For a movement that frets so much about the “burden of federal taxation,” Tea Party adherents have a remarkably dim understanding of what they actually fork over to Washington. In a recent survey of anti-tax activists in Washington Tuesday, tea partiers thought, on average, that 42% of GDP goes to federal taxes. The actual number depends on how you calculate it, but the highest possible figure is 14.8.%, writes Bruce Bartlett.
Ditto for the personal income tax burden, Bartlett writes for Forbes. Angry, misinformed activists think an average family pays out up to 25% of income. But if they bothered to look at the tables, they’d see that no matter how you figure it, you won’t give the government more than 14.5%. They also think taxes are higher since President Obama took office, but they’re actually “very considerably lower by every measure.” Rather than being a philosophical opposition, Bartlett writes, “tea parties just represent unfocused anger at current economic conditions.”