea Party and our tax burden

Bruce Bartlett notes that the Tea Partiers are misinformed on our tax burden. This does not surprise me at all. While, as Bartlett notes, we have had no meaningful tax increase (on Federal income taxes, mind you) since 1993, most conservatives I speak to can only complain about our "high taxes."

I think this speaks more to what seems like bad epistemology. During my recent ski trip, I had an interesting conversation with a meteorologist about responses to climate change. Similar to evolution, he noted, the ideas of a "preponderance of evidence" had been switched on its ear. Now people can look out the window and decide since it is cold here, climate change is bunk. Or look at their dog and their human friends and decide, just because they don't "believe" it, that evolution can't be true. The preponderance of evidence is on the other side, but that doesn't matter. Facts, as it turns out, don't matter.

Likewise, what does it matter that Obama has actually cut most people's taxes if you want to believe that your taxes are going up and up? What do facts have to do with that? We are in the Stephen Colbert territory where he noted that "facts have a well-known liberal bias."

Bartlett also sees this as a problem:
"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."
The fact that the Republican party encourages this misperception is also troubling. How do you have a decent conversation about governing when half the country simply ignores factual evidence and prefers their own "beliefs?" About everything?

No comments: