Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

TEA Party Economics

by Michael Bindner

Lest we forget, TEA is for Taxed Enough Already, but the question is, are they? We are getting some idea of their basic demographics, but I'm interested in something meatier. Are they, in fact, taxed enough for what they get? (They can also use these questions to look for themselves, but I doubt as a group they are that self-reflective - any members or groups are welcome to prove me wrong by surveying the membership and telling us how it went).

What is the range of their Adjusted Gross Income? What is the range of their taxable income? What is the range of their marginal and effective tax rates?

How many have FHA and VA mortgages? How many have other subsidized mortgages? How many have mortgages owned by Fannie and Freddie? How many are in subsidized housing?

How do they earn their money? How many are military or governmental retirees, current members or reservists? How many work in the defense industry or have worked there? How many get Veteran's Benefits (including free health care with presecriptions that are bought more cheaply because the VA negotiates with drug companies)? How many work building roads or are in some way in the transportation industry (road, rail or air?)

How many work for employers that take advantage of the tax exclusion of health care benefits? How many take the mortgage and property tax deductions? How many take the Child Tax Credit (regular and expanded), energy credit or other credits?

How many have businesses in an industry with special tax breaks (like oil and gas)? How many work for a business that benefits from agricultural inspection programs to make sure that the food they sell is safe? What is the value to them of this service being offered? How many benefit from agricultural subsidies up the supply chain? To what extent does that show up in their employer's or their own bottom line?

Based on their income tax liability, what is their share of the Net Interest expense of the government? (or, if they prefer, their family share based on their average family size).
What is the average benefit from each type of government activity, the total average benefit and how does it compare to their tax burden? Are they "taxed enough already"?

Feel free to add other question or suggest a researcher who might ask them in the comments section.