Senators McCain, Lieberman & Graham have no idea what they are doing re Lybia says Firenze Sage

Senators McCain, Lieberman and Graham sink America in another war in the middle east. Obama incompetent. McCain, Lieberman and Graham have no idea what they are doing. Idiots!

comments from Firenze Sage on article: The Senators Sway
from National Review Online by Andrew L. McCartney April 2, 2011

Do these idiots — Senators McCain, Lieberman and Graham — have any idea of what they are doing?

Obama is astoundingly incompetent.
Who did we ditch Mubarack for? How about another Islamic state. Who are the Libyan rebels? Islamic al Queda. Hillary thinks the Saville suited barbarian running Syria is “a reformer”. Yemen is going fast. And on it goes while Obama is thinking of his next Cairo speech.

article from National Review Online titled: The Senators Sway

Before they wanted to kill Qaddafi, they were celebrating in his tent.John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham are the Senate’s most energetic proponents of sinking the nation ever deeper into the Libyan morass.

In a joint interview on Fox last weekend, Senators McCain (R., Ariz.) and Lieberman (I., Conn.) were breathless in their rendering of the “freedom fighters” and the “Arab Spring” of spontaneous “democracy.” Friday they upped the ante with a Wall Street Journal op-ed, rehearsing yet again what an incorrigible thug Qaddafi is and how “we cannot allow [him] to consolidate his grip” on parts of Libya that he still controls.

For his part, Senator Graham (R., S.C.) told CNN Wednesday that he would like President Obama to designate Qaddafi an “unlawful enemy combatant” with an eye toward legitimizing the strongman’s assassination. He and Wolf Blitzer discussed whether the hit could be pulled off by the covert intelligence operatives President Obama has inserted in Libya. The next day, in his plaintive questioning of Defense Secretary Robert Gates at a Senate hearing, Senator Graham wondered why American air power could not just “drop a bomb on him, to end this thing.”

As a matter of law, Graham’s proposal is ludicrous — no small thanks to federal law that Graham himself helped write, about which more in an upcoming column. What was especially striking about the hearing was the tone of righteous indignation Senators Graham and McCain took in whipping the Obama administration over government blundering.

But what about their own blundering? The senators most strident about the purported need to oust Qaddafi, to crush his armed forces, and to kill him if that’s what it takes to empower the rebels, are the very senators who helped fortify Qaddafi’s military and tighten the despotic grip of which they now despair.

It was only a short time ago, in mid-August 2009, that Senators McCain, Lieberman, and Graham, along with another transnational progressive moderate, Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), paid a visit to Qaddafi’s Tripoli compound. If they seem to have amnesia about it now, perhaps that’s because the main item on the agenda was their support for the Obama administration’s offer of military aid to the same thug the senators now want gone yesterday.

A government cable (leaked by Wikileaks) memorializes the excruciating details of meetings between the Senate delegation and Qaddafi, along with his son Mutassim, Libya’s “national security adviser.” We find McCain and Graham promising to use their influence to push along Libya’s requests for C-130 military aircraft, among other armaments, and civilian nuclear assistance. And there’s Lieberman gushing, “We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi.” That’s before he opined that Libya had become “an important ally in the war on terrorism,” and that “common enemies sometimes make better friends.”

On and on it goes, made all the more nauseating by the reality that nobody was under any illusion that Qaddafi had truly reformed. McCain made a point of telling the press that “the status of human rights and political reform in Libya will remain a chief element of concern.” Note the gentle diplomatic understatement: Qaddafi is — and was, as McCain well knew — a savage autocrat. Yet this brute fact was softened into “an element of concern” regarding “the status of human rights and political reform.” Pretty sharp contrast from the senator’s sardonic grilling of the U.S. defense secretary on Thursday. The McCain who was face-to-face with Qaddafi was very different from the McCain who today rails about Qaddafi. Back in the tent, none of his concern would dampen the cozy mood. The Arizonan swooned over “the many ways in which the United States and Libya can work together as partners.”

The above article is from the National Review Online by Andrew C. McCartney titled The Seantors Sway. Comments on the article are by the Firenze Sage.

Perhaps Tea Party Patriots hamstrung from robust politcal speech because its a 501c3 charity?

Why give money to a 501c4 charity such as the Tea Party Patriots if they cannot engage in “robust” political speech such as telling President Obama to leave the oval office ASAP and go back to doing a job for which he has competence — not politics, not as President, not as a lawyer, not teaching constitutional law.

Nationally, the Tea Party Patriots is organized a a 501c4 charitable organization. Which means (??) certain regulations apply as to what political activity the Tea Party Patriots can engage in. For sure, taking educating the publicc as to the deficit and taking a stand for reduction of the federal deficit should be OK activities. However — as a 501c3 organized as a charitable organization — The Tea Party Patriots cannot have a bias for or against any individual political campaign. That means the Tea Party Patriots cannot oppose Obama’s 2012 campaign.

So as not to run into the IRE of the IRS, perhaps it’s best that 2-3 families on every block in America organize their individual Block Tea Parties — without any formal mechanism.

Political speech is one of the most protected forms of speech. But, probably political speech — for example, that ObamaCare as preached by President Obama is about as transparent as the Obama and Pelosi are (“we must vote for it so we know what’s in it) is political speech that a 501c3 cannot engage in.

So, is it smart to give money to the Tea Party Patriots when they cannot fully engage in “robust” political speech? Like, telling President Obama, get out of the Oval office and go back to doing whatever you can do for a job! Below are some contact numbers for the Tea Party Patriots. Maybe they have other ideas how to do robust speech against President Obama himself. Remember Rush Limbaugh when he said, “I hope he fails!” Yes I want the Tea Parties activists to say something like that.

Your Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Team,
Debbie Dooley, Jenny Beth Martin, Mark Meckler, Sally Oljar, Diana Reimer, and Dawn Wildman

TPP Support email:
TPP Support phone number: 404-593-0877

Jenny Beth Martin (, Twitter @jennybethm, Facebook)
Dawn Wildman (
Mark Meckler (
Debbie Dooley (

Tea Party Patriots, Inc. operates as a social welfare organization organized under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to Tea Party Patriots, Inc. are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes.
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Obama lauds internationalism why Libya. Let’s give Obama internationalism according to Tea Party views…

Cut deficit by tieing money for Libya to 1) move Gitmo to Libyan NATO base paid for by NATO and de-fund ObamaCare (now spending $150K) and two regulatory agencies, the for ever there EPA and the newly created Consumer Protection agency.

Obama lauds “international support” why America must support the “no-war” effort in Libya. Let’s give Obama “internationalism” in spades using Tea Party goals.

Require that Congress tie money for Libya to: 1) Gitmo moves to a Libyan NATO base paid entirely by NATO; 2) de-fund two regulatory agencies, the newly created Consumer Protection agency and the for-ever there EPA.

Place both agencies under the authority of Agency for International Development/ Libya with goals that EPA only clean up Libyan air and water and Consumer Protection only create middle class credit mechanisms for Libya.

It is in our national interest that our democratic, pro-Western European allies get cheap electricity from Libya. And since the costs of Gitmo arise from 9/11 it is well and good that NATO pay for Gitmo. And since many of the terrorists in Gitmo are from the Middle East, it’s cheaper to house them there.

What say you?

Egypt needs rule by law so “underground” economy becomes legal and needs to reduce govt employees to less than 15% rather than 33% so private sector flourishes and there is economic freedom.

How best to aide Egypt? Most of Egypt’s businesses are underground — they have no title to their land and cannot raise capital or use modern methods such as creating partnerships and corporations.

So, first of all, set up a way for the Egyptian “underground” economy of 7 million to take a lawful position with the 5 million that have title, can get loans and can create corporations. That would create freedom and give people who have been “illegal” to become legal in their own country.

Second, require Mubarak to divulge half of his fortune of supposedly 700 billion in return for safe passage after elections. Use the money as a fund to encourage small businesses. Have as a goal the creation of a Silicon valley of high technology using the wealth that the Egyptian regime took form the Egyptian people over the last 30 years.

Third, change the percentage in Egypt of public to private sector employees. In Egypt, about 1 in 3 workers is a government worker. Reduce the percent of government workers to lower than 15 percent. In contrast, in Turkey — which is booming — only 13% are government workers.

The U.S. has a decrepit, expensive government post office that continually raises rates. In contrast the FED EX and other private companies that move mail are competitive and thriving. So, figure out ways to introduce competition to what government provides in Egypt with the goal to privatize services currently run by the government.

Fourth, ensure that Egyptian women have equality to run for office, borrow money, go to schools and universities, wear clothing that they choose and religious freedom and freedom of speech.

The streets of Cairo are filled with young men. No women are in the streets demonstrating. Or very few. When a country protects women and ensures that those who give birth also can demonstrate safely in the streets, get loans, vote and pray then society will have greater stability, more happiness and peace.

In contrast to what Obama wants — more “change” for young Egyptians so they can become a some sort of democracy — America will do better to promote Egyptian economic freedom and the rule by law for the protection of all.

Most importantly, let’s do all we can to stop the growth of the Muslim Brotherhood and the practise of sharria law. Muslim political ideology opposes the basic tenets of any free society. Egypt cannot be free if run by Muslim extremists.

Fortunately there was an uprising against a mosque near Ground Zero in New York. Increasingly there is more opposition to Muslim extremists in Europe and Great Britain. What say you? written by

Aptos psychologist: Power of the purse is a mighty force. Congress cuts off money to move Gitmo war detainees to U.S. soil. Americans can stop buying Chinese goods to support freedom of speech in China….

Let’s stop buying goods made in China? That’s one way to protest the eleven year prison term for the Chinese poet/ literary critic Liu Xiaobo for supporting free speech. Let’s use our freedom not to buy from China, a country which bolsters North Korea and in turn helps Iran go nuclear. The same week that the Nobel Prize was awarded to Chinese poet/ literary critic Liu Xiaobo China gave an award to the person who shot the students at Tiananiman Square years ago. And they jailed Liu Xiaobo’s wife so she could not receive the award for him.

“China, we are often told, is America’s greatest rival, destined to overtake the U.S. as the world’s preeminent military and economic powerhouse, if it hasn’t already. But how to square this forecast of a glorious Chinese future with the pathetic reality on display this week – that of a rising superpower cowering before one man?

“The man in question is of course Liu Xiaobo, the jailed dissident who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this week in absentia. A poet and literary critic, Liu is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for “subversion.” His crime? He is the co-author of “Charter 08,” an appeal for non-violent political and human-rights reform inside China.

It’s a testament to the inherent instability of China’s authoritarian system that it considers a 54-year old poet such a grave threat. In anticipation of Liu’s award this week, the Chinese government blocked news stations like BBC and CNN from broadcasting and shut down websites. Police stepped up repression against dissidents, tightening controls on protest. Special care was taken to isolate Liu’s relatives, who might have received the award on his behalf. His wife, Liu Xia, is reportedly being kept under house arrest. The result was that the Nobel Prize was not handed out for the first time in 74 years. An empty chair and a photograph of Liu were the lone signs of the honoree’s presence.

Yet the symbolism of Liu’s forced absence was powerful enough. For all of its much-hyped technological progress, modern China cannot abide a man who posts his opinions on the internet. Despite its massive military buildup, the country must marshal its forces to silence the supporters of a man who preaches non-violence. Even as it aspires to be a major player in international affairs, China treats a single prize as a mortal challenge to its global might. If this is a glimpse of the Chinese future, it is a revealing one.

It is rare that the Nobel Prize committee exhibits moral clarity. All too often it has bestowed the honor on either those who did not actually deserve it (Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore) or on those who made a mockery of its underlying principles (Yaser Arafat). In Liu Xiaobo, the committee has found a worthy recipient, a point creditably conceded by President Obama, who observed that Liu was “far more deserving of this award than I was.”

Locked in his prison cell, Liu Xiaobo did not get a chance to deliver his message about the internal weakness of China’s political system. But in their determination to keep him silent, Liu’s oppressors made the point for him. Until he can walk free, China’s self-assured claims to global leadership must be dismissed as mere posturing.

It’s time to cut 90,000 govt earmarks and save $16 billion …? Yes!

How to immediately cut 16+ BILLION dollars from the federal government? The new, Republican controlled Congress passes a bill that cuts out all pork — no more “ear marks”. Time to permanently stop the exchange of favors, the wink and the nod, the backroom deals.

Many people would like to win the lottery. The winner gets 1-12 million dollars. A million dollars is a lot of money to most people. How many millions does it take to make one billion?

From my perspective saving ONE billion dollars would be terrific. Cutting out pork will save 16 billion dollars.

The double whammy to no more pork is that the 16+ BILLION not spent on pork stays home in local communities. We the People decide – not the government making decisions for us.

The growth of pork has been enormous and it’s time to stop all pork. In 1987 President Reagen vetoed a spending bill because there were 121 earmarks in the bill. Last year there were 90,000 earmarks passed by Congress.

Earmark Myths and Realities
November 10, 2010
By Sen. Tom Coburn

As Senate Republicans prepare to vote on an earmark moratorium, I would encourage my colleagues to consider four myths and four realities of the debate.

Myths of the earmark debate:

1. Eliminating earmarks does not actually save any money

This argument has serious logical inconsistencies. The fact is earmarks do spend real money. If they didn’t spend money, why defend them? Stopping an activity that spends money does result in less spending. It’s that simple. For instance, Congress spent $16.1 billion on pork in Fiscal Year 2010. If Congress does not do earmarks in 2011, we could save $16.1 billion. In no way is Congress locked into to shifting that $16.1 billion to other programs unless it wants to.

2. Earmarks represent a very tiny portion of the federal budget and eliminating them would do little to reduce the deficit

It’s true that earmarks themselves represent a tiny portion of the budget, but a small rudder can help steer a big ship, which is why I’ve long described earmarks as the gateway drug to spending addiction in Washington. No one can deny that earmarks like the Cornhusker Kickback have been used to push through extremely costly and onerous bills. Plus, senators know that as the number of earmarks has exploded so has overall spending. In the past decade, the size of government has doubled while Congress approved more than 90,000 earmarks.

Earmarks were rare until recently. In 1987, President Reagan vetoed a spending bill because it contained 121 earmarks. Eliminating earmarks will not balance the budget overnight, but it is an important step toward getting spending under control.

3. Earmarking is about whose discretion it is to make spending decisions. Do elected members of Congress decide how taxes are spent, or do unelected bureaucrats and Obama administration officials?

It’s true that this is a debate about discretion, but some in Congress are confused about discretion among whom. This is not a struggle between the executive branch and Congress but between the American people and Washington. Do the American people have the right to spend their own money and keep local decisions at the local level or does the federal government know best? Earmarks are a Washington-knows-best solution. An earmark ban would tell the American people that Congress gets it. After all, it’s their money, not ours.

An earmark moratorium would not result in Congress giving up one iota of its spending power. In any event, Republicans should be fighting over how to cut government spending, not how to divide it up.

4. The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility and authority to earmark

Nowhere does the Constitution give Congress the authority to do earmarks. The concept of earmarking appears nowhere in the enumerated powers or anywhere else in the Constitution. The so-called “constitutional” argument earmarks is from the same school of constitutional interpretation that led Elena Kagan to admit that Congress had the authority to tell the American people to eat their fruits and vegetables every day. That school, which says Congress can do whatever it wants, gave us an expansive Commerce Clause, Obamacare, and a widespread belief among members of Congress that the “power of the purse” is the power to pork.

Earmark defenders are fond of quoting Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution which says, “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” They also refer to James Madison’s power of the purse commentary in Federalist 58. Madison said the “power of the purse may, in fact, be the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people.”

Yet, earmark proponents ignore the rest of the Constitution and our founders’ clear intent to limit the power of Congress. If the founders wanted Congress to earmark funds to specific recipients, micromanage American society, and ride roughshod over state and local government they would have given Congress that authority in the enumerated powers. They clearly did not.

Our founders anticipated earmark-style power grabs from Congress and spoke against such excess for the ages. James Madison, the father of the Constitution said, “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, spoke directly against federally-funded local projects. “[I]t will be the source of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get the most who are the meanest.” Jefferson understood that earmarks and coercion would go hand in hand.

Also, if earmarks were a noble constitutional tradition, how did we thrive for 200 years without an earmark favor factory in Congress?

Finally, for those worried about ceding constitutional authority to the executive branch, I would respectfully remind them that the president has zero authority to spend money outside of the authority Congress gives him. The way to hold the executive branch accountable is to spend less and conduct more aggressive oversight. Earmarks are a convoluted way for Congress to try to regain authority they have already ceded to the executive branch through bad legislation. The fact is there is nothing an earmark can do that can’t be done more equitably and openly through a competitive grant process.

Beyond these myths, I would encourage members to consider the following realities.

1. Earmarks are a major distraction

Again, earmarks not only do nothing to hold the executive branch accountable – by out-porking the president – but take Congress’ focus away from the massive amount of waste and inefficiency within federal agencies. In typical years, the number of earmark requests outnumbers oversight hearings held by the Appropriations Committee by a factor of 1,000 to 1. Instead of processing tens of thousands of earmark requests the Senate should increase the number of oversight hearings from a few dozen to hundreds. The amount of time and attention that is devoted to the earmark chase is a scandal waiting to be exposed.

2. This debate is over among the American people and the House GOP

If any policy mandate can be derived from the election it is to spend less money. Eliminating earmarks is the first step on that path. The House GOP has accepted that mandate. The Senate GOP now has to decide whether to ignore not only the American people but their colleagues in the House. The last thing Senate Republicans should be doing is legislative gymnastics to get around the House GOP earmark ban.

3. Earmarking is bad policy

In recent years the conventional wisdom that earmarks create jobs has been turned on its head. The Obama administration’s stimulus bill itself, which is arguably a collection of earmarks approved by Congress, proves this point. Neither Obama’s stimulus nor Republican stimulus – GOP earmarks – is very effective at creating jobs.

Harvard University conducted an extensive study this year of how earmarks impact states. The researchers expected to find that earmarks drive economic growth but found the opposite.

“It was an enormous surprise, at least to us, to learn that the average firm in the chairman’s state did not benefit at all from the unanticipated increase in spending,” said Joshua Coval, one of the study’s authors. The study found that as earmarks increase capital investment and expenditures by private businesses decrease, by 15 percent specifically. In other words, federal pork crowds out private investment and slows job growth. Earmarks are an odd GOP infatuation with failed Keynesian economics that hurts local economies.

Earmarks also crowd out funding for higher-priority items. Transportation earmarks are a good example. Pork projects like the Bridge to Nowhere and bike paths divert funds from higher priority projects according to a 2007 Department of Transportation inspector general report. Thousands of bridges continue to be in disrepair across America in part because Congress has taken its eye off the ball and indulged in parochial spending.

4. Earmarking is bad politics

If the Senate GOP wants to send a signal that they don’t get it and are not listening they can reject an earmark moratorium. For Republicans, earmarks are the ultimate mixed message. We’ll never be trusted to be the party of less spending while we’re rationalizing more spending through earmarks. The long process of restoring fiscal sanity in Washington begins with saying no to pork.

– Sen. Tom Coburn represents the state of Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate.

Aptos, CA psychologist: Tea Parties movement is successful like a bee hive, overwhelming not by by confrontation but by swarming, driving away threat by sheer force of numbers says American Thinker

Time for bees to swarm?

Cameron Jackson

And what is the threat?
An arrogant, self-appointed elite — including Obama, Reid, Pelosi –tells Americans that it is only “fair” to raise the capital gains tax that 100+ million Americans pay.

Do you own stocks? Obama plans to raise capital gains rates to roughly double (28%) what they are. Guess what happens to your dividends? If capital gains rates double, it’s back to beans and hot dogs for lots of stock-owning Americans. Maybe it is time for the bee hive “swarm”?

American Thinker
September 24, 2010
The Organizational Secret of the Tea Parties
By J.R. Dunn
American politics has never seen anything quite like the Tea Parties, though few appreciate the revolutionary organizational principle powering the movement. A major reason why the Tea Parties have been so successful, why the political establishment has found them so difficult to combat (and one that explains, among other things, why I’ve chosen to use the plural in referring to them), lies in their organization.

The Tea Parties comprise a distributed network — a non-hierarchical system of autonomous nodes with no central control point, and with all nodes possessing the same value and freedom to act independently. A distributed network can be compared to a beehive. All the bees know their particular task and complete it autonomously, without directions from a central authority. If a threat appears, the bees overwhelm it not by direct confrontation, but by swarming, driving it away with sheer force of numbers.

Readers with a background in computer tech will recognize the distributed network as the preferred method of organizing computer networks, including the internet itself. Distributed networks are far less vulnerable to breakdowns and intrusions than hierarchical networks. In a hierarchical network, once the control nodes are knocked out, the system is kaput until they are replaced. In a distributed network, the damage is absorbed by the entire system, with the disabled nodes shut down and operations rerouted to working nodes. As we’ve seen with the net, this makes the system nearly invulnerable. (No surprise there — DarpaNet was designed to withstand full-scale nuclear strikes.) Since the net went public, the concept has been adapted in other sectors of society, resulting in similar social and educational networks. It would not be going too far to say that it has become the representative form of organization of the millennial world. As such, it has inevitably found its way into the nation’s political life.

Unlike the internet, the organization of the Tea Parties was generated not by design, but spontaneously. The movement began with a television commentary by Rick Santelli on his Chicago-based CNBC business program. Santelli was extremely critical of Obama administration business policies, and he utilized the 1773 Boston Tea Party as a metaphor in calling for resistance against the administration. Although Santelli was ridiculed in the legacy media, something in his commentary touched a chord with the public. Word of it spread among concerned citizens across the country through the net, Twitter, and Facebook. A video of the show went viral. The political establishment ignored it as yet another empty internet fad.

But it was no such thing. The anxiety and anger exposed by Santelli’s words found an outlet in that summer’s town hall meetings. Long reduced to a method of Rockwellizing an unsavory political establishment, town hall meetings provided an opportunity for politicians to strut in front of constituents, boasting of how many earmarks they’d obtained, how many deals they’d made, how much money was flowing in. The public was expected to listen in quiet gratitude.

But it didn’t work that way in 2009. For the first time in years — decades, in some cases — the voters had real questions, involving the run-amok policies of Obama and his tame Congress. They wanted to know about the TARP bailouts, the payoffs to the banks, the GM expropriation, and particularly about the pending health-care takeover, possibly the most loathed political action of the past fifty years. But the politicians had no answers. Such an onslaught was totally unprecedented, leaving most representatives nonplussed and overwhelmed. The majority fled from the meetings pursued by waves of voter contempt.

The town hall uprising at last attracted media interest. In customary fashion, media figures were less inclined to learn the facts than to wax frivolous. Members of the new movement were dismissed as “teabaggers,” a gay slur introduced by Anderson Cooper. (And a puzzling one — surely, a “teabagger” is the one who performs the act on a submissive partner. Cooper must have known this. Was he making an indirect reference to the status of politicians vis-à-vis the voters?) The legacy media also attempted to tar the movement with accusations of racism, classism, and xenophobia, portraying the members as snaggle-toothed trailer trash manipulated by clever reactionaries. Nancy Pelosi denounced them as astroturfers.

None of it stuck. The Tea Parties continued organizing through early 2010, utilizing innovative infotech methodology. (Thank you, Al Gore!) Conservative media, both traditional and online, offered full support (with a few not unexpected Northeastern exceptions). Astute politicians — Sarah Palin above all — laid down their markers. The passage of ObamaCare in March served to supercharge the movement. The Tea Parties responded with an effort to recruit and support citizen politicians, for the express purpose of turning the American political structure inside-out. As this is being written, the despised and dismissed Tea Parties have become the major factor in the 2010 midterms. They have wrecked the careers of at least five notable GOP figures and threaten perhaps ten times as many Democrats.

All this has come about with no explicit organization, no leadership, no central committees, no manifesto, no charter, no written plan whatsoever. Santelli played no active role after his original exhortation launched the movement. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and other media figures offered support and guidance but in no way acted as ringmasters. The same is true of Sarah Palin, who, while more than a simple figurehead, would likely be the first to admit that she did not act as a leader.

The organization of the Tea Parties, and the effects produced by that organization, are emergent properties, rising out of nowhere with no planning, forethought, or external input, coming into being solely as a result of the exploitation of the available technological substrate by individuals and small groups. And yet this movement has shaken American society and has gone a long way toward overthrowing the reigning political superstructure. This is an astonishing chain of events, one that deserves a lot more analysis than it has yet received.

Military strategists, particularly students of guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency, will recognize the similarities between the Tea Parties and guerrilla forces along with (to be forthright) terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. The concept of the guerrilla force as distributed network was formalized by Mao Tse-Tung in the 1930s, when he sent small units of his Eighth Route Army to live in villages alongside the peasantry to serve as protectors and propagandists for the Maoist version of Marxism. The resulting network acted as a formidable basis for resistance against Nationalist forces. The concept was later adapted and bungled by Che Guevara. The jihadis have attempted to construct an equivalent structure with limited success — you can do only so much with misfits and losers.

The difference is, of course, that the Tea Parties represent democracy in action. Motivation and goals make all the difference. Modern technology allows almost pure democratic activity on an informal basis. The results have been beneficial up until now. We must work to see that they remain so.

I will merely mention that distributed networks have a number of weaknesses, and they can be defeated. I will not go into detail on these matters here.

How will such an informal network convert to a formal political system to replace the innately corrupt kleptocracy that we have today? This, it seems to me, is a necessary evolution to assure that upcoming reforms are not simply shoved aside or undermined once the national political situation returns to normal. This may well turn out to be one of the most profound political questions of our era. It’s not one that’s going to be answered in a single essay.

Or is it conceivable that the distributed network embodied by the Tea Parties could become a political system in and of itself? This is a tantalizing possibility. In ancient Athens, the citizenry met as a whole to decide critical questions. Could such a system return in our day, with the net and Twitter and Facebook replacing the Athenian agora? How would this function in relation to established constitutional principles? How, under such circumstances, do we preserve the safeguards of representative government?

In an insightful scene in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Victor Hugo has an archdeacon look up from a copy of a printed Bible to the cathedral and think, “This will kill that.” And so it happened — mass literacy, cheap books, and the vernacular wrecked, both for good and ill, the closed, hierarchical, yet secure medieval world. Today we look up from our Blackberries and iPods to the Capital, and think the same thing.

And what will come of that?

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker.

Only 40% Muslim Americans believe Arabs responsible for 9/11 … Yes it is time to “reach out” and talk together why many Americans oppose a mosque near Ground Zero?

Cameron Jackson

Did you know that only 40 percent of American Muslims believe that Arabs were responsible for 9/11 attack? The rest — 60%– either said that they did not know or put the blame on Israel or the United States. To check those figures out, see Notes page 346 of God is Not One by Stephen Prothero published 2010.

Remember O.J. and his trial?
Best as I recall, more than 50 percent of Black Americans thought O.J was innocent compared to very different figures for non-Blacks. Is there something comparable going on? Is this the My guy, My Culture,My Hero can do no wrong?

Yes, it does seem time to “reach out” and converse again about 9/11 and why many Americans oppose a mosque 2 blocks from Ground Zero.

Z.J. Hafeez, the first Muslim to run for statewide office in Florida, speaks at UNLV Thursday. Hafeez, who has become a spokesman for the Muslim community, tells fellow Muslims to reach out to others to foster better relations.


Fear and distrust of Muslims has reached a peak not seen since right after 9/
11, and the only way to defeat it is through intensive outreach.

That was the messagee Z.J. Hafeez, a 26-year-old Democratic lawyer who is the first Muslim to run for statewide office in Fl
“Not enough people are speaking up,” Hafeez said. “We need to be vocal. We need to show people who we really are.”

Hafeez, who has lately become something of a spokesman for the Muslim community, presented “Islamophobia 101” to a small group that mostly consisted of students.

The event was sponsored by UNLV’s Muslim Students’ Association.

“It seems like the entire world is talking about Islam in America,” said Fatima Khan, vice president of the group. “This is the time to address people’s concerns and to inform them of the truth.”

Controversy over a proposal to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque near the ground zero site of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City has inflamed anti-Muslim sentiment, Hafeez said. And media attention on a Florida minister’s plan to burn copies of Quran helped perpetuate unfair representations of Islam.

Such attention helps create an “us versus them” mentality, Hafeez said.

“The media is doing a great public disservice by promoting this clash.”

Many politicians have added fuel to the fire instead of speaking up for the rights of Muslims and talking about their teachings of peace, he said.

“Terrorists don’t represent Islam,” he said. But “it’s the extremists whose voices are heard the most” in the media.

“Islam is being hijacked by lunatics,” Hafeez said. “They have tried to steal my religion from me. I say no.”

Hafeez said he learned as a college freshman in 2001, the year of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, that the only way to stop that from happening was to speak out.

“I was the visual representation of the Muslim faith,” he said.

People began asking him questions, and as they learned more from him about Muslims they “began to open up their minds as to what a Muslim was.”

“You should speak up as well,” he told the audience. “We are trying, but we have to try harder. We have to, even though we shouldn’t have to. The solution is these discussions.”

Muslims need to become more involved in their communities, he said, so that the broader community can see Muslims are like everybody else.

They also need to host more events such as the “rally for peace” held on Sept. 11 this year in front of the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse.

The Islamic Society of Nevada organized the rally, which included a prayer vigil for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“We have to come out and demonstrate to people that we are no different than they are in condemning terrorism,” said Aslam Abdullah, the group’s director.

The 9/11 event drew about a hundred people and included members of the interfaith community.

Amin Nash, president of the Muslim Students’ Association, said he would embrace the message Hafeez delivered Thursday.

“The controversies around the nation are showing … people don’t know that much about Islam,” he said. “It’s a Muslim’s duty to educate other people about our religion.”

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis@review

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frank .thompson wrote on September 18, 2010 09:07 PM:
mr. hafeez: when your own “holy book”, the quran, says that it is all right to lie to the infidel to further islam, why should i believe a word you say. allah is an idol, and mohammud was a false prophet. obey acts 2:38

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Cadusha wrote on September 18, 2010 08:15 AM:
Tell me why there is NO muslims speaking out against the terror and telling them to stop. I have not heard one.

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Bob.harris wrote on September 18, 2010 07:19 AM:
He said . “It’s a Muslim’s duty to educate other people about our religion.” Which is exactly what Muslim’s are required to do and that is by any means needed including and up to removing any other opinions, dont be fooled this is not just a religon but a entire way of life

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pmmart wrote on September 18, 2010 07:11 AM:
Z.J. Please explain why the Muslims go into areas and ,while commiting suicide kill innocent men,women and children? Tell us why Muslims think that this action will give them a sure path to heaven? Tell us why no other religion teachs their members this? Tell us why these acts are not due to any race or nationality? Tell us why these aren’t the acts of ‘a few radicals’ but the acts of thousands of Muslim believers against tens of thousands of innocent people including your fellow Muslims? Some of US want to understand!

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TONY wrote on September 18, 2010 06:39 AM:

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Max wrote on September 18, 2010 06:18 AM:
“Come on down and get aquainted at our Mosque. Free bomb belts to all our new guests.”

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ObamaCare burdens small business with onerous paperwork. When Obama offers “help” – run the other way! says Aptos Psychologist

Nancy Pelosi: We have to pass ObamaCare to know what's in it.

Cameron Jackson

One can see why the Tea Party movement keeps on growing. Rather than more efficient, less expensive government we get more expensive government than hinders business from creating new jobs.

Remember the Nancy Pelosi remark about ObamaCare, ‘We have to pass it to know what’s in it.” One thing in ObamaCare is a new requirement that all small businesses must fill out 1099 forms for doing business with anyone over $600. This new paperwork requirement is an onerous burden of time and money — which we can ill afford in today’s economy.

Hard to believe, only 7 Democrats broke from the liberal pack. Harry Reid kept control. This shows the power of the majority to thwart even popular measures.

As a psychologist, my clean-the-office team must get a 1099 once they make over $600.This burden is especially hard on small businesses.

What is a small business? Any business that has fewer than 500 employees. The conventional wisdom is that small businesses are who create the most jobs. In fact, about 40 percent of small businesses fail in the first five years. Job creation in the U.S. is about equally distributed between small (less than 500) and larger (more than 500) employees.

By Ruth Marcus
WASHINGTON — It is taken as gospel among politicians of both parties that small business is the engine of job creation. “We’re starting with small businesses because that’s where most of the new jobs do,” President Obama said earlier this year. “Small businesses are the job generator of America,” echoed Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.

They’re in good company. George W. Bush and John Kerry, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan have all made that claim. Only one problem: These assertions are overblown and simplistic. Take it from a reliable source — the chief economist for the Small Business Administration. “It’s not true,” Zoltan Acs told me when I asked about whether small business is, in fact, the engine of job creation. “It’s half the story.”

Small businesses are job creators; they are also job destroyers, as firms fail. Most startups do: About 40 percent of jobs created by startups are eliminated in the first five years. Meanwhile, established small businesses — your neighborhood dry cleaners — don’t generate many new jobs.

The chief source of small-business job creation comes from a mere handful of firms — the “gazelles,” in the evocative term of economist David Birch — that start small and prosper. The difficulty is that the gazelles among the herd can only been seen in the rear-view mirror.

And existing firms that change with the times and expand are another major source of new jobs, a phenomenon that the bipartisan fetishization of small business studiously ignores.

This conventional wisdom about small business was once revolutionary. About 30 years ago, Birch reported that small businesses were responsible for somewhere between two-thirds and four-fifths of net new jobs (jobs created minus jobs lost).

Later studies support his basic proposition: Small business plays an important, and previously overlooked, role in job creation. But the research suggests that Birch’s numbers are overstated — and that size isn’t all that counts.

This matters because it serves as the basis for key policy decisions. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy must be extended, Republicans argue, because — all together now — small business is the engine of job creation. The small-business bill now pending in the Senate must be passed, Democrats insist, because … you know the chorus.

Except that the sound bite is not accurate. A 2008 paper by David Neumark, Brandon Wall and Junfu Zhang examining all businesses in California between 1992 and 2004, concludes, “Although we still find that small establishments create more jobs, the difference is much smaller than that originally suggested by Birch.” (

Likewise, a study that Acs conducted for the SBA found that “most, if not all, of the growth in employment comes from the 300,000 high-impact firms in the economy over any four-year period. Depending on the time period studied, this is about evenly split between firms with fewer than 500 employees (the SBA definition of small business) and firms with more than 500 employees. Therefore, it would appear that both small and large firms contribute about equally to employment growth.” (

A new paper by economists John C. Haltiwanger, Ron S. Jarmin and Javier Miranda adds another wrinkle to the data: the age of the business. In terms of job creation, younger is better. “Once we control for firm age there is no systematic relationship between firm size and growth,” they write. “Our findings highlight the important role of business startups and young businesses in U.S. job creation.” (

Small business matters — just not as much as, and in more nuanced ways than, politicians proclaim. Indeed, one key difference between this recession and its predecessors is that small business has been hit harder than normal, perhaps because the downturn was driven by turmoil in the financial markets.

Where a typical recession tends to wallop big businesses harder than small ones, this time around “young, small businesses have taken it on the chin more than usual,” Haltiwanger told me.

Can government policy make a difference? Perhaps. If banks are wary of lending, loan guarantees, such as those in the measure now awaiting Senate action, might help startups get launched — and some of these might succeed in creating lasting jobs.

The argument that higher taxes would squelch job creation is far less convincing. The startups that need nurturing aren’t apt to be the ones hit by higher marginal tax rates.

But here’s a suggestion for policymaking about small business. Base it on the facts, not on wishful mythmaking — however bipartisan.

How big were the Bush tax cuts? According to the Treasury Department*, there have been 19 significant federal tax cuts since the end of World War II. Three of them have been passed under the Administration of George W. Bush—the Economic Growth and Tax Reform Reconciliation Act of 2001

In recent years, which Presidents did tax cuts? Answer: 3 Who and how do they compare?

Kennedy, Reagen and Bush did tax cuts.

What surprised me is that Bush, if you add his 3 tax cuts together, comes in close to the winner, President Kennedy. Reagen was lower, 5.3 percent versus over 8% for both Bush and Kennedy.

And this completely surprised me: When Kennedy did tax cuts defense spending defense spending (back in the 1960’s) was a whooping 42 percent of the U.S. budget. Almost half of the U.S. budget went to defense back during the brief 2 year Kennedy Presidency.

With all the rhetoric regarding defense spending on the war in Irac and Afganistan, current defense spending is — quess what — only 17% of the budget. During the Reagen years defense spending was 22% of the budget. Eight years of war in Iraq and Afganistan and yet defense spending as a percent of the budget is lower than during Reagen or Kennedy.

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Comparing the Kennedy, Reagan and Bush Tax Cuts
by William Ahern

Fiscal Fact No. 15

How big were the Bush tax cuts? According to the Treasury Department*, there have been 19 significant federal tax cuts since the end of World War II. Three of them have been passed under the Administration of George W. Bush—the Economic Growth and Tax Reform Reconciliation Act of 2001
In recent years, which Presidents did tax cuts? Answer: 3 Who and how do they compare?

Kennedy, Reagen and Bush did tax cuts.

What surprised me is that Bush, if you add his 3 tax cuts together, comes in close to the winner, President Kennedy. Reagen was lower, 5.3 percent versus over 8% for both Bush and Kennedy.

And this completely surprised me: When Kennedy did tax cuts defense spending defense spending (back in the 1960’s) was a whooping 42 percent of the U.S. budget. Almost half of the U.S. budget went to defense back during the brief 2 year Kennedy Presidency.

With all the rhetoric re defense spending on the war in Irac and Afganistan, current defense spending is — quess what — only 17% of the budget. During the Reagen years defense spending was 22% of the budget.

(EGTRRA), the Job Creation and Workers Assistance Act of 2002 (JCWA), and The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA).

Some taxpayers and policymakers have questioned the size of the Bush tax cut, considering the war costs and projected deficits. Table 1 below compares the 2003 tax cut with Bush’s 2001 and 2002 tax cuts, and with the two largest tax cuts in the post-WW II era—the Kennedy tax cut in 1964, and the Reagan tax cut in 1981. Table 2 compares these historic tax cuts to other federal fiscal priorities at the time.

Table 1. Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush Tax Cuts in Historical Perspective

Tax Legislation Tax Cut in Billions of Current Dollars (a) Tax Cut in Billions of Constant 2003 Dollars Tax Cut as a Percent of National Income (b) Surplus or Deficit (-) as a Percentage of National Income (b)
The Kennedy Tax Cut (Revenue Act of 1964) ($11.50) ($54.90) -1.90% -1.00%
The Reagan Tax Cut (Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981) ($38.30) ($68.70) -1.40% -2.80%
Bush Tax Cuts:

Economic Growth and Tax Reform Reconciliation Act of 2001 ($73.80) ($75.80) -0.80% 1.50%
Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 ($51.20) ($52.00) -0.60% -1.70%
Jobs and Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2003 ($60.80) ($60.80) -0.60% -3.20%
2001, 2002 and 2003 Bush Tax Cuts if Combined in 2003 NA ($188.10) -2.00% –
(a) First year estimate.
(b) National Income as measured by Net National Product.

Source: Joint Committee on Taxation; Tax Foundation

Table 2. Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush Tax Cuts Compared to Other Budget Items

Tax Legislation As a Percent of Federal Budget (a)
Tax Relief Social Security Defense All Other Domestic Spending
The Kennedy Tax Cut (Revenue Act of 1964) 8.80% 12.80% 42.10% 36.30%
The Reagan Tax Cut (Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981) 5.30% 19.50% 22.00% 53.20%
Bush Tax Cuts:

Economic Growth and Tax Reform Reconciliation Act of 2001 3.80% 22.30% 15.80% 58.10%
Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 2.50% 22.10% 16.90% 58.50%
Jobs and Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2003 (Bush/Thomas Proposal as of May 5, 2003) 2.70% 21.70% 17.10% 58.40%

2001, 2002 and 2003 Bush Tax Cuts if Combined in 2003 8.10% 20.50% 16.20% 55.20%
(a) Percentages treat tax relief as if it were a budgetary item.
(b) National Income as measured by Net National Product.

Source: Joint Committee on Taxation; Tax Foundation

Tables 3 and 4 both break down the Bush tax cuts to show the range of benefits. Table 3 is a geographic breakdown, showing how much the citizens of each state have saved in income taxes, in total, per capita and per tax filer. Table 4 breaks down the tax cuts by income class.

Table 3. Size of the Bush Tax Cuts by State, 2000-2004

State 2001 State Tax Liability Percent of U.S. Total Savings From Bush Tax Cuts ($ Billions) 2004 Pop. (estimate, in thousands) Per Capita Savings from Bush Cuts Tax Filers (2003 est.) * Savings Per Tax Filer

Alabama $9,412,417.00 1.00% $3.79 4,527 $836.27 2,015,137 $1,878.83
Alaska 2,136,784.00 0.20% 0.86 654 1,314.44 347,909 2,470.51
Arizona 13,609,239.00 1.50% 5.47 5,727 955.93 2,278,085 2,403.01
Arkansas 5,046,474.00 0.50% 2.03 2,751 737.94 1,183,660 1,714.95
California 125,777,308.00 13.60% 50.59 35,950 1,407.34 15,733,500 3,215.64
Colorado 16,826,868.00 1.80% 6.77 4,646 1,456.83 2,218,466 3,050.99
Connecticut 22,162,504.00 2.40% 8.91 3,502 2,545.35 1,769,126 5,039.07
Delaware 2,723,491.00 0.30% 1.1 829 1,322.23 400,211 2,737.33
Florida 54,187,833.00 5.90% 21.8 17,325 1,258.12 7,935,612 2,746.71
Georgia 23,817,405.00 2.60% 9.58 8,858 1,081.59 3,848,912 2,489.13
Hawaii 3,089,124.00 0.30% 1.24 1,264 983.12 605,529 2,052.07
Idaho 2,665,522.00 0.30% 1.07 1,390 771.11 591,917 1,811.39
Illinois 46,394,662.00 5.00% 18.66 12,736 1,465.27 6,124,277 3,047.22
Indiana 15,936,323.00 1.70% 6.41 6,240 1,027.30 3,002,832 2,134.75
Iowa 6,756,379.00 0.70% 2.72 2,954 919.89 1,429,879 1,900.66
Kansas 7,172,558.00 0.80% 2.89 2,740 1,053.06 1,293,839 2,229.89
Kentucky 8,666,347.00 0.90% 3.49 4,147 840.51 1,848,849 1,885.50
Louisiana 9,499,745.00 1.00% 3.82 4,512 846.97 1,983,686 1,926.33
Maine 3,099,563.00 0.30% 1.25 1,313 949.65 640,934 1,945.26
Maryland 20,635,795.00 2.20% 8.3 5,563 1,492.15 2,712,837 3,059.77
Mass. 31,731,518.00 3.40% 12.76 6,473 1,971.80 3,290,823 3,878.62
Michigan 29,473,770.00 3.20% 11.86 10,132 1,170.09 4,889,114 2,424.91
Minnesota 16,972,843.00 1.80% 6.83 5,111 1,335.78 2,525,155 2,703.69
Mississippi 4,784,752.00 0.50% 1.92 2,903 663.07 1,241,889 1,549.77
Missouri 14,857,762.00 1.60% 5.98 5,746 1,040.06 2,714,372 2,201.78
Montana 1,809,781.00 0.20% 0.73 923 788.7 448,966 1,621.45
Nebraska 4,354,554.00 0.50% 1.75 1,750 1,001.10 856,061 2,046.11
Nevada 7,422,619.00 0.80% 2.99 2,325 1,284.42 1,009,495 2,957.63
New Hampshire 5,118,685.00 0.60% 2.06 1,304 1,578.79 665,863 3,092.18
New Jersey 42,375,704.00 4.60% 17.05 8,708 1,957.36 4,304,520 3,959.89
New Mexico 4,580,918.00 0.50% 1.84 1,894 972.92 770,161 2,392.55
New York 84,835,378.00 9.20% 34.12 19,278 1,770.17 9,077,453 3,759.27
North Carolina 20,534,997.00 2.20% 8.26 8,544 966.76 3,848,408 2,146.37
North Dakota 1,391,591.00 0.20% 0.56 632 885.64 320,455 1,746.77
Ohio 30,596,084.00 3.30% 12.31 11,466 1,073.35 5,900,096 2,085.92
Oklahoma 7,400,592.00 0.80% 2.98 3,537 841.55 1,550,561 1,919.85
Oregon 8,895,806.00 1.00% 3.58 3,607 992 1,653,386 2,164.22
Pennsylvania 37,564,928.00 4.10% 15.11 12,385 1,220.01 6,144,559 2,459.14
Rhode Island 3,293,967.00 0.40% 1.32 1,083 1,223.10 523,296 2,531.99
South Carolina 8,669,661.00 0.90% 3.49 4,198 830.79 1,907,500 1,828.22
South Dakota 1,839,824.00 0.20% 0.74 768 963.86 375,870 1,968.93
Tennessee 14,603,813.00 1.60% 5.87 5,909 994.17 2,716,876 2,162.16
Texas 65,677,771.00 7.10% 26.42 22,515 1,173.36 9,579,599 2,757.79
Utah 4,697,606.00 0.50% 1.89 2,395 789.1 996,844 1,895.57
Vermont 1,691,182.00 0.20% 0.68 623 1,091.87 316,824 2,147.16
Virginia 25,568,904.00 2.80% 10.28 7,475 1,375.96 3,532,773 2,911.30
Washington 21,919,383.00 2.40% 8.82 6,215 1,418.63 2,934,159 3,004.94
West Virginia 3,269,958.00 0.40% 1.32 1,808 727.45 793,642 1,657.33
Wisconsin 15,447,757.00 1.70% 6.21 5,509 1,127.92 2,748,232 2,261.01
Wyoming 1,732,086.00 0.20% 0.7 503 1,384.52 248,872 2,799.52
D.C. 2,807,314.00 0.30% 1.13 562 2,010.74 295,522 3,821.13
U.S. Total $925,537,849.00 100.00% $372.29 293,909 $1,266.70 136,146,541 $2,734.50
* Estimates of individual tax filers from Intuit, Inc.

Source: Tax Foundation Individual Tax Model

Table 4. Before and After the Bush Tax Cuts, by Income Group

Before Bush Tax Cuts After Bush Tax Cuts
Share of Tax Liability Tax Reduction for 2004 Share of Tax Liability Share of Tax Cuts
Bottom 20%, $0 to $14,415 0.50% $1,976,256,511 0.30% 1.20%
Second 20%, $14,415 to $25,499 2.30% $7,177,358,834 1.90% 4.20%
Third 20%, $25,500 to $41,640 5.90% $15,905,120,495 5.20% 9.40%
Fourth 20%, $41,641 to $68,295 12.60% $29,559,373,144 11.60% 17.50%
Top 20%, $68,296 and above 78.70% $114,633,332,724 81.00% 67.70%
Total Tax Liability for all taxpayers 100.00% $169,251,441,709 100.00% 100.00%

Top 20%
Top 20%
First Half of top 10%, $68,296 to $97,685 11.90% $26,272,937,254 11.20% 15.50%
Second Half of Top 10%, $97,685 to $136,162 10.80% $18,560,111,502 10.80% 11.00%
Top 20-5%, $68,296 to $136,162 22.80% $44,833,048,756 22.00% 26.50%
Top 5-1%, $136,163 to $335,474 18.90% $25,482,868,099 19.70% 15.10%
Top 1%, $335,475 and above 37.10% $44,317,415,869 39.30% 26.20%
Total Tax Liability for Top 20% of Taxpayers 78.70% $114,633,332,724 81.00% 67.70%

Source: Tax Foundation Individual Tax Model

Tax Cuts and National Income
Contrasting the size of the tax cuts with national income shows that the Kennedy tax cut, representing 1.9 percent of income, was the single largest first-year tax-cut of the post-WW II era. The Reagan tax cuts represented 1.4 percent of income while none of the Bush tax cut even breaks 1 percent of income. The Kennedy tax cuts would only have been surpassed in size by combining all three Bush tax cuts into a single package.

Tax Cuts and Budget Resources
Comparing the size of these tax cuts with the federal budget shows that the Kennedy’s tax cuts represented 8.8 percent of the budget. In 1981, Reagan’s tax cuts represented 5.3 percent of the budget. Each of Bush’s tax cuts are smaller than Reagan’s—EGTRRA (3.8 percent), JCWA (2.5 percent) and the 2003 Tax Cut (1.8 percent). When the Bush tax cuts are combined (8.1 percent), they would be larger than Reagan’s tax cut, yet smaller than Kennedy’s tax cut.

Tax Cuts and Defense Costs
When the Kennedy tax cuts were enacted, defense spending constituted a whopping 42.1 percent of the federal budget. When President Reagan pushed though his tax cuts, the Pentagon consumed 22 percent of the budget. Today, defense spending consumes just 17.1 percent of the budget—25 percentage points below Kennedy’s defense spending.

Tax Cuts and Deficits
President Kennedy passed his tax cuts as he ran a deficit equaling 1 percent of national income. In 1981, Reagan cut taxes while running a deficit of 2.8 percent of national income. In contrast, Bush passed the largest of his three tax cuts, EGTRAA, in 2001 with a budget surplus of 1.5 percent of income.

Caveats: Comparing Taxes Over Time
Comparing tax legislation over time is tricky. In the 1960s, Congress only calculated how much a tax proposal would save taxpayers in the next year. In the late 1970s, five-year estimates became the norm, and more recently ten-year estimates have been required.

Obviously, no one should compare the dollar amount of a ten-year estimate to a five-year or one-year estimate. Whenever you hear or read that the Bush tax cut in 2001 was “the biggest tax cut ever,” that’s the mistake—it’s like saying an 8-oz. steak costs more now than a 16-oz. steak cost 20 years ago. With two precautions, however, tax legislation can be compared. The first step is to adjust for inflation, and the second is to compare the same number of years.

All tax estimates are published in “current dollars,” without any adjustment for inflation. Since a dollar is worth a lot less now than it was 20 or 40 years ago, all dollar amounts from past estimates must be converted into “constant dollars,” which adjusts for inflation. In the tables below, estimates from years past are converted into constant 2003 dollars. This answers the question: what would the tax cuts of yesteryear be worth today?

Another way to make estimates comparable over time is to measure them as a percentage of the U.S. economy, or as a percentage of the Federal Budget. Since these grow over time, we can get a sense of how big tax cuts of the past were. Keep in mind, though, that because the Kennedy tax cut was “scored” for one year only, we can only compare it to the first year of the other bills. The first year of some bills is unusually large; this is the case with the 2002 tax cut. Other tax bills have relatively small first-year effects.

And finally, one additional warning: these estimates are the predictions made before the tax cuts were passed. No one ever goes back to revise them if things turn out differently. For example, the 2001 Bush tax cut has so far turned out to be smaller than the estimates predicted because recessionary times prevented many people from taking advantage of lower rates. So while the comparison is interesting, and it gives a general idea of how large a tax cut past Presidents and Congresses were willing to consider, it is an exercise fraught with technical difficulties.

* Tempalski, Jerry, “Revenue Effects of Major Tax Bills,” Office of Tax Analysis Working Paper 81, December 1998.

Attached Files
Fiscal Fact No. 15, PDF, 68.7 KB
by William Ahern
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