Here’s a puzzle:
Despite the fact that income inequality in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past 27 years, there has not been a leftward shift in economic policy in the U.S., as noted by Brad DeLong.
Conservative former Bush administration Treasury Department economist Bruce Bartlett notes that not only does the U.S. have lower tax rates than all but 4 of the 30 countries in the OECD, but the median American family in 2007 (he didn’t have the data yet for 2008 but was sure it’s even lower than it was in 2007) had a lower effective tax rate than any American generation since 1950.
Steve Benen used Bartlett’s data to create a graph illustrating this.
Bartlett’s conclusion? “I believe this was 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.”
He notes in conclusion:
People should remember that while they have the right to their opinion, they are not entitled to be taken seriously. That only comes from having credibility gained by the correct presentation of facts and analysis and a willingness to be even-handed--criticizing one's own side when it is wrong and not only speaking up when the other party does the same thing.
None of the above, however, seems to have affected the perceptions or behavior of the teabaggers or their cynical political and media promoters. Roy Edroso at alicublog visits the teabaggers’ hearts of darkness.
What do you think accounts for the teabagger phenomenon? Add your two cents in the Comments section below.