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Quote of the Day: Taxpayer Privacy and IRS Abuse

At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) remains among our most important missions.  Among the abuses that we've chronicled is the case of convicted criminal Charles Littlejohn, who rejoined the IRS in 2017 with the specific purpose of illegally breaching and leaking the private tax returns of Donald Trump and other Americans to radical left-wing organizations like ProPublica.

In The Wall Street Journal this week, one of those victims speaks out on his own experience and the need for greater taxpayer protection against this recurring problem that should terrify all Americans of every political persuasion.  Ira Stoll, whose tax information was passed to ProPublica, even helpfully details how…[more]

May 29, 2024 • 11:28 AM

Liberty Update

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It Wasn’t the Economy, Stupid Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, November 18 2010
While voters didn’t simply blame Obama or Pelosi for the economy, they do blame them for where their substantive policies are taking the economy and the country. That’s why they got hammered.

At least Bill Clinton – no paragon of humility or contrition – could acknowledge that “the era of big government is over” after his 1994 corrective. 

Not Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi, however.  According to them, their electoral “shellacking” merely reflected irrational voter panic about economic conditions. 

That rationalization is demonstrably incorrect.  Moreover, it is yet another condescending insult against judicious American voters, suggesting that they’re little more than tantrum-throwing juveniles who mindlessly lash out whenever they’re unhappy. 

In Obama’s first interview following a lopsided election that saw Republicans recapture the House of Representatives, approach near-parity in the Senate and win more state-level seats than they’ve held since the 1920s, Obama dismissed this as a “referendum on the economy.”  According to him, “The party in power was held responsible for an economy that is still underperforming,” and “If right now we had 5 percent unemployment instead of 9.6 percent unemployment, then people would have more confidence” in him and his policies. 

Well, yes, Mr. President – if your policies were improving economic conditions rather than exacerbating them, then people might actually support them. 

Soon-to-be former Speaker of the House Pelosi (take a moment to savor the ring of that) dismissed voters’ unequivocal message in the same manner.  “We didn’t lose the election because of me,” she said, adding that, “Under any circumstance, when you have 9.5 percent unemployment, any party that cannot turn that into political gain should hang up the gloves.  I said that before the election.” 

The first major flaw in their theory that voters simply acted out in irrational anger against economic conditions is that it contradicts scientific survey data.  In a September 2010 USA Today/Gallup poll, 71 percent of respondents said that former President Bush deserves a moderate or great deal of blame for economic conditions.  And Obama?  Only 48 percent stated that he deserves a moderate or great deal of blame, while 51 percent said that he’s dealing with economic problems he inherited, rather than created.  Other polls show various margins on that question, but none blame Obama in the margins by which voters rejected his agenda. 

The second problem with their alibi is that Americans’ electoral revolt began over a year ago, before Obama had even completed his first year in the White House. 

Namely, when Scott Brown miraculously won Ted Kennedy’s former seat in Massachussetts, Chris Christie defeated incumbent John Corzine to become governor of deep-blue New Jersey and Bob McDonnell won the Virginia race for governor in a state that had elected two consecutive Democratic governors and voted for Obama in 2008.  Those remarkable victories weren’t a “referendum on the economy” or Obama being “held responsible for an economy that is still underperforming.” 

While voters didn’t simply blame Obama or Pelosi for the economy, they do blame them for where their substantive policies are taking the economy and the country.  That’s why they got hammered. 

Take the February 2009 $800 billion “stimulus,” for instance.  Despite explicit White House promises to the contrary, unemployment in the twenty months since passage has not decreased, but increased from 8.2% to 9.6%.  It has stagnated at that rate for three consecutive months now. 

When the “stimulus” was passed, the White House projected that unemployment would top out thirteen months ago at 9%.  Let’s compare that to the twenty months following the effective date of the Reagan tax cuts in January 1983.  In that same twenty-month period, unemployment plummeted from 10.4% to 7.3%.  Similarly, gross domestic product (GDP) has staggered at quarterly rates of -0.7%, +1.6%, +5.0%, +3.7%, +1.7% and +2.0% since the “stimulus.”  In contrast, the six quarters following the Reagan tax cuts came in at robust +5.1%, +9.3%, +8.1%, +8.5%, +8.0% and +7.1% growth.

Voters are intelligent enough to compare where less government and lower taxes took us, versus where more government and higher taxes under Obama are taking us, even if Obama himself is unable to fathom that distinction. 

ObamaCare is the other obvious basis for voters’ resounding message. 

Last March, just before ObamaCare passed by a razor-thin margin following months of toxic acrimony, the American public disapproved of the bill.  At the time, Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the political left assured us that we’d support that monstrosity “once we found out what is in it.”  Instead, opposition has only increased.  As stated by Rasmussen Reports, “The majority of voters have favored repeal in every weekly Rasmussen Reports survey since Democrats passed the law in late March.” 

In other words, it wasn’t just the economy, stupid.  It was where big-government policies are taking the economy and American society.  Stop insulting your own citizens by asserting otherwise, and correct course according to voters’ will. 

Notable Quote   
"Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says Democrats have tipped their hand to their desire to unleash noncitizen voting by opposing his state's citizenship verification in court and he is urging elections chiefs in other states to fight such lawsuits.Georgia's citizenship verification system has prevented noncitizens from getting on state voter rolls, but the state had to defend it in court…[more]
— Natalia Mittelstadt, Just the News
Liberty Poll   

Which would be the most useful for voters: a televised presidential debate that only includes Trump and Biden or one that adds Kennedy?