TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I ♥ Taxes

I Heart Taxes The Harvard Crimson, Website Asks Americans To Love Taxes:

While many political pundits continue to emphasize the public’s frustration with taxation, Vanessa S. Williamson—a graduate student in government and social policy—started a website last August to take the conversation in a new direction. The website, dubbed I Heart Taxes, was created as a way for individuals to showcase their pride in the “patriotic pro-tax movement,” according to Williamson. ...

I Heart Taxes is a combination of a blog providing tax-related commentary with an online store selling merchandise that highlights how tax dollars are used to support government programs. ...

Williamson said the response to her website has been “universally positive.” Government and Sociology Professor Theda R. Skocpol—who is Williamson’s academic advisor—praised the creativity of “I Heart Taxes,” which she said “takes on the tax issue in a humorous way.”

Skocpol and Williamson are currently collaborating on a book that will examine the Tea Party movement, with a focus on the movement’s views on taxation. Skocpol and Williamson’s research has shown that Tea Party members are not as opposed to government benefit programs as is commonly thought, but instead are angry about people they view as less-deserving receiving those benefits.

(Hat Tip: Mary O'Keeffe.)

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Of course the response has been unversally positive.

There is no place to leave comments.

And I bet if she allowed comments, the negative ones would be disappeared.

Posted by: Dr. K | Oct 28, 2010 6:24:25 AM

There's something funny about protax movements. If you enjoy paying more, you are free to do so, and indeed will receive a deduction for additional contributions to government entities in some cases. But these people seem to enjoy it only if others are forced to pay more, as well.

Posted by: mike livingston | Oct 28, 2010 6:41:30 AM

This is beyond bizarre. Does this person love all taxes and all use that government funds are put to? Does she heart UAVs carrying bombs that take out terrorists? Does she like the taxes that have built portions of the wall on the Mexican border that keeps out the undocumented?

The point of the Tea Party and others is the Government wastes money and often supports the wrong projects. Is this the best and the brightest - setting up the straw man that the Tea Party doesn't want to pay ANY taxes.

This is not intelligent dialogue - it is truly a sophomoric attempt at humor by someone looking down on unwashed Tea Partiers. Good grief.

Posted by: Ed D | Oct 28, 2010 6:44:47 AM

If it's so patriotic to pay taxes, then why do people like Tim Geithner and John Kerry do so much to cheat on them?

Tax Foundation:
Why Biden's "It's Patriotic for Wealthy to Pay More in Taxes" Comment Doesn't Really Make Sense"

If Joe Biden was in public finance 101, he would get an F for his statement made this morning about taxation.

Apparently, the Tax Foundation must be wrong, as what is accepted at Harvard from its graduate students is not the same.

May I presume that the ".org" designation of this student's website doesn't imply that she's a "non-profit," and may I also presume that she'll pay income taxes and self-employment taxes, on her entire sales without claiming any business deductions? After all, look at the programs that she would kill by trying to pay the correct tax rather than the maximum tax. A "patriot" should do no less.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 28, 2010 9:03:03 AM

This Harvard research may explain a few things.

Scientists Find 'Liberal Gene'
Study conducted by researchers at UCSD, Harvard

I'm all for paying more taxes for genetic manipulation studies to end this mutant gene.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 28, 2010 9:22:39 AM

The comments are amazing and instructive. All this young person is doing is pointing out that not ALL government is bad and not ALL tax dollars wasted. I think it is a point that needs making. I notice that for all of the yelling and hysteria on the Right since Obama has been elected we have not seen people in the Tea Party arguing against spending tax dollars on the military, prisons, police, border security, government contracts for arms dealers, tax breaks for churches or whatever their particular hobby horse happens to be. We have watched the Right for more than a generation make "cutting taxes" the end all and be all of social policy and yet to see the result of those cuts deliver the "goods" as promised. I will vote for the first Republican who stands up for fiscal responsibly and that includes cutting spending and raising taxes to balance the budget and get us stable. But CUT TAXES does not work as a campaign slogan for me when that is all you have.

Posted by: George | Oct 28, 2010 9:36:21 AM

Notice this in their About Us section:

How do you donate to the government?
Good question, and apparently not one that the IRS gets every day. It turns out that you can make a donation to the Treasury Department. So all proceeds from I Heart Taxes merchandise

Notice even these fools make a point that the IRS rarely gets this question! This shows you how little *heart* for taxes there is among the population at large. You can believe the Red Cross gets requests on how to donate every hour of every day. The federal government - not so much.

Posted by: Brian H | Oct 28, 2010 9:57:10 AM

George, I believe that you are wrong in your analysis about the Tea Party, which is not unusual for people who are opposed to it. Tea party supporters are against government waste everywhere, whether it is in the form of inefficiencies or on programs that go beyond the intended purpose of government.

I want a strong a defense, but I want it as inexpensively as practical. I want reliable prisons, but I don't want to toss buckets of money at overpaid union prison guards. I want good schools, but we've found that higher taxes for jacking up teacher salaries and for ridiculous social programs haven't resulted in improving education or preparing students for jobs. I want good medical care, but the private sector was more effective than what we're now learning about a complete government takeover.

People opposed to fiscal conservatives resent that conservatives demand fiscal accountability and that they get in the way of liberal programs pushing for bigger government and control over lives of individuals. Excuse me and others for trying to be responsible, for demanding accountability, and for appreciating the freedoms that are the foundation of our nation.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 28, 2010 10:33:09 AM


If you love taxes so much, would you be so kind as to pay mine?

Posted by: Dr. K | Oct 28, 2010 10:42:20 AM

WWII Video: It's Patriotic to Pay Taxes

Posted by: Woody | Oct 28, 2010 11:43:24 AM

Dr K, you should pay your own taxes. There is no free lunch and no reason you should get one. I pay mine and I want you to pay yours. And a moratorium on whining about them would be nice.

Woody, I am a fiscal conservative and have been for 40 years before it was suddenly fashionable. I am fully informed about the Tea Party. If they were all William Proxmire style government efficiency promoters it would be nice but it is wrong to not own all of the actions of people calling themselves Tea Partiers. Media creatures like Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and various fellow travelers in the Tea Party movement have been attacking more than just government waste. I would be more impressed if they were this vocal when George Bush was flushing billions down the drain in Iraq and digging us into a fiscal hole. But it seems it is only Democratic waste that bothers them. And I have not heard much insightful analysis about fiscal options from them just a lot of the anti-tax, starve the beast rhetoric. Any sane talk of fiscal responsibility must address tax policy and address it in a more thoughtful way than just to say "Cut Taxes". If I remember correctly it was Bill Clinton who left office with a surplus in the treasury. And I am going to guess that he is not that popular with the Tea Party.

Posted by: George | Oct 28, 2010 4:03:35 PM

George, I can appreciate your critique of Tea Partiers, because you didn't resort to the desperate tact of liberals to label them as racists.

I think that most of them, and myself, were outraged when Bush wouldn't veto big spending bills, but it was the Democrats and Obama that pushed them past the tipping point.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 28, 2010 8:56:16 PM


All I'm saying is that if you love taxes so much, you are welcome to the rush of endorphins you get when you pay mine.

You are almost right though - the tax system has devolved into a huge wealth transfer program. What will all of the refundable credits given to people on the low end of the scale and the burden of the AMT. Too many residents do not have any skin in the game. So if you agree to stop whining that the rich don't pay their fair share, I'll stop whining that taxes are too damn high.

The problem is not that taxes are too low. Spending is far too high.

Posted by: Dr. K | Oct 29, 2010 5:19:36 AM