Last updated on 2013.03.25
Anyway, in her tax day tear sheet, Intern Noem demonstrates her grasp of taxes, history, and selective statistics:
The non-partisan Tax Foundation estimates that this year, 100% of the income the average American earns from January 1st to April 12th (102 days) will go to pay federal, state, and local taxes for 2011. Therefore, April 12th is considered "Tax Freedom Day," the day on which the average American will start working for anything besides paying his or her taxes.
To put that in historical perspective, Tax Freedom Day in 1910 came on January 19th. Taxes that year were just 5% of a person's income. Today Tax Freedom Day comes several months later and taxes make up more than 27% of an average person's income [Congressional Intern Kristi Noem, "Tax Day Is Nothing to Celebrate," press release, 2011.04.18].
Ah, yes, 1910. The good old days, before we had a standing international military, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, birth control pills, or an Interstate Highway System. Intern Noem is clearly in favor of returning us to 1910 and eliminating at least some of those modern abominations.
But wait a minute: why does Noem take the historical long view here? What practical policy direction do we gain by comparing the largely horse-and-buggy government of 1910 to the modern Leviathan that spans the globe with might, money, and megabytes [I had to work for that one]? Is she trying to tell us life was better before Ronald Reagan was born? (No, no, no!)
The likely answer: Noem's minions looked at the data on "Tax Freedom Day" and found they had to go that far back to throw the rhetorical punch they wanted. According to the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is earlier under President Obama than it was any year under President George W. Bush.
|Tax Freedom Day, 1900–2011|
If Noem compared current tax rates to any year since 1960, she'd have had to say, "Gee, Cory and Rachel are right: our taxes are the lowest they've been in my lifetime. Thanks, President Obama and Democrats!" (Thanks also, says the Tax Foundation, to the recession and changes in tax law.)
Kristi Noem's comparison of our current tax burden to the tax burden in 1910 is specious. She has declared her affection for certain government programs that did not exist in 1910. Noem doesn't really want to return government to 1910 levels. She just wants to pick numbers that make her half-baked arguments look good.
Vaguely related: Actually, 1910 was a pretty good year here in South Dakota. Hamlin County, Noem's home turf, had nearly 1600 more people than it does now. A couple counties south, my beloved Lake County, unlike now, was growing... without any RV tax dodgers.
Also related: Kristi was in Madison today for a "community listening event." Did I miss the invitation to the community to attend?