2009 Taxes Paid Lowest In 50 Years

Tax Day "Tea Party" Protestors Rally Around The Country

Which, of course, prompts the rhetorical question from the liberal media types: What was all the tea party fuss about?

And the answer, of course, is that it’s not just taxes. It’s the size of government.

Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman’s presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found.

Some conservative political movements such as the “Tea Party” have criticized federal spending as being out of control. While spending is up, taxes have fallen to exceptionally low levels.

Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

Milt Friedman illustrated the tea party position on this issue perfectly: “I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible. The reason I am is because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending.”

“The big problem is spending.” Tea partiers are upset about the size of government and all that over sized government imposes on them in terms of taxes and regulation. They’re also upset about the irresponsibly huge gap between what the government takes in revenue and what the government puts out in spending. The massive deficits every year, feeding into a hole of debt that’s already trillions of dollars deep, imply huge future taxes.

Because eventually that debt will have to be paid off. With interest. And the only way for the government to do that is to take more from us.

Unless the government downsizes itself, which is the goal of the tea party movement.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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