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Yesterday there was a diary entitled The Coming Right-Wing Clash over the "Half That Pay No Taxes." It examined Eric Cantors bogus claim that 50% of Americans pay no taxes.

It was very well researched and well written. It had all the right graphs and figures and historical facts. As wonkish fact loving its great.

As political rhetoric unfortunately its useless.

Join me below the orange squiggle of death for how to effectively end this republican lie.

Let me lay out for you the tactic that the republicans use often, and with great success.

1) Tell a half truth that supposedly fits their BS Randian dystopian vision of America

2) As the liberal is starting to point out the flaws hit them with another BS talking point

3) By this time the target audience is distracted and is to bored, outraged or otherwise preoccupied to find out the truth.

The liberal is correct but the wingnut wins. Engaging this lie directly plays on their turf. You're at an immediate disadvantage because you have to spend all sorts of time and energy explaining the truth while the other guy is hammering away on other stuff.

There's a better way to fight this kind of lie. Embrace it. Redirect it. And turn it back on its owner. Here's an example of a discussion with a right winger.

Mr Wingnut: "We also know that over 45 percent of the people in this country don’t pay income taxes at all, and we have to question whether that’s fair. And should we broaden the base in a way that we can lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes."

Mr Progress: "I couldn't agree more. We absolutely must broaden the tax base."

Mr Progress has embraced the half truth.
Mr Progress: "It's simply unacceptable that nearly 50% of the hardworking people of this great nation arent even paid enough money to be able to afford federal income taxes.
Redirect. From tax rates to income levels.
Mr Progress: "I agree with Mr. Wingnut that congress should do everything it's power to help people at these lower income levels move up into the middle and upper class"

Mr. Wingnut: " Umm well"

Now stick the knife
Mr Progress: " We should increase the minimum wage to a living wage so that these people can pay their fair share of taxes. We should invest in affordable higher education so they can get higher paying jobs. We should support the formation of unions to keep good honest jobs with fair wages. These things will increase income levels and broaden the tax base as Mr. Wingnut suggested."
Now Mr. Wingnut is on the defensive. He has to explain that what he wanted was to increase taxes on the poor not to raise income levels. Of course now he can't say that. Mr. Wingnut either shows himself to be the sociopathic jerk he is or get into the weeds to try and show the audience a better way to increase income levels.

Wonkish diaries are great. The facts are great. Use them. But don't forget the jujitsu.  

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