Summary of Lecture 7: Shifting Goalposts: The Anti-Tax Movement

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00:00:00 - 01:00:00

This lecture discusses the anti-tax movement and how it has shifted over the years. The movement is well-organized and resourced, with a focus on winning over lawmakers and the public. However, there are numerous potential sources of conflict within the coalition, and some members are difficult to manage due to conflicts of interest.

  • 00:00:00 The Daily Show discuss how the anti-tax movement is successful because it is simple and absolutist. They also discuss how Reagan raised taxes, and George Washington lost the Battle of New York. Grover Norquist is a pivotal player in the class, and they discuss the anti-tax movement's agenda, which includes revisiting the origins of the movement and looking at 1994 as a pivot point. They discuss the repeal of the estate tax, which was supported by Democrats despite the fact that it is paid mostly by the wealthy.
  • 00:05:00 The lecture discusses the origins of the anti-tax movement, which goes back to the early 1970s. The Heritage Foundation and other conservative think tanks played a significant role in this movement by researching and campaigning for pro-market policies. In 1978, Proposition 13 was passed in California, which reduced the tax rate on property owners to 1%. This movement has had a significant impact on American politics, with important consequences for the economy and the welfare state.
  • 00:10:00 Proposition 13 is an amendment to the California Constitution that would limit the amount of property taxes that can be charged to homeowners, and it is thought to be about as much a vote against big, expensive, wasteful government as it is against the property tax. The passage of Proposition 13 will result in huge tax cuts for all California tax payers, and Governor Jerry Brown appeal to voters to rise above partisan temptations and work together to fashion a bill that keeps faith with fiscal realities and with the mood and philosophy of the people.
  • 00:15:00 The speaker discusses the logic of referendums and voter initiatives, highlighting the paradox of how the British public voted to leave the European Union in 2016 but elected a parliament that was more pro-remain in 2017.
  • 00:20:00 The speaker discusses how referendum politics, which relies on voting on a single issue, can lead to people discounting their preferences in order to make the choice easier. He provides an example of how this can happen with the estate tax, where people may not want to lose prescription drug benefits for seniors, even if it means reducing the tax burden on the wealthy.
  • 00:25:00 The video discusses how the anti-tax movement, led by Newt Gingrich, became powerful in Washington using the tactic of framing an issue as a single issue, and how this tactic eventually led to George HW Bush's defeat in 1992.
  • 00:30:00 The repeal of the estate tax was a bipartisan effort that began with candidate George Bush's election campaign and was one of the principle components of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act.
  • 00:35:00 This lecture discusses the history and effects of the 2001 Republican tax bill, which was designed to eliminate the estate tax. The bill failed to pass the Senate due to opposition from the minority party, and required reconciliation – a procedure that only requires a majority vote – in order to be passed. Dynamic scoring was used to predict the effects of the bill on the economy, but the predictions were largely inaccurate.
  • 00:40:00 Norquist is a conservative strategist who has been working to pass tax cuts, and he is integral to the coalition that successfully pushed the 2010 GOP bill through Congress. The bill would have increased the estate tax threshold and increased the tax rate, but was eventually repealed. Norquist is confident that the bill will be re-passed, and he is focused on making sure that it is.
  • 00:45:00 This lecture discusses the anti-tax movement and its key players. Frank Blethen, Bob Johnson, and Albert Wynn are all discussed for their involvement in the anti-estate tax movement. Wynn argues that the tax is bad for African Americans because it will lead to the demise of family-owned newspapers and small businesses, while Johnson believes that the tax is unnecessary and will burden the poor.
  • 00:50:00 The speaker discusses how various entities teamed up to pass the repeal of the death tax, with the ultimate goal of making life difficult for any politician who voted against it. He also interviews a politician who supported the repeal, despite the fact that he knew it would not cost him electorally.
  • 00:55:00 The speaker discusses how the anti-tax movement has shifted over the years, with different groups being more or less vocal in their opposition to taxes. He also mentions how the anti-tax movement was well-organized and resourced, with a focus on winning over lawmakers and the public with sound strategy. However, he says that there were numerous potential sources of conflict within the coalition, and that some members were difficult to manage due to conflicts of interest.

01:00:00 - 01:15:00

The anti-tax movement has been successful in shifting the goal posts for what is considered a tax increase. This has implications for how the government is funded and how spending is prioritized.

  • 01:00:00 The video discusses how the anti-tax movement succeeded in rallying around the goal of total repeal of the death tax. The coalition relied on a moral narrative that argued that the tax was wrong and that multiple people interviewed said they would not accept a better deal because it was a moral cause.
  • 01:05:00 The goal posts have shifted in terms of what is considered a tax increase, and this has implications for the anti-tax movement. Lee Atwater, a Republican strategist, discusses how the tax Cutting, it might seem not to be about money, but listen to Lee Atwater on this topic of tax cuts. He says that the tax cutting agenda is linked to the racial agenda because the notion that is pushed is that most of this money is spent on the undeserving poor. The goal posts have also shifted in terms of how a tax increase is framed, as it now includes everyone.
  • 01:10:00 This lecture discusses the history of the Bush tax cuts, the pros and cons of using budget reconciliation to pass the bill, and the current state of the economy and government spending. The lecture concludes that the Bush tax cuts have not caused the government to shrink, and that the current increase in government spending is due to increased spending on things like guns instead of increased spending on things like infrastructure.
  • 01:15:00 This lecture discusses the anti-tax movement and its effects on government spending. It points out that, while cutting off the supply of money to the government may be politically potent, it has not worked in practice. Instead, we have moved to a world of funding government through debt, which will be paid by people who have yet to be born.

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