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Who's really 'Taxed Enough Already?'

BY ADAM B SULLIVAN | SEPTEMBER 23, 2011 7:20 AM

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It's easy to lean on the platitude that death and taxes are the only certainties. But is it true?

During Thursday night's Fox News/Google debate, moderators asked Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., how much of a person's income a person ought to be allowed to keep.

She used the question, of course, to take a shot at President Obama and said people deserve to keep all the money they earn.

"Barack Obama seems to think that when we earn money, it belongs to him, and we're lucky just to keep a little bit of it," Bachmann said on the stage in Florida.

So does Bachmann go on to call for a repeal of federal income tax?

Nope.

"Obviously, we have to give money back to the government so we can run the government, but we need to have a different mindset," she said.

So Bachmann hates the income tax (it's endorsed by that socialist Barack Obama, after all) but only when Democrats are spending the money; as soon as there's a Republican in office, the income tax is necessary and A-OK by her.

There's a lot about Bachmann's branch of the conservative movement that is disingenuous and ideologically inconsistent, but income tax is perhaps the greatest hypocrisy this caucus season.

Bachmann and other so-called Tea Party conservatives get away with framing the income tax as stealing by the government, but none of them are calling for its abolishment. What's more, she doesn't even have a clear plan to reduce the federal income tax.

Even relatively mainstream Republicans such as Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman, for instance, have plans to decrease the income-tax burden. At the debate on Thursday, Georgia Republican Cain said he'd boot current federal taxes altogether and replace them with a flat 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent corporate tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax.

And former Utah Gov. Huntsman promised not to raise taxes saying, "This is the worst time to be raising taxes, and everybody knows that." Instead, he'd eliminate loopholes and deductions and replace the current tax-level system with just three income tiers.

Then there are the libertarian tax hawks in the race. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson wants to simplify the personal income-tax system and get rid of the corporate tax altogether, opening the possibility of individuals incorporating themselves and living income tax-free. And there's U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who would abolish the income tax, the capital-gains tax, and the death tax altogether.

Yet Bachmann is the candidate called a favorite of the Tea Party — a movement supposedly based on the acronym "Taxed Enough Already." Given her moderate stance on taxation, it looks like the Tea Party picked the wrong darling.


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