Lefty at tea party: Obama hasn't raised taxes, wingnuts!

Sorry that this is the best I can do for you by way of video from today’s rallies thus far. I figured that “Crash the Tea Party” moron would have people running around in SS uniforms or something, but now that he’s under investigation by the school district that employs him, perhaps the crashing scheme has crashed. For now we’ll make do with this guy spouting a persistent myth, persistent enough in fact to end up as a question in the NYT’s “let’s bait the wingnuts” survey of tea partiers. Has Obama raised taxes? Well, he hasn’t raised the marginal rate on income taxes — or rather, he hasn’t yet — but as Jacob Sullum reminds us, that wasn’t what he promised during the campaign. He promised that he wouldn’t raise any taxes on households making less than $250K. And that promise, like so many others, was swept away long ago:

Obama broke this promise barely two weeks into his presidency by signing a bill that included a 156-percent increase in the federal cigarette tax, which not only hits the nonwealthy but is one of the most regressive taxes around. By ATR’s count, the health care bill Obama signed last month includes another seven tax hikes that affect the under-$250,000-a-year crowd. In fact, since four of these changes will increase people’s income tax bills, they violate even the edited version of Obama’s pledge that he presented on Saturday. For example, as Peter Suderman noted last week, the law raises the threshold for deducting medical expenses from 7.5 percent of income to 10 percent. As a result, people with substantial medical expenses will pay more income tax. But as I noted in a column last November, “When the president does it, it’s not a tax.”

The split between tea partiers and the general population on whether most Americans’ taxes have increased under Obama was one of the most dramatic of the poll: Just 34 percent of average joes said they have versus 64 percent of TPers, which, ironically, was offered tacitly as evidence of how paranoid and ill-informed those darned wingers are. Why the Times particularly cares whether taxes have gone up yet when (a) they’re metaphysically certain to go up soon to try to put a dent in America’s debt (Frum offers three stealth possibilities for new taxes) and (b) the fact that Obama hasn’t kept spending in step with lower taxes is the reason we have record deficits, I simply don’t know. But as you watch this video, bear this bittersweet thought in mind: This is the last Tax Day you’ll ever experience where this tool will even attempt this argument. Per Robert Samuelson, it’s all downhill from here.