Tea Bagging For Fun and Profit

A question in e-mail from Edward:

I realize you are busy, what with the death avoidance thing and all, but I would love your take on the “Tea Parties” that Fox news and Glenn Beck are putting together.

I think it’s nice these folks are out getting some exercise rather than spending all their time flicking spittle onto their computer screens. Really, outside of that I find I don’t really have much to say about them one way or another. No one really cares, they’re not hurting anyone, and the tea companies are getting paid as these silly people buy Earl Grey by the case. Let them have their fun.

As for Glenn Beck, at this point I pretty much see him as the conservanerd equivalent of professional wrestling: an overwrought scripted work feigning spontaneity and pathos to an audience who is probably smart enough to know it’s fake but doesn’t really care. I don’t have to watch him, and I don’t.

The thing about it all for me, personally, is that these people don’t seem to get that every time they declare themselves a “tea bagger,” the rest of us can’t stop giggling about it (here’s why, if you don’t know, but be warned — you won’t be able to unlearn this bit of information). But, you know. If it makes them happy.

199 thoughts on “Tea Bagging For Fun and Profit

  1. Funny, I thought, on seeing this title in my feed reader, of exactly the reason you mentioned that we would be giggling at people using it for Tea Party style protests.

    (Thankfully, I figured that it was probably safe, considering the source.)

  2. Am I the only person who is extremely disturbed by the fact that the Wikipedia article describes teabagging in the same sort of style that they describe the laws of thermodynamics or the history of salt? Or who is now tempted to see what other amusing subjects get the same coverage in there?

    … Sigh. Yes, I probably am.

  3. True story – the Baptist church I attended growing up had a youth singing group named ‘Soldiers of the Light’, and I had to resist snorting every time I heard it annouced that there would be SOL practice or an SOL show.

    As for tea-bagging, well, better to be the bagger than the baggee is all I have to say about that.

  4. Could be wrong here, but didn’t John Waters invent the term for his movie Pecker as he needed an utterly ridiculous term for a banned sex act? I saw him speak a number of years ago and seem to remember him commenting upon this, but there’s no mention of it in the Wikipedia article other than to note that the term appears in the movie.

  5. yeah, their use of the term is as good as the anti-gay marriage folks who abbreviate their name as.. 2M4M. It’s amazing how clueless the right wing is. But it’s also amusing and we all need chuckles these days.

  6. Personally, I think Beck could use a good tea-bagging.

    Of course, the final effect depends entirely on the tea-bag.

    Remember that bulldog from Van Wilder? Before the cream donut scene I mean…

    Do that on TV and I might start watching CNN again, especially if they did it to Nancy Grace too.

    Oh what? Like you people wouldn’t line up to watch that.

  7. @6 Mensley:

    John Waters did coin the term “teabagging” for the movie Pecker according to an interview I’ve read. He repeated this claim in his one-man show This Filthy World (which is still sitting on my DVR). Note that he does not claim to have invented the act, but merely give it a name.

  8. I have been employed since I was 16 years old. I pay my taxes. I have never been arrested. And tomorrow I hope to go to my very first protest in Chicago! I am so sick of this expansion of government. And I am tired of the left/MSM portraying ordinary people like myself as ring-wing fringe kooks. We have a voice and now it is time for us to be heard. I hope this awakens a sleeping giant!

  9. @10 Andy Trembley:

    Thanks, glad to know I wasn’t imagining that. I’ll look for his one-man show.

  10. so when will the smokers hold a big smoke-in on the national mall to point out that there were some caveats in the “nobody making under $250k will see any tax increases” promise?

  11. From the dcExaminer:

    “The movement started with a “Porkulus” protest organized by Keli Carender, a blogger-mom in Seattle getting her first taste of political activism, three days before the now-famous Feb. 19 television news rant by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Carender was concerned about Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package. Blogger Michelle Malkin got wind of Carender’s activity and touted it, which led to similar protests in Colorado, Arizona, and Kansas. A national movement caught fire, organized by a bunch of mostly unconnected people who found each other via social networking on the Internet.”

    It is about out of control spending!

  12. I’d have a lot more respect for the Tea Party folks if they had bothered to give a shit about the expansion of government when the previous tenant of 1600 Penn. Ave. did the (massive) expanding.

    Remember, kids: necessary wartime executive powers and measures instantly morph into intolerable government abuses once the guy in charge has the wrong letter after his name.

  13. So we are in the middle of two wars, trillions of dollars in debt, schools are closing (at least in Michigan), rising unemployment, a broken healthcare system, a crisis on Wall Street that affects millions’ of retirement funds … and these tea baggers are complaining because those making $250,000+ got a 3% increase in their taxes, while the middle and lower class got a tax cut?

  14. Since I didn’t see any teabagging parties (lol, now THAT’S an image I can’t get out of my head!) when Bush was planning to invade Iraq, I guess the Right finds it perfectly acceptable to blow $600 billion in Iraq. But spend $600 billion to improve our own country, that’s socialism and an outrage!

    Sigh.

  15. Better the teabagger than the teabaggee…

    @ 18 Marko: We did. I remember voicing my discontent about No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and just about every last pork-fried transportation and agriculture bill during the Bush administration. I specifically remember sending 30+ page spreadsheets of government programs that could be cut to my Senators and Representative all the way back in 2005 when Katrina hit, where everyone was wondering how we were going to pay for rebuilding New Orleans while Thad Cochrane (R-etired, thank God) used part of Mississippi’s disaster relief funds to relocate a rail line that wasn’t anywhere near the coast. (At the time I had two Republican Senators and a Democratic Representative. None of them wrote back.)

  16. They can keep the tea bags. I am finding new tax shelters to keep the money out of their hands. As for Beck, he is about is exciting as Blobberman on MSNBC.

    “So we are in the middle of two wars, trillions of dollars in debt….” and increasing by trillions thanks to the fools in office now.

    Remember folks: what is considered wasteful spending, strong executive powers and poor choices flips when when the letter after the name changes….
    As they say, “if Obama is the answer, it must have been a stupid question”

  17. Teabagging parties. A very long, LONG way from the Boston Tea Party.

    And, c’mon. NOBODY knew what they were saying when they came up with the term “teabagging party?”

    Hysterical, through and through.

  18. Marko@18, you probably should pay attention a little more then. Out of control spending by the Republican party was widely denounced by the fiscal wing of the party’s base, and disgruntlement with it led to tons of fiscal conservatives staying home in 2006, which pretty much led to the Democratic takeover then. Well, it was a combination of anti-war sentiment on the left and spending too damn much money on the right, anyways.

    There’s a fight going on on the Right right now, over the direction it should go, and this is part of that.

  19. And with all that spending, the deficit was $162 billion in 2007. If Bush had held the line on spending, he could possibly have had a balanced budget in spite of 911, two wars and natural disasters (until the economy collapsed in 2008).

  20. Rob: I am finding new tax shelters to keep the money out of their hands.

    So you make more than $250,000? Good for you!

    But you’re going to put them in tax shelters because you don’t want the little extra bit of taxes? You had 8 years of a vacation. Now the credit card bill is due and we’re back in reality. Just pay your damn taxes like the middle class does (since we can’t pay tax experts to funnel our investments to tax shelters like the rich can). You’ll get over, and you’ll actually do some good for our nation. Iraq won’t pay itself off, after all.

  21. rw @#11:

    tomorrow I hope to go to my very first protest in Chicago! I am so sick of this expansion of government.

    We’re so glad you’re out of that coma, rw. Eight years is a long time to be unconscious.

    But we have some bad news…

  22. “I hope this awakens a sleeping giant!”

    Huh? So tea bagging is really a black magic ritual for summoning some primordial titan, like C’thulhu?

    I know you are worried about the upper class tax rate going up 4%, but do you really think tampering with forces beyond mortal ken for a policy issue is wise?

  23. Admiral Yamamoto said of Pearl Harbor,

    “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”

    What are you smoking?

  24. I’m afraid the giant is quite content on his couch, drinking beer and watching American Idol.

  25. Yep. That’s the stereotype of the average law-abiding American. It doesn’t describe me, but we’ll just let you have your distorted visions.

  26. I hadn’t thought of Beck in terms of professional wrestling before, but that is an amazing apt comparison.

    I’m not sure anyone could have written a better parody than we’re seeing in real life. It kinda sucks all the gravitas right out of the discussion.

  27. GAH!!!

    Okay, so I didn’t know before I clicked the link. And, well, John did warn that once learned, it cannot be unlearned.

    (Sorry Yoda, some things just can’t be unlearned.)

    It does make the whole thing more amusing, tho…

  28. David Shuster – come on. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Quote a liberal on a movement that is against big government. Perfect!

  29. What amuses me about all this (besides the obvious) is that people don’t seem to see how ridiculous it is to compare throwing away a legally-purchased, cheaper-than-dirt teabag to a criminal protest that actually cost people money and deprived the British government of tax revenue. If they want something comparable to the Boston Tea Party, they should bust into cigarette warehouses that don’t belong to them and destroy the cigarettes to prevent the US government from getting the tax revenue from same.

  30. @rw re: #29

    Is it really that hard to recognize parody? Or are you truly an agent of Ry’leh, masking the massive ontological crisis we will soon face, now that the stars are aligning and the planets swerving into their pre-ordained positions? Are teabags nothing more than an amusingly named veil, cast over the dim eyes of us poor apes, shrouding us from the encroaching and terrible darkening of madness as grotesque minds cast limp and soggy bags of refuse in eldritch forms around the Pentagon, warping the very fabric of sane existence with the scent of chamomiles and earl grey?

    /Why do you hate America, rw?!/

  31. Jim Wright @9

    Personally, I think Beck could use a good tea-bagging.
    Didn’t care for “Devil’s Haircut?”

    Do that on TV and I might start watching CNN again, especially if they did it to Nancy Grace too.

    Oh what? Like you people wouldn’t line up to watch that.

    I’d go pay-per-view, personally.

  32. If conservative protesters want to be taken seriously they need to beat drums and wave around giant puppets.

    Also learn to piteously moan “This is what a police state looks like!” when the cops ask them to stop littering.

  33. “Admiral Yamamoto said of Pearl Harbor,
    “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”
    What are you smoking?”

    Conservatives are going to invade Guadalcanal?

  34. You are right. I will not be able to “unlearn” that. But the weird moment was when my 14 year-old daughter came over to see what I was looking at with such an odd assortment of expressions and noises – and she already knew!

  35. I’m sorry. I’m confused. I followed Scalzi’s first link. What are they doing at these parties? Buying tea bags and throwing them away? Ripping them open and pouring them out on the sidewalk?

    Please take pity on me and explain.

  36. rw

    I suggest reading some books by economists regarding government deficit spending. For some reason, it has become an assumption that running a deficit is evil, it’s going to lead to the downfall of the US, and all sorts of other things. I suggest trying The Predator State by Galbraith for some interesting perspective.

    For my money, because of the structure of the global economy, I’m not all that worried about deficit spending at the moment because in general, it’s a worthwhile investment. The US government is not like a household, where you want spending to be less than or equal to income, because of personal bankruptcy and such.

    I am a bit worried about rising healthcare classes.

  37. As a conservative, I find that wasting Earl Grey anathema. Better to chuck Celestial Seasonings “Sleepy Time” into Lake Michigan. It tastes like feet; specifically, Scalzi’s right foot. Yes, I licked my monitor to make sure.

  38. Sorry John. I just bought a pair of fishing kayaks and didn’t make the time to reach for a more entertaining comment. Your forgiveness, in trade for clean feet?

  39. Diana @ 46:

    I’m assuming they are mimicking the infamous Boston Tea Party only they’re actually buying the tea rather than hijacking it.

    I’m sure there’s video on it on youtube.

  40. Ah, John, you forgot to post the video of a recent Tea-Bagging party. I love that section at the end where the decades long digital converter/brain wash machine is revealed. Or how about that lady yelling, “Burn ALL the books,” or the tea baggers explaining how we have to pull our children out of college before they get brain washed.

    Seriously people, you have to see it to believe it.

    Now normally I would agree with the Scalzi, whatever, let them have fun. But these people are crazy and ARMED TO THE TEATH.

  41. Diana at #46:

    The “tea parties” here are referring to the historical Boston Tea Party, a protest back in the history of America against taxing by England. Tea was actually directly related (it was being taxed) and so protesters took over a ship and dumped all its tea into the bay.

    Modern “tea party” protests are about our own government’s spending.

    I think they’re silly. At best people roll their eyes; at worst people, ah, giggle at the aforementioned association. It is not, all in all, a good way to present an important argument.

    (I don’t agree with said argument, but I think all sides are important to hear out, and the silliness drowns everything else out, however dainty said silliness may be.)

  42. The original Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxation without representation, rather than high taxes. Given that the party in power ran on exactly the taxes that are now proposed, this is hardly the case here.

  43. The habit of calling the “Tea Partiers,” “Tea baggers,” did not originate with the “Tea Partiers,” but with a bunch of smug lefties, who are incapable of talking about the issue that is upsetting a lot of people, so they insult the character and sexuality of a rather significant number of people with sarcastic innuendo, instead of honest and open disagreement.

    If you think that 1.85 trillion one year deficit is perfectly normal, then good for you, but I don’t, and if I disagree with your indifference to a 1.85 trillion one year deficit, I will do so based on the issue, not toss insults.

    Though you are right about beck. When he was on HLN he was tolerable and a change of pace, now he’s just pushes these strange cartoon theatrics that just makes me feel uncomfortable.

  44. Arachne,

    You think the tea parties are silly, and in some ways I don’t exactly disagree with you, I think that all the protests are silly, but you use this as an argument.

    he “tea parties” here are referring to the historical Boston Tea Party, a protest back in the history of America against taxing by England. Tea was actually directly related (it was being taxed) and so protesters took over a ship and dumped all its tea into the bay.

    Modern “tea party” protests are about our own government’s spending.

    At the time of the original Boston Tea Party, those people who staged that protest were citizens of Britain, so there wasn’t much of a conflict.

    And while “Taxation without representation,” was one of the cries, the tea party was just one representation of the anger that was building up in the Colonies based on the aggressive interference with local governance by the mother nation, and her appointed governors.

    Random thing, John Hancock was a shipment mogul, and one of his major sources of income was by importing tea, and supposedly he started smuggling untaxed tea, and said something along the lines of “It was my nation that made me a criminal.”

  45. I don’t believe in running deficits as big as this administration is creating. The government will create an artificial demand to help the economy today. But what happens when those projects in the stimulus bill are completed? We will be back to this very same point. Then will there be another stimulus? Or will the budget become ever burgeoning because no one will bring themselves to cut programs that were introduced in 2009?

    And don’t forget, the debt will be increasing at an accelerated rate.

    I suggest we cut the government waste.

  46. Thanks eddie, I stand corrected, I thought that clip was actually more recent. That’s a slip of the tongue (get it? teabagging? slip of the tongue?) madow and olbermann took that slip of the tongue and went crazy soon after with it’s use.

    Meanwhile Obama wants to “halt the rise of privacy.”

    Let’s hash that out on the nightly news.

  47. @58

    The conservatives don’t have the representation they so obvioiusly deserve for there last 8 years and 12 of the last 20 of cutting both the budget and the size of government. And showing how well unfettered capitalism does work. Remember Hoover was right, we all know that in our hearts.

  48. Near as I can tell, the stimulus protest movement is entirely grass-roots — there’s no Soros/Moveon/Media Matters money funding these people the way liberal protest groups are funded (see link to map below). The problem isn’t that Fox News is covering these events — because if having thousands of CONSERVATIVES turn out for protest rallies isn’t news with a capital N, I don’t know what is — the problem is the MSM failing (up to this point) to recognize the newsworthiness of the story. The Google Maps page alone shows upwards of 500 planned tax day events. The silent majority seems to have found its voice. http://taxdayteaparty.com/

    Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, don’t forget.

    (Google Maps link to “2009 Tea Parties”)

  49. If you think that 1.85 trillion one year deficit is perfectly normal, then good for you, but I don’t, and if I disagree with your indifference to a 1.85 trillion one year deficit, I will do so based on the issue, not toss insults.

    I’ll bite. The crux of the problem is the American public has, on the whole, no cashflow. They have a LOT of personal debt. Reducing taxes etc… isn’t going to get money circulating around the economy because, on the whole, what people need to do with extra money is pay it to the nice people at Visa, Mastercard and others. Unlike other countries where interest rate policy at least provides income relief (i.e. my mortgage back in the UK has dropped from 1450GBP to 975GBP in the last 5 months), the US has most people on fixed mortgages so that interest rate cuts don’t relieve household budgets.

    So, if tax cuts end up in debt repayment, which for the bulk of consumers they will, and for the rich, the money will end up locked up in banks and institutions who aren’t lending anything to each other nor anybody else… then how do you get money flowing around the economy again?

    Answer: deficit spending.

    If you have an alternative way of getting the US economy moving which takes into account the need of the US population to reduce personal debts to manageable levels then I think we’ll be all ears and there’s probably a Nobel Prize in economics in it for you.

    On that note. Yes, I know you’ve managed your finances well and that you don’t owe anything and you’re annoyed at having to subsidize the spendthrift. I’m sorry. If it helps, I’m annoyed too.

    However, there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it if you want to continue living in a modern market economy. Sorry ’bout that.

  50. rw – I’m sure you’ll understand, after the last eight years, if most of us scoff when we hear Republicans talking like fiscal conservatives. Not that that is your fault or anything, for all I know it bugged you when Bush was doing it too.

    Now we are pretty much in a spot where we have to use stimulus, which, by its very nature, is short term. The idea being that once you prime the capitalist pump the engine of our economy will get going again. I’ll admit I’m not sure that it will work, but we have no other choice. Almost all economists agree we have to do something, and the only thing that is left is spending.

    In the past we could play with monetary policy to get ourselves out of recessions. But since our interest rates are already hovering at around zero that isn’t an option. So we are doing stimulus, and even more troubling, quantitative easing. We don’t have a choice.

    Before you go and tell us we have to freeze spending and cut taxes I want you to know that will only make things worse.

  51. Some of the protests are turning away big names (like steele being the most prominent) because they are deliberately avoiding the astroturf marker. They don’t want it to be broadband conservatives, they want it to be fiscal conservatives, including the ones who vote dem, and are trying to avoid partisanship.

    Doesn’t mean the vast majority are conservatives, and only community members like freep and those involved in the blog networks, but they are trying.

  52. Annalee @38 – well gosh, they don’t actually want to get arrested or lose their jobs or anything like that. This is the rightie equivalent of marching around downtown Berkeley shouting “Hey hey, ho ho, Obama taxes have go to go!”, with a thin gloss of Revolutionary Patriot. But they don’t want to actually be Revolutionary Patriots. Those people were imprisoned and shot and stuff!

  53. I don’t like the stimulus, and as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t argue too much against the cash infusions into the financials though tarp and tarp 2.

    2009 would be 1.05 trillion, still too big but necessary if you removed the stimulus, but “The stimulus,” just looks like a payoff, some of it’s going to things that are useful, but way too much of it is going to buying votes, and creating what is in fact, a government controled activist network with billions of federal investment.

    We will recover from the recession, but will we be able to recover from the debt?

  54. I know I’m double posting and that that is a no no, but you really should see what these tea parties look like.

  55. # Leslie At first I wasn’t so interested in these protests, but now that the left has reared its ugly head, I am looking forward to tomorrow.

    Why is it whenever any number of MoveOn, CodePink or A.N.S.W.E.R. (Communists), etc… protesters gather, the MSM are all over it? It fits the left media agenda. A call for smaller government doesn’t sit well with the media. Afterall, the media helped Obama get elected, now they have to do everything to support him. That included NOT reporting on anything that would tarnish his administration.

  56. I think these are silly.

    But the derision heaped on people who finaly realized that a trillion bucks is a lot of effing money, is more than a little silly in itself, considering that those most guilty of insulting these people are the same that think paper mache heads and che guevera shirts is just as american as apple pie.

  57. rw asks the following, “Why is it whenever any number of MoveOn, CodePink or A.N.S.W.E.R. (Communists), etc… protesters gather, the MSM are all over it?”

    Um, really? Do you remember the protests over the Iraq war? Millions upon millions protesting all over the world? No? Well that is because the media didn’t cover it at all. Even MSNBC didn’t cover it. Obama’s big anti war speech in 2002 was not televised, heck, it wasn’t even recorded.

    If you are looking for media coverage look to fox and Rush and the like, don’t expect it to be covered by the rest of the media unless the Tea Baggers get Tanya harding and OJ Simpson to lead the protests.

  58. Leslie – the video was posted by a tea bagger. Look at the video posters comments, they love Glen Beck.

    So yes, I’m fairly confident this video isn’t some conspiracy. I’m also fairly sure that not all books are bad and that TV antennas aren’t secret brain washing devices.

  59. *hands rw a handkerchief* Wipe the foam from your lips, OK? And you might want to straighten out your hat, too; the tinfoil’s getting creased.

  60. Edward @ 55

    Thanks for posting that link. I didn’t make it past the “This is a Communist plot that’s been going on for over 50 years”…

    Then I watched some funny cat videos.

  61. Thanks John for pointing me to that link!!!!! WTF!! And I thought I have heard it all! You are right – I can’t undo what I just learned.

  62. I am, in fact, aware what the Boston Tea Party in the 18th century was. I assume there are not giant ships filled with loose tea sitting in Boston Harbor that armed revolutionaries dressed up like Native Americans are attacking in the dead of night.

    So is the name “tea party” just a name, or are they actually buying up giant crates of teabags at their local Safeway and tossing them out? Into waterways?

  63. A fun game: Replace every reference Glenn Beck makes to America with a woman’s name, and every reference Glenn Beck makes to the Democratic party with a man’s name.

    Then you tell me whether or not Glenn Beck sounds like an ex-boyfriend who can’t let go.

  64. Diana,

    It’s a metaphor, (actually one I don’t like)

    Kinda like how spending 8 years comparing bush to hitler is a simile.

  65. You know, I just want to say that Daveon in comment #66 was intelligent, accurate, and non-inflammatory.

  66. New Rule, how about anytime anybody says the media helped Obama get elected or any variation of the same, they automatically lose the fucking argument and we get to beat them with fungo bats and then give them a good tea-baggin’.

    Give it a rest already.

  67. So, people who disagree with you and do believe that the media did actively chose sides, should be silenced?

    How 1st amendmenty of you.

  68. Wickedpinto #61 –

    What you quoted wasn’t my argument; just my (over-)description of the Boston Tea Party (and you definitely beat me on over-description).

    My argument that it is silly is entirely separate and is based on “throwing away tea you bought is silly.”

    Diana – apologies.

  69. Of course the media helped Obama get elected. The media helped Bush get elected, too. And Clinton. And Daddy Bush. And so on back into the mists of time. The media has no particular bias except in that it’s biased towards whatever will generate ratings, and thus advertising revenue. That means whatever’s more interesting, or exciting, or controversial, or fear-mongering. In the case of Obama, you have a young, handsome, charismatic man against an old, wrinkly dude – and the young dude /also/ happens to be black, which adds a thick swathe of icing to the cake because the talking heads can pontificate about race and progress.

    So yes, the media helped Obama get elected. But I think more of the credit goes to the fact that the Republicans had spent eight years running the country into the ground, and the pendulum finally swung back the other way.

  70. Ok, kinda creepy – I just got a robocall asking if I’m ‘aware of the upcoming tea party protests….’. do grassroot organizations usually use/afford robocalls???? (I just hung up on it)

  71. I’m going to go with “grassroots organization is directly antithetical to the very idea of robocalls, and thus this teabagger thing (hee hee hee!) is astroturf all the way to Boston harbour.”

  72. Oh, effing please!

    I’m active with some of the people pushing the tea parties, There might be some, but odds are greater that I’d get a call, in the middle of a convo about teaparties, than someone constantly insulting people excercising their right to assemble.

    Let me guess, the FBI has a file on you, and you appear prominently in some tapes left over from the hoover days?

  73. We will recover from the recession, but will we be able to recover from the debt?

    Yes. This has been another in a continuing series of easy answers to easy questions.

  74. I know these paragraphs are OT, apologies, but since the media was brought up: Fletcher, I’m going to disagree with you on the media helping Obama–if the media had *really* wanted to help Obama, they would’ve spent the same amount of time covering John Hagee and Pat Robertson’s current ties to McCain, and Sarah Palin’s ties to an African witch doctor that they did focusing with obsessive interest on Obama’s past ties to Rev. Wright.

    And every time Sarah Palin claimed, based on a tenuous connection w/ Bill Ayers, that Obama “palled around with terrorists,” the media’s response, instead of lapping it up, would’ve been, “Uh, Sarah, your husband belonged to a secessionist political party whose founder died a violent death trying to purchase illegal explosives. Doesn’t your husband have closer ties to terrorists? And what about McCain’s financial donations to G. Gordon Liddy, who called for federal agents to be “shot in the head”?”

    As for the tea parties, and the cries for fiscal responsibility…I’m really wondering about where these protestors were when Bush cut taxes on the rich by $1.6 trillion dollars, thereby irresponsibly squandering a perfectly good surplus.

  75. Greg – my point was basically that the media isn’t motivated by like or dislike so much as it is by “ooh, shiny!”. To stretch the metaphor, Obama has/had a higher albedo than McCain/Palin, and thus attracted more media attention, both positive and negative. The media spotlight directed at Obama reflected off him to illuminate his surroundings, whereas the lights pointed at McCain and Palin were not as bright and the media was less motivated to dig up stuff because they were less interesting to begin with. Any bias towards Obama is not related to him or his politics – it’s related to the fact that he’s more interesting than his opposition.

    But as you say, we grow off-topic. Driving back to the topic now …

    Is this teabagging thing indicative of a real and widespread partisan disconnect in America’s now out-of-power neocons, or is it really mostly astroturf and hot air? And is there a risk that the lunatic fringe may go a step further and try armed uprisings?

  76. I hope some people will be dressed up in full Native American regalia for these tea bag parties, just as our brave patriots did over two hundred years ago. And to show our support for our uniformed services, some protesters should dress up as sailors. Let’s not forget the thin blue line that protects us from the criminal element and get some people in police uniforms there. Oh! The American Worker–it’s Obama’s tax policies that are teabagging them, so we need some guys in construction vests and hard hats to fly the colors. And those brave rugged individualists like cowboys and bikers, they need to be represented in costume. That should do it. In villages all across our great nation, these village people shall joyously manhandle teabags all over the streets. And should they come across any farmhands holding other sacks used in agriculture, they can just go ahead and gaily spill that seed as well. These private parties will be recounted with lip-smacking pleasure for all in this brave fraternity, this band of brothers. All these tea baggers deserve our support for their big day out. I only hope the government doesn’t stonewall them.

  77. Ooh, apropos of nothing, I remember the last time Tea Parties were mentioned on the Whatever. There was some giggling then, too! But that was strictly a Tea Party, not a Tea Bag Party.

  78. And then there is the National Organization for Marriage (whose sole agenda is stopping same-sex marriages) using the acronym 2M4M for their new campaign, 2 Million for Marriage.

    As Andrew Sullivan noted, perhaps they should check the Urban Dictionary before announcing these things…

  79. Oh man. That’s what I was expecting – I was expecting to have to wait until 9/12 to hear him get up and say “Jesusland secedes!”, though. I like how he conveniently ignores the fact that whether or not states have the right to secede was pretty definitively settled back in the 1860s (the answer: no). It is vaguely amusing to see how fast the wibbly-wobbly congealed blobs on the fringe of the Republican bacon have swung around to hating America, though. I’m pretty sure that, no matter how loud Glen Beck eventually outright calls for secession, actual patriots of either colour will soundly ignore him.

  80. Well, I for one am all in favor of Glenn Beck’s secession. He can take Rush and Anne with him. And my idiot governor.

    And once they’ve established their own country we can declare war and nuke their pasty white asses.

    Come on, it’ll be fun. I’ll bring the beer and sunglasses.

  81. rw @73 opined, “Why is it whenever any number of MoveOn, CodePink or A.N.S.W.E.R. (Communists), etc… protesters gather, the MSM are all over it? It fits the left media agenda…”

    Dude, this t-shirt has “you” written all over it ;)

  82. A couple of years ago, the Pittsburgh Central Catholic football team got in trouble for a hazing incident which consisted of tea-bagging and basically all of Southwestern PA became informed about this term so I hesitated to click on the entry until I was not at work. This whole thing does not at all evoke the protest of the Boston Tea Party for me, though.
    This is just a little bit of trivia about the tea that got dumped at the Boston tea party: It was basically finely ground tea leaves which were pressed into bricks. These were usually stamped with designs. My husband bought some tea bricks out of curiosity. Here’s one he bought and sealed for geocaching purposes: tea brick.

  83. By the way, I have officially renamed these events:

    T-BAGS FOR D-BAGS.

    Anyone attending any of these events, please refer to the event by its proper name. Thank you for your cooperation.

  84. You all should see this.

    David Shuster filling in for Olbermann last night, had a bit of fun with the use of the term “tea bagging”

    At first you wonder if he knows its double meaning, by the end it CLEAR. CLASSIC.

    And yes totally juvenile, but hilarious. This is prime time TV.

    Such gems include how they “want to give Obama a strong tongue lashing” and refering to them as “teabag mouthpieces”

    I could not stop laughing.

  85. This is too funny. I had to read the post twice to make sure I hadn’t misread the title. You’d think someone at FOX would tell these knuckleheads what the rest of the world (those deviants among us) defines as “tea bagging.”
    Almost as funny as the many news folks who talked about the Obamas and their fisting. Do I have a really dirty mind, or is the media just oblivious?

    Marie

    I SO love this blog.

  86. Hmm. I looked at John’s Wikipedia link and thought, “oh, that’t not half as nasty as I was imagining”.

    Am I the only one?

  87. I’ve thought that the federal government was too big, spent too much, taxed to much, and should have been put in a cage for a couple of decades. Never noticed that anyone paid much attention to those opinions, but then I have problems with social skills.

    This is the first I’ve heard of the Tea Party movement being associated with “teabagging”, and suspect that that association is name calling or simple projection from those whining about someone having demonstrations that they don’t agree with. It’s interesting that they’re certain that someone is secretly organizing and funding them. One person’s conspiracy is another’s grassroots, I suppose.

    You don’t have to come, after all. Stay home and sneer, if you can find a mention in the mainstream media.

  88. It’s interesting that they’re certain that someone is secretly organizing and funding them.

    That’s because “they” can read. And here’s a pre-emptive “Why this is different than Move On”.

    If you think that “teabagging” is projection, well… I think you need to spend more time reading up on psychological defense mechanisms so you have a larger palette to choose from.

  89. And I just had to fix vandalism on the teabagging page. Someone thought it would be funny to substitute the “Ana” in “Ana Marie Cox” with something obscene. Fantastic. Mature!

    RW @way too many comments, you enjoy your teabagging. Enjoy it with all your heart and soul. But really, click that link Scalzi provided.

  90. As I understand the complaint, that’s how MoveOn organized, and so (this is where the projection comes in) that’s how other groups must be organizing. The world may be more complicated than you think it is.

    How does that Ghandi quote go, that I used to use about Linux and Microsoft?

    First they ignore you, [this seems to be the current stage of the TeaParty movement]

    then they laugh at you, [TeaParty approaching this, now]

    then they fight you, [Linux v Microsoft in this stage]

    then you win. [Obama should know all about this process.]

  91. htom, you have failed to comprehend the argument. The argument is not that this is somehow an impossible or invalid form of organizing, but that this is best described as “astroturfing”, not “grass-roots” organization. Specifically, that this is not how MoveOn organized.

    And they may have have laughed at Ghandi, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

  92. htom:

    if you read this thread, you’d see the link I posted of a video of the guy promoting these things, on fox news, hardly an unfriendly medium, talking about “teabagging the white house.”

    That isn’t an unfriendly label. It’s just moronic. Sorry, blaming mean nasty liberals for that label won’t work, because it isn’t true.

  93. oops, I now see that the Shuster bit was already posted. Sorry guys. :)

  94. um htom? you DO get that the people organizing this have described it as teabagging? and you do know what the terms means, right?

  95. I think that I shall celebrate the day by brewing up some Luzianne iced tea and using it for the purpose for which it was intended: sipping. Too bad I don’t have any mint leaves handy, though. Ah, well….

  96. As a long-time gamer, I was just sat in slack-jawed shock when all these political and editorial types started going on about teabagging. Really, man – please. The thought of fat, sweaty guys *cough* tapping their crouch-button as it were just… gah.

    No. Please. Gah. And I just can’t get past it! Given the voter demographics and the number of people who play computer games, I think the biggest problem for the Republicans in months to come is going to be people bursting into spontaneous sick laughter as the mental image of whoever’s talking starts bobbing up and down on their mind’s eye.

    You just can’t take someone seriously once you’ve got that image wedged into your living brain.

  97. @ 110

    That has been tried, wasn’t allowed.

    @ 124 Linix (actually then Unix) won a long time ago. Lots of equipment with a Windows front end is running Unix in the background.

  98. I don’t have the time to read all 133 responses, so forgive me if this has beens said already.

    Do any of these people realize that the original Boston Tea Party was a protest against a decrease in taxes? Yeah, it’s true. The Tea Act didn’t increase taxes. It was a removal of a tarrif on tea imported to the colonies by the British East India Company. In effect, they were protesting the fact that BEIC could now import higher quality tea at a lower price than the Colonial importers (Such as Sam Adams and John Hanncock) could.

    It was a protest against an early free trade agreement which, as any economist will tell you, is actualy good for the economy in the long run.

    Funny point: Do you know who proposed the Tea Act and helped to write it? Benjamin Franklin

  99. This definition of “teabagging” I was unaware of until yesterday, and I suspect that those using it are either unaware of that meaning or ignoring it.

  100. @134, calling a tax break that was exclusively awarded to a government-approved monopoly “free trade” is a bit of an inaccurate characterization.

    That said, the point about the direction taxes went, and the probability that the teabaggers don’t know that, is well made.

  101. @136, I fully understand your point, and agree with it to an extent, but it’s not neccessarily a bad thing to be a government approved monopoly. As an example, what if there was a tax break that reduced the cost of electricity? The whole purpose of this was to increase tea sales, which makes more money for the EIC, which increases yearly taxes paid to the crown, which help offset the costs of the 7 Years War, which was caused by the Colonies to begin with, (Specificaly by George Washington assasinating a French dipolomat).

    That is obviously a shortened and condensed version intended to make a point, but it still gives one pause to think.

  102. b2108mortars @# 137: Others would claim that the cause of the French and Indian War (which actually lasted 9 years here in the Colonies) was the French building forts in the Ohio Country (including the destruction of Fort Prince George), to which the Virginia colonial government felt they had a claim based on their (royal) charter, but we seem to be venturing rather far afield from the topic at this point…

  103. You know, I just want to say that Djscman in comment 103was intelligent, accurate, and non-inflammatory.

    ::dies::

  104. Here is the coverage of the Tea Parties from our illustrious media:

    CNN – No Tea party Coverage, Right Wing extremeism on the rise
    Chicago Trib – No Tea party Coverage, Opinions–Anti-Obama tea parties steeped in insanity
    MSNBC – No Tea party Coverage, Report: Downturn fuels right-wing extremists
    NYTimes – No Tea party Coverage
    USAToday – No Tea party Coverage, Most Americans OK with Big Government – for now
    WashingtonPost – Of Tax Day and Tea Parties The Fix | Republicans cast today’s protests as signs of a rebirth of a conservative movement. Chris Cillizza
    LATimes – Marc Cooper: Anti-Obama Taxpayer Tea Parties steeped in insanity, James Rainey: Fox News, MSNBC prejudge ‘tea parties’
    ABCNews – Anti-Tax ‘Tea Parties’ Protest President Obama’s Tax and Spending Policies
    Protests Against President Obama’s Tax a Test of Conservative Online Organizing
    By RICK KLEIN and KATE BARRETT
    CBS – Tax Day Brings Out “Tea Party” Protesters Protests Planned Across Country Against Government Taxation And Spending As Some Question Whether Movement Has Been Co-Opted

    Not too biased! Good thing the DHS report was leaked yesterday or else the Liberal media wouldn’t have anything with which to scare its readers. Why can’t they just cover the news? Why is it always about their agenda?

  105. @rw,17

    Hate to break it to you but this “grassroots movement” was planned all the way back in August in the event that Obama won and raised taxes.

    Quoting one of my favorite characters, “It’s a trick…get an axe.”

    @rw, 26

    Another reality check – the reason why Bush’s federal deficit was so low was because he did not, once, factor the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into the national budget. He paid for them by emergency spending legislation he put through congress separate from the national budget. What you are seeing is a good picture of what the war actually costs our nation.

    @Stefan, 29

    One can only hope. *Sings* Cthulhu ftaghn…what a wonderful phrase…

  106. Xopher, you have to admire the agility of the doublethink there. If the Evil Librul Media doesn’t prominently put teabaggers on the front page, they’re burying the stories. If they do put teabaggers on the front page, they..um…they….they’re biased! Yeah!

  107. Two things: Obama campaigned against the Bush deficit and promised a net spending cut if elected.

    Once elected, his budget doubles the previous deficit (I don’t believe any of Bush’s single year deficits wer more than 500 billion and Obama’s is more than 1 trillion). Two campaign promises broken for the price of one!

    The Tea Parties harken back to the American Revolution tax protests and the reason they are happening now is we can see what is going to have to happen if Obama continues: Massive tax hikes in future years.

  108. @Brian

    What you say is conditionally true on whether or not you factor in the cost of the war during those years. As I pointed out earlier, Bush never added the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars into his budgets; it was funded by Congressional legislation for “emergency spending”.

    So, if you don’t factor it in, then yes, you are correct.
    If you do factor it in, it isn’t that much higher.

  109. Oh, it’s higher (lower on this graph, which is showing deficits, including Bush’s “emergency spendings”.) I’m disgusted at both sides.

    Graph showing deficits

    (Link goes to the Heritage Foundation’s presentation, which has comments — the newspaper who created the graph and collected the data either did not or closed them or has problems, in any case not there; there is a link to their story.)

    Not having the actual numbers, it looks like Obama is going to equal Bush’s total deficit in his first year. Definitely going to far exceed it.

  110. This Tea PArty phenomenon started way before Fox or Beck got a hold of it.

    It is real and there are some real concerns.

    And if anything a 3rd party might arise out of this rather than a Republican up surge.

  111. @htom

    Again, this says nothing about the cost of the Iraq or Afghanistan war. You keep wanting to argue about deficit, which is fine; however, Obama has included the cost of the wars in his deficit where Bush did not. Your graphs do not factor that in.

    Additionally, I’d like to see some information from a neutral source please; the Heritage Foundation is not what one might call “unbiased”.

  112. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives. This is about the basic math of giving away more than half of your money. In California, if you make over $250,000, here is your breakdown:
    - 33% = Federal
    - 9.3% = California State Tax
    - 9.5% = CA/San Francisco sales tax
    51.8% = your tax burden.

    That’s right, they pay more in taxes than they get to keep. So people in this group work from January 1 through June 30 before they make a penny for their families. And that is BEFORE any property tax, business tax, or any other kind of tax. And this is AFTER the “Bush tax cuts,” so that extra 3% Obama is considering will take them to just under a 55% tax burden.

    Some of the liberals on this thread choose to demonize people for protesting, or mistakenly assume taxes and spending were “okay” when Bush was in office. Those things weren’t okay then, and they weren’t okay now.

    Protesting high tax rates is not endorsing the Iraq war. That’s an absurd ad hominem argument and you belittle both yourselves and your targets by making it.

  113. Protesting high tax rates is not endorsing the Iraq war. That’s an absurd ad hominem argument and you belittle both yourselves and your targets by making it.

    …I wasn’t saying that protesting high tax rates was endorsing the Iraq war (I assume you were speaking to me because you didn’t say you were speaking to anyone else).

    What I was saying is that many people have been complaining about how high Obama’s deficit is versus Bush, that it’s twice again or more as high as Bush’s. My argument to that is that Bush never accounted the wars we’re engaged in when constructing the federal budget; it was left out of it completely and funded by “emergency” legislation.

    No one who is complaining about the deficit is taking that difference into account: Bush spent, between 2001 and 2008, somewhere around $850 billion (some places I read figured it was that much in 2007 or 2008). That cost was never added into his deficits.

    So yes, Obama’s deficit is much higher than Bush’s, because he’s adding that cost in that Bush left off the books.

  114. Scott, your numbers don’t add up—because you can’t just add those numbers.

    First, your state taxes are a deduction on your Federal return. So your income for federal purposes would be reduced by the amount paid to California.

    Second, taxes are graduated. That means that if you’re in a 33% bracket, the Feds don’t take 33% of your total income—they take 33% of the amount of your income that’s above a certain level. The amounts below that level are taxed at various lower rates.

    Third, putting CA/SF sales tax in there is flatly absurd; it assumes not only that you never buy anything outside of San Francisco (online, for example), but that you spend 100% of your after-tax income on taxable goods, which assumes that, for example, none of it went for mortgage interest. This strikes me as quite unlikely for anyone, much less a person making more than $250,000.

    So no, your hypothetical San Franciscan does NOT pay more in taxes than they get to keep. It’s not even close.

  115. Xopher – great points, thanks. Since you seeem to have a better grip on taxes than I, what percetage DOES someone making more than. $250k make? Say, a married couple, no house, no kids?

  116. CBO pdf

    Bloomberg

    Yahoo

    More than that, you’ll have to follow links yourself. Google helps. The problem with socialism (I forget who I’m quoting) is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.

  117. Matt, the CBO did add the emergency spending into Bush’s figures in the chart I’ve linked to. You’re welcome not to believe that, of course, but please supply some rational reason that I should believe your assertion over the CBO’s publication.

  118. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives. This is about the basic math of giving away more than half of your money. In California, if you make over $250,000, here is your breakdown: … That’s right, they pay more in taxes than they get to keep.

    No they don’t. You’re confusing headline rates with actual marginal tax rates.

    They don’t pay 33% on their entire income, they pay 33% on the portion of their income above the threadhold ($150K for singles, $180K for married – if I read the table right, crap table though…) below that they pay tax at different rates for different income levels.

    CA state taxes are the same, only the 9.3% kicks in at $47K, with different bands down to 1% under that.

    For the sales tax, as I understand it, you can offset your state sales tax against your Federal Taxes on most purchases – at least that’s what friends who live in CA do.

    Secondly, the sales tax is a consumption tax, if you aren’t spending the money, you aren’t paying it.

    Then you have mortgage interest tax relief, which on a $250K mortgage is going to be a non-trivial lump of cash.

    SO the actual marginal rate paid by your hypothetical $250K wage earner is actually much lower than 50%.

    Finally. Stop thinking about the percentages and think about what it means in cash terms.

    $250K a year is about $13,500 a month take home pay after taxes and before deductions for mortgages, dependents and kids, at least it is here in WA. In CA you can cut that down to $12,250(ish). If you’ve a half million mortgage you can probably add back in about $1500 or so.

    So before spending your tax rate is actually about 34%.

    So, ask yourself, would you struggle to live on $13K a month?

  119. Scott @# 152: You are making at least three fundamental errors.

    First, you are confusing marginal rates with actual rates. If you make $250k, your marginal federal tax rate is 33%. However, income up to $8,025 is taxed at 10%; income between $8,025 and $78,850 at 25%; and income between $78,850 and $164,550 at 28%. Only the income above $164,550 is taxed at 33%. So doing a bit of math, your total federal tax would be (tickety tickety tick) $68,250.75, for an overall tax rate of 27.3%, not 33%.

    Similarly with California state taxes; the 9.3% rate is the marginal rate on income above $47,056. There are 5 cutoffs for lower marginal rate; again, doing the math, $250k of net income yields a CA state income tax of $20.945.63, for an overall tax rate of 8.38%, not 9.3%.

    Second, you are being imprecise in your terminology by using the phrase “make over $250,000″. These tax figures apply if you have ordinary net income above $250,000. That $21k in state taxes you paid last year? Deductible. The mortgage interest and property tax you’re paying on the $750k San Francisco townhouse? Deductible. The $10k you gave to your favorite charities because you’re a good person? Deductible. Capital gains held more than one year? Not ordinary income — taxed at 15%. Chances are most people who “make $250k” in salary, bonuses, business income and the like have a net income more on the order of $200k or less, even without any extraordinary effort in tax managing their investments. So that lowers their taxes, and lowers their actual tax rate to more like 21% federal and 6.5% state.

    Third, you’re conflating sales tax and income tax. You only pay sales tax on the money you spend, not on the money you make. The $75k you put into the mortgage and taxes and association fees on that $750k townhouse? No sales tax. The $25k you invest each year (because clearly you are conservative in your finances and save at least 10% of your net income)? No sales tax. Groceries? No sales tax. Chances are, at $250k of gross income, you’re probably paying sales tax on about $100k – so you’re spending about $9,300 on sales tax, or about 3.7% of your gross income.

    In fairness, you left out FICA and Medicare taxes: 6.2% of the first $102,000, and 1.45% of all earnings, respectively, for a total of $9,949, or another 4% of your gross income.

    When I add all that up, I get a total tax burden of about 35.2%. That’s right, they get to keep almost twice as much as they pay in taxes.

  120. Scott, I think Daveon has a better handle than I do. I know the principles but not the details.

  121. Scott has acknowledged that his calculations were not correct. I have no authority to demand this, so I will ask: could we not pile on him, please?

  122. “One man held a sign saying, ‘Where’s the birth certificate?,’ an apparent reference to rumors — deemed false by the state of Hawaii — that Obama was not born in the U.S.” – Denver Post story on the Teabaggers here in the Mile High City.

    When you’re merrily including wingnuts like this in the group, is it any wonder that you can’t get people to take you seriously?

  123. Since you seeem to have a better grip on taxes than I, what percetage DOES someone making more than. $250k make? Say, a married couple, no house, no kids?

    No house is unlikely. But let’s assume they’re an ex-pat like me, renting a place, no kids. Let’s assume an income in the $270K ballpark.

    That’s about $14,600 a month take home after with-holding for federal taxes. So that’s about 35% marginal rate. Adding back in the CA State tax, I get back up to about 43% marginal tax rate.

    Which would be a take home in the region of $13,000 a month.

    A single person, living in the Bay Area with no home is going to be paying circa $2500-$4000 rent, for a nice place, which leaves them with circa $8,000 a month in disposable income.

    Let’s say they spend a $1000 a week on food, entertainment, drinking, eating etc… and another $1000 a month on their expensive car.

    What do you want them to do with the other $6K?

    Here’s another question.

    Would you rather be that person paying a 43% marginal tax rate and taking home $13K a month, or paying a lot lower taxes and taking home $5K?

  124. Hey, if your nuts were on your wings, you’d be a little crazy too. I mean, you can fly, but it frelling hurts.

  125. Piling on not intended, just crossposted.

    Back of the envelope: Assume a married couple, each of which makes $125k in ordinary income, no house, no kids, no other deductions that make itemizing worth more than taking the standard deduction of $10,300, and a personal exemption of $3500 each, which is about as worst-case as you can get, gives a federal tax of $55,619, for an effective tax rate of 22.25%.

    I don’t know the CA rules for deductions and exemptions, but if you assume the same net income, the CA income tax is $17,060, for a tax rate of 6.8%.

    FICA and Medicare doubles because each earner pays it individually, so that’s $18,898, or another 8%.

    Total income tax burden is about 37%.

    IANA Tax Accountant; these are just back-of-the-envelope numbers. Your mileage may vary.

  126. Real Estate taxes may be deductible to lower your Federal tax liability, but lets face it – you at some point paid a real estate tax. So what are real estate taxes on that $750k San Francisco townhouse in the example?

    Taxes on the utilites (especially phone services), taxes on the gas for the vehicles, tolls, and on and on….

  127. Also, I’m sure someone has pointed this out before, but if you take money from the rich and give it to the poor—even in an absolutely revenue-neutral way, so the Fed doesn’t have any more or less money after than before—it improves the economy.

    Why? Because rich people save their money and poor people spend it. Give rich people a tax break and all you improve is their savings account; give the same break (in total revenue terms) to poor people and they spend every cent, and the businesses they spend it with spend it on other things, and it multiplies through the economy.

  128. One of the consequences of “unorganized demonstrations” and freedom of speech is that with them, you get free kooks speaking their own … speech, rather than the unanimous expression of organized single Truth. I don’t bother holding the Unibomber or the Weathermen up as exemplars of the Great Global Warming and Socialist Conspiracy, but understand that you’d prefer to define us by pointing at the kooks who’ve showed up, rather than addressing the actual concerns.

  129. Wouldn’t you get a bigger multiplier effect by the rich putting the money in the bank, where it could be loaned out? (Not an economist, btw, I’m seriously asking.) Or does the spending generate (since that money is deposited in the merchant’s account) the same multiplication?

  130. @156,htom

    Where does it say the CBO did that? I found no mention of the emergency spending legislation in the .pdf you listed nor on the chart you linked to (although, I will admit, that I could be wrong and you could be right).

  131. Give rich people a tax break and all you improve is their savings account;

    Just to head of the neo-classical argument on this one. It used to be argued that the rich would put that money in the bank or in stocks where it could be re-invested and re-used. So even in the bank it was doing good.

    We find the following problems now.

    Banks aren’t lending money to anybody, so the money just sits there looking pretty.

    The stock market isn’t a wise place for anybody with medium amounts of cash to put stuff in unless it’s extremely long term. For the purposes of this discussion, a person with an income of $250K probably should run, screaming, away from equities at this time. Unless you’ve 40+ years to retirement and a strong stomach. The market was never ever designed to be a get rich quick system. It was a way for people and institutions to make better returns _on average_ than they could get elsewhere.

    The other problem. A rich person might spend the money on a nice new car or _thing_. You can bet yourself that the _thing_ especially if it’s a car, isn’t going to lead to the money circulating around the US economy. Let me think, Merc or Caddy?

  132. Well, htom, I think that characterizing what the Teabaggers are on about as “an actual concern” is a bit of a stretch, as it seems to me to be mostly pointless bleating about socialism by people whose taxes are being cut under Obama’s plan, under the lead of those whose taxes are being raised slightly and don’t like it.

    Am I characterizing the entire “movement” by its outliers? Maybe. But I just don’t see the “socialism” or the “fascism” happening, so I don’t really see the outliers as being very far from the center of the curve.

  133. Htom:

    I don’t know what the story is in general, but as far as stimulatory tax cuts go, there is significant research to show that tax cuts targetted at low and middle income earners (and by this I mean around the median wage, not these crazy claims that people who earn 150 grand are salt-of-the-earth middle class wtf? That’s RICH) has a quicker and larger stimulatory effect. Because if you’re struggling to make ends meet, you spend your tax cut. If you’re not, you often save it. Hell, I just got a tax cut (not in america), and every cent has gone in the bank. Not very stimulatory of me. Maybe I’m an economic traitor or something.

  134. The CBO’s Glossary doesn’t exactly define “total outlay”, but reading a half-dozen of the terms seems to be saying that they are attempting to capture all government expenditure and receipt, regardless of the authority or sourcing involved.

    So maybe they didn’t. Perhaps somewhere in the story’s comments (which seem to have come back on-line, but are now closed) newspaper story authors elaborate on what was counted.

    The Director of the CBO has a blog where he elaborates on some of their publications. Doesn’t have comments, though. Probably one of the wiser things I’ve seen a government official do, in some ways, even though I wish he’d detail a staffer to answering reasonable questions that could be raised there (what’s reasonable? ummm, that’s not reasonable!)

    I’m close to retirement, and have no idea where you all seem to have gotten the notion that the market was some kind of free money machine. Well, actually, I do, having made and lost several fortunes before I came to my senses and listened to my elders about the differences between trading and investing. If you treat the market like a lottery, it will do the same.

  135. Daveon, Xopher, thanks for the info. Highly educational to a math-tard like me. And a bonus thank you for presenting it factually, without the partisan douchiness that seems so prevalent on the net — from BOTH sides of the political spectrum. Appreciated!

    Still, 38% seems like “enough,” if not “too damn much.” So you don’t work until July to make your first dollar for your family — you work until mid-May. Add in the extra 3%, I think that gets us almost into June.

  136. Scott, I hear what you’re saying but I’ll be honest you can’t look at it like that.

    You do have money coming in. If you’re a no kids, household making $250K+ you’re going to have more money than you can easily spend, unless you’re really really really out of control on spending – in which case you’d have the same problems at 0% tax too.

    I realized a long time ago that there was a level of money I wanted to do the things I want: buy a house, have a nice car, have savings, cool “things”, nice meals out when I want them, somebody to clean the house for me etc… Once you identify that level of take home cash, your tax rate is largely immaterial. The important thing is having enough left over cash every month for the lifestyle you want for your family and anything else is, as they say where I come from, gravy.

    I certainly do get annoyed about the tax situation in the US. The tax system is complicated and for what people here pay, the return is crap.

    There’s no sane transportation system. The roads and road infrastructure is an embarrassment. There’s no universal health care. There’s no subsidized tertiary education. It’s a long list.

    The one silver lining in the stimulus stuff is that the US needs the money spending badly. Especially on roads and rail.

  137. Daveon – while I tend to agree with you, alas, for many people, “the wealthy” is defined as “those making at least 10% more than I do,” and spending expands to consume all available income.

    Scott – one part I agree with Daveon with is that the view “you work until May before you earn the first dollar for your family” is a red herring. If the same two-income, no kids couple was making $35k per year, after a $10k standard deduction and $7k in personal exemptions their income tax would be 12.8% of income, plus another 7.6% for FICA and Medicare. They’d start “earning money they can keep” in mid-March as opposed to some time in May. Except what they’re “keeping” by that measure is less than $3k per month, instead of the $20k per month gross of the couple earning $250k. Personally, I’d rather be saddled with giving 37% of my $250k income to the government than have the privilege of keeping 80% of my $35k income.

  138. If I read it correctly, Xopher, it’s worse.

    To be allowed to put 9.5% tax directly into the “add together” list, he has to be spending 100% of his *pre-tax* income on taxable goods in California. Actually, I might be wrong here – it looks like he has to be putting out 109.5% of his pre-tax income.

    Makes $100K (yes, that’s low, multiply all the numbers by 3, then). Let’s say, just for a lark, that he does pay 33+9.3% = 45% (give or take) federal+CA. He spends absolutely the rest of it on sales-tax eligible stuff.

    $55K goes out, for $50,200 worth of goods (again, give or take), and $4800 in sales tax. That works out to 4.8%. So, we’re still under 50%, and that’s with the numbers in his favour. Of course, if he spends enough of it driving his Hummer out to boozeups while chainsmoking (tobacco, of course, the other stuff isn’t sales-tax-eligible), then the gas and sin taxes (that he’s paying sales tax on – gotta love that) could push him over the limit.

    Real numbers, assuming no marginal tax rate, deductions on the gross, deductions of federal tax on state-tax-eligible income, etc., gets him $52694.06 in *goods*.

    That wonderful addition needs to meet the “only work 1 day a year, and you want it off?” joke.

  139. Argh, more crossposting, sorry, didn’t mean to pile on.

    The other way you could look at it is that after mid-April – tax day, give or take, really – you don’t pay *a single cent in taxes*.

    I don’t like paying my taxes – especially as RevCan seem to have me on the auto-audit list. And it’s more than you have in California, by a fair margin. But I do like roads, streets I can walk at night, oh, and I’m sure that I’ll never finish paying for that month I spent in the hospital (that the government paid for, and which managed, after 20 years, to turn me into a functioning adult member of society). We could use some more “people paid enough not to take bribes when it comes to checking our water supply, meat processing factories, environmental regulations, other stuff I can’t pick off the top of my head”, really (although most of those problems weren’t from bribery, they were from governments cutting costs by letting the industries do their own testing, and not bothering to audit).

  140. @DG Lewis: and spending expands to consume all available income.

    Well, ok, there does lie the rub. Part of the problem now is that spending increased to consume available income and then people started spending money that wasn’t income i.e. home equity – which was fine as long as you had equity and the _magic_ continued to build it. When the _magic_ wore off, suddenly the 52″ TV, the boat and the cruise you took don’t look so nice.

    I think there’s definitely room in the school curriculum for a fiscal responsibility module that teaches people about budgets, credit cards and so forth so they understand what they’re getting themselves into. Of course, I can just imagine what the libertarians will say about that one.

    I like to think I’m a relatively clever guy. I have a good job, I make a very good living. I struggle with a lot of the stuff that is expected of the average citizen in the US. It’s almost like a class system where only people with money are allowed to have it.

  141. Scott, I’m wondering why are you are so excited about that tiny slice of the population making $250K or more (even in Bay Area dollars). Those people, for the most part, are not the ones who are getting bitten by taxes. Far more people have to struggle to get by on $25K. And they have kids. Why aren’t you worrying about their income?

  142. But those people have low taxes already. What’s one more transit cut, sales tax increase, or cut to medicare? They can just earn more, right? They’re only earning that little because they’re lazy, right? [/sarcasm]

  143. Most schools in my area do have a personal finance requirement for graduation. The effectiveness varies, however. Require the class in the 10th grade (when I had to take it), and most of the students will have forgotten anything learned in it because it’s not ‘real’ for them yet. Catch them last term thier senior year, well, that can grab thier attention! My son is working on personal finance now in school (we think he might just graduate this year!). He came home one day recently, and asked us ‘hey, do you know you can’t afford to live on minimum wage?’. This lead into a great family discussion on finances, the concept of roommates, the need for further education, etc. He now occationally lectures US on ‘wasteful spending’. This usually involves things that are of no immediate benefit to him :P

    Now that I think about it, many of these protestors remind me of my son – complaining about money being spent on things that ‘they’ don’t immediately benefit from. Shortsighted at best, utterly selfish at worst.

  144. Another point to make: One of the biggest reasons for the projected deficits is not because the budget has increased by such a massive rate(last year was 3.1 trillion, this is 3.5 trillion, and the latter factors the war in as opposed to the former). The biggest reason for the deficit is the lack of tax revenue flowing in because of the weak economy. Less economic activity means less tax revenue and therefore higher deficits.

    This is why even using absurd accounting tricks the Republican alternate budget also ran high deficits for the foreseeable future.

    The key number should be debt-to-GDP ratio. During WWII the United States racked up a massive amount of debt. Because the economy boomed in the 40′s and 50′s, we were eventually able to completely pay off all debt from the war and much of the New Deal. Not only that, we were able to completely revitalize Western Europe through the Marshall Plan, which basically amounted to one giant stimulus bill for Europe.

  145. Josh – your xml is malformed.

    Concerning the parties, I think it is great! It would be nice if our representatives and senators would actually read the proposals instead of acting like a lot of people in this country who are like lemmings following their party line. So we end up with StimulusFAIL.

  146. Josh, sarcasm aside, one would think that somebody berating the Great Tax Burden would pick, oh, a middle-class income. Even here in the Bay Area, $250K a year for a no-kids married couple is not “middle class”.

    And of course we’re all assuming that $250K is pure salary, with no income from capital gains or other sources of revenue that aren’t “income”.

  147. What I find promising in all of this is that there is a well developed article on “tea bagging” at Wikipedia. My faith in humanity has been restored.

  148. M. Thyer, it’s best that people understanding T-bagging rather than understanding that the debt maintenence, JUST ON THIS YEARS DEFICIT, will equal about the same as the defence budget?

    Yeah, being introduced to crude phrases is MUCH more important than understanding that tarp 2 and the stimulus themselves will require that we spend about the same about of revenue on maintence of a one year deficit, that we spend on the defense of the nation.

    Remind me to remind everyone that you don’t know what the hell you are talking about, because you want your cut, either in money, or in pride of “caring.”

  149. Gee, I remember, leftist protesters calling Bush all sorts of names, to include, Hitler, Chimp, etc. and parade around with posters of Bush with horns. And what did the “unbiased” media say about them, gee, what brave souls those protesters were, standing up to fascism in our time, speaking truth to power, dissent is patriotic, blah, blah, blah.

    Now, the “unbiased” media is making crude comments and laughing, instead of trying to present what’s going on.

    Yep, nice to see where some people are coming from.

  150. Conservatives pasting Obama’s face on a picture of Hitler have nothing on this guy who did the “George W. Bush as vampire sucking the blood form the corpse of lady liberty.

    Graphic artists and brilliant social satirists seem to lean left since Swift’s day.

    See what I mean?

  151. Hey Scalzi, just curious….when, on the rare occasion when you take your head out of your ass, do you teabag yourself?

    You need to take those big, hairy teabags out of your mouth for a minute and register for an Econ 101 class.

  152. @#195

    Come on, that’s not even trying. A little creativity will do your trolling wonders.

  153. The irony of anyone pro-teabagger condescending to anyone else on the subject of basic economics is pretty amusing, however.

    That said, mister slim is right: That trollage is some weak sauce.

  154. Anyhow, proper tea is made without bags, in a china teapot. I quote Orwell (an *expert* on fascism) on tea:

    First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.

    Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.

    more here.

    Tea bags frequently contain low grade tea. Not that the uncultured sort who show up at these “tea parties” would know. Of course this is for English “black” tea. The varieties of Chinese teas or Japanese teas have their own rituals and mysteries far beyond the barbarians who conduct these protests.

  155. Someone back there wrote:

    “You’d think someone at FOX would tell these knuckleheads what the rest of the world (those deviants among us) defines as ‘tea bagging.’”

    I’d bet anything that Bill O’Reilly, at the very least, knows. And probably Rush Limbaugh.

    I’ve noticed a number of conservatives have gone into high dudgeon over the giggling about this other meaning, protesting that nobody in the teabagging movement knows anything of such perverse behavior or terminology. I doubt it very much. The fact that it has been necessary to explain more than once to our right-wing brethren here that the term was first used by the movement itself, and not its rad-lib critics, is also
    suspicious.

    I’m not bothered by the mudslinging of Obama by the teabaggers *smirk*, for the same reason that one of our right-wing brethren said: libs and the left certainly felt free to throw mud at Bush. (Except that in general, the left has a better understanding of what the terms they use — like “socialism” and “fascism” actually mean, and a better grasp of American political history.) But then, for the teabaggers *snicker* to get all huffy over being mocked is a bit disingenuous, given the mockery the right has always thrown at liberal and left protest movements. The right has certainly never distinguished itself by civility in political discourse, and for its votaries now to demand civility in return is pretty funny in itself. Me, I think that the tea parties should get the same response that the right has always given to left political protests. Item: most Americans view ANY demonstration, however peaceful, as a violent riot. Item: catcalls like “Get a job! Take a bath! Dirty hippies! Move to Russia if you don’t like it here!” should be leveled at the protesters. Their every word should be referred to as “screaming,” “anti-American,” “communist,” “ungodly,” etc., etc.

    By the way, supporters of the tea parties can’t really distance themselves from the nuttier, more “extreme” protesters when they have aligned themselves with, and accepted the endorsement of, a demented right-wing nutjob like anchor baby Michelle Malkin. And yes, the claim that the protesters don’t want social services founders when (at least) one of the tea parties turns out to have been organized by a welfare queen who pays no taxes, and now pretends to drape herself in the flag while screaming her America-hatred in the streets. (See? Cheap red-baiting, like cheap populism, is oddly arousing, and somewhat habit-forming. Try some today.)

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