MacIver Defense of Tax Foundation Just More Right Wing Backscratching

The right wing water cooler was abuzz this week over the effrontery of the Institute for Wisconsin’€™s Future.

IWF, one of Wisconsin’€™s few think tanks that doesn’€™t hock regressive tax policy, was criticizing the Tax Foundation for a garbage tax plan that would stick it to the middle class in the name of more George Bush tax policies that benefit the rich and corporations.Well, the right wing MacIver ‘€œInstitute’€ was having none of that and issued a terse press release that breathlessly tries to give IWF the proverbial ‘€œwhat for.’€

But considering the Tax Foundation’€™s conservative tax ideas and the ties both MacIver and the Tax Foundation have to Americans for Prosperity, it’€™s unsurprising. After all, the right wing sticks up for its army of conservative tax organizations, whether it’€™s the Tax Foundation, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute or the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

Americans for Prosperity, you probably know, is the big oil-funded group behind the anti-health insurance reform ‘€œRepublican Rallies for Failure.’€

Both MacIver and the Tax Foundation are allied with Americans for Prosperity. MacIver was founded by a group including indicted former GOP speaker Scott Jensen and Americans for Prosperity head Mark Block. The Tax Foundation was listed as a ‘€˜Silver Sponsor’€™ of the Americans for Prosperity’€™s October national ‘€œDefending the Dream’€ summit in Virginia.

The conservative Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance President Todd Berry similarly spoke at Americans for Prosperity’€™s Wisconsin ‘€œDefending the Dream’€ summit that included a speaking slate of leading Wisconsin elected Republicans, as well as former John McCain human prop Samuel ‘€œJoe the Plumber’€ Wurzelbacher.

You can tell a lot about an organization by the company it keeps.

Groups like the Tax Foundation and the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance pretend to be independent from right wing outfits like MacIver and Americans for Prosperity, but they attend their events and all share the same talking points.

As One Wisconsin Now’€™s research previously showed, over 90 percent of political candidate giving by the board of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance went to Republican or conservative candidates. This rate was even higher than the giving by the state’€™s biggest corporate lobby, the Wisconsin Manufactures and Commerce.

That’€™s how it works. ‘€œIndependent’€ groups like the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance and the Tax Foundation push out research that reinforces the notion that we’€™re all over-taxed. Then groups like MacIver argue these we need across-the-board tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthiest one percent. And then WMC hires an army of lobbyists to pick away at the tax code and prey on conservative elected officials to pass laws in ways that only benefit WMC’€™s corporate interests.

So yes, when it comes to the massive resources the right wing has to push out conservative tax policy as ‘€œindependent’€ research, it is indeed, a vast right wing conspiracy.

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Scot Ross has served as Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now & the Institute since 2007.