On a Taxation Survey

I received something absolutely fascinating in the mail today.

A survey from the Heritage Foundation. The right-wing think tank.

They want to know what I think about taxation.

Let’s take a look.

Current plans by President Barack Obama and the liberals in Congress to erase the historic tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 could force you to send more of your money to Washington to pay for new Big Government spending. Your candid answers to these questions are extremely important to helping The Heritage Foundation educate lawmakers in Washington, the national media and your fellow taxpayers on the urgent need to make tax cuts permanent and stop the Washington liberals who want to raise taxes on families, small businesses and senior citizens. Thank you.

Just reading that, I wonder why I got this survey. I thought the Bush tax cuts were insane. Bill Clinton had managed to put the federal budget back into balance after twelve years of Reagan/Bush deficits, and then George W. Bush went, slashed taxes, and spent money like a damned drunken sailor. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire won’t fix Bush’ financial irresponsibilities, but it will at least put the balance sheets back closer.

1. Were you aware that — thanks to a provision in tax law demanded by liberals in Congress — the historic tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 are set to expire, resulting in what the Wall Street Journal has described as “the biggest tax increase in our nation’s history”?

“Yes, Alex, I’ll take Bleeding Obvious for $500.” Of course I was aware that, eight years ago, Congress wisely wrote sunset provisions into the Bush tax cuts.

2. According to recent estimates, if current tax cuts expire, the American people will face an overall tax hike of almost $2.4 trillion. Do you support or oppose this massive tax increase?

To be blunt, I support it. It’s not a tax increase. It’s a tax correction. The last eight years were an exercise in kicking the ball down the field. Now we have to pay for our excesses. This is called “sacrifice.” It’s a word that George W. Bush never heard of.

3. Did you know that if President Obama and the liberals who now control Congress succeed in revoking the 2001/2003 tax cuts, 42 million families with children will see an average tax hike of $2,084?

Okay, this question is biased. Obama and Congress aren’t actively increasing taxes or seeking to revoke the Bush tax cuts. If they do nothing, the tax cuts sunset.

4. It has been estimated that Americans pay some 35 to 40 percent of their earnings each year in federal taxes. Do you believe this level of taxation is too high, too low, or about right?

That statistic sounds wrong to me. I think 35 or 40 is the total taxation at all levels — federal, state, local.

5. Did you know that if current tax cuts expire, an estimated 17 million American seniors will be hit with an average tax increase of $2,034?

I did not know that.

I like how in question three, Obama and Congress have to act to raise taxes, while in this question, the tax cuts expire on their own.

6. Were you aware that if tax cuts are not made permanent, 26 million small business owners will face an average tax increase of $3,637?

Again, I like the semantics here.

7. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the liberals who now control Congress have talked about reinstating the Death Tax — a leading cause of the termination of successful small businesses in America. Reinstating the Death Tax would increase taxes by an estimated $91 billion. Do you support or oppose the Death Tax?

Support. The Republican fears of the estate tax are baffling. Next.

8. The tax relief package of 2001 provided Americans with across-the-board tax rate cuts that are set to expire. If these tax rate cuts are not made permanent, familes will face a tax increase of as much as 100 percent. Do you support or oppose permanently reducing income tax rates?

Oppose.

I thought the Bush tax cuts were stupid. Part of the reason why states like California are in such a financial bind now is that they had to spend money the past several years in areas that the federal government would have.

Why would I support making them permanent?

9. By repealing the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, President Obama and the liberals in Congress would reinstate the Marriage Penalty that forces married couples to pay higher taxes than single taxpayers. Recent Heritage Foundation estimates suggest the marriage penalty punishes 552,262 couples in Maryland. Do you support or oppose the permanent elimination of the marriage penalty?

Okay, I confess that I am not well versed on the intricacies of the “marriage penalty.” I do understand that there is some need for tax code reform there. However, that can still be done separate from letting the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire. We don’t have to extend the Bush tax cuts just to deal with the “marriage penalty.”

Unfortunately, a nuanced answer like this is outside the scope of a “Yes/No/No Frelling Clue” paradigm like the Heritage Foundation uses.

10. Do you support efforts by the Heritage Foundation, through our respected Center for Data Analysis, to provide unbiased analysis of every important tax proposal and report to elected officials, the news media and your fellow taxpayers the real impact of tax cuts and increases on real Americans like you in the Randallstown area and across the nation?

Given the semantic issues — and the continued reference to “the liberals in Congress” — I don’t think the Heritage Foundation can be “unbiased.” Call it a hunch.

Suffice it to say, I’m filling out the survey.

Not sending them money, though.

They could at least have sent me address labels. Even the Chesapeake Bay Foundation sent me address labels today.

Suck on it, Heritage Foundation! :-P

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