Around this time every year, people start making all kinds of ideologically motivated claims about taxes. So I thought it might be worthwhile to diffuse a few myths. Let's get right to it:
We're taxed to death! Well, no. In fact, when you look at American tax rates compared to those of other countries, we have extremely low taxes. This graph, using data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, shows that among industrialized countries, we rank near the bottom in taxes paid. It's a little hard to see, but the U.S. is over there on the right, with only the Japanese, Turkish, and Mexicans paying less in taxes than us:
In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank devotes a column to complaining that at the Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama "put on a clinic for some of the world's greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press." The problem, it seems was that there weren't enough sessions open to the media, so they could assemble quotes for their stories.
In the last few years, it's become hard to be a print journalist, with some newspapers going out of business, others mercilessly slashing their newsroom staffs -- there's a general sense of dread around the profession. So what's a reporter to do. "Start a super-successful blog!" sounds great, but it's extraordinarily difficult to do. Everyone is looking for new models for journalists to make a living.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a post here on TAPPED noting that Republican politicians had taken to attacking congressional staff in public. House Minority Leader John Boehner was the most colorful, imploring bankers not to be intimidated by the "little punk staffers" who help write legislation. "It makes you wonder what the people who work for these members of Congress think," I wrote. "Not that members are, as a group, known for caring deeply about the feelings of their staff, but it must be awfully dispiriting to hear your boss talk about you that way."
Last week, I commented on some Republican senators who pretended that you could outlaw denials of health coverage for pre-existing conditions without having an individual mandate by suggesting that they just don't care enough about the policy dilemma to bother making sense. Not so Roy Blunt, a Missouri congressman running for Senate. This is a guy unconcerned with saying what's politically popular (via Think Progress):