Archive for May 6th, 2010

Amazingly, it was published in the Washington Post. I have to confess, though, that I didn’t find it. I’m in the Cayman Islands for a conference and Jim Miller (Ronald Reagan’s second-term Budget Director and a great American) included it in his presentation. Needless to say, I swiped it from him so I could share with you.

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I realize that public opinion polls are quirky and that answers often depend on how questions are phrased. Nonetheless, these results seem very strong.

As reported on the Bankrupting America website, there is more than three-to-one opposition against a value-added tax:

Voters think a value added tax, or VAT, is a bad idea for America. Respondents were asked which of the following statements they agree with: A value added tax is a good idea. It could raise billions of dollars in new revenue for the federal government, reduce the federal deficit without raising income taxes, and would be paid only by people who purchase certain products. [or] A value added tax is a bad idea for America. It would be a massive hidden tax that would not appear on a bill, it would increase the price of almost everything, it would be paid primarily by the middle class, and it would hurt our economic recovery. Voters think a VAT is a bad idea by 67 to 21 percent, including 53 to 31 percent among Democrats, 67 to 19 percent among Independents, and 82 to 12 percent among Republicans.

And the Rasmussen website shows more than four-in-five voters say the deficit exists because of too much spending and nearly six-in-ten recognize that new taxes would simply lead to new spending:

Only 18% of Americans are willing to pay higher taxes to lower the federal budget deficit, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Sixty-nine percent (69%) are not willing to have their taxes raised to deal with deficits that are projected to rise to historic levels over the next decade. Thirteen percent (13%) more are not sure. …Eighty-three percent (83%) of Americans say the size of the federal budget deficit is due more to the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending than to the reluctance of taxpayers to pay more in taxes. Sixty-six percent (66%) of Americans already believe the country is overtaxed… Even if the president and Congress raise taxes to reduce the federal deficit, 58% of voters think they are more likely to spend the money on new government programs.

Last but not least, here are Rasmussen results showing voters recognize that higher taxes and higher spending hurt economic performance:

3* Do tax cuts help the economy, hurt the economy, or have no impact on the economy?

57% Help
19% Hurt
12% No impact
12% Not sure

4* Do increases in government spending help the economy, hurt the economy, or have no impact on the economy?

25% Help
56% Hurt
9% No impact
9% Not sure

5* Do decreases in government spending help the economy, hurt the economy, or have no impact on the economy?

52% Help
25% Hurt
11% No impact
11% Not sure

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Here’s a blurb from a Wall Street Journal Editorial this morning. It seems a high tax rate is leading to less revenue. When will the politicians finally learn?

What do you do about a tax that costs jobs and raises little money? Florida lawmakers have been pondering that question in relation to the 6% registration tax for owning a boat in the Sunshine State. If you buy a $1 million boat and register it in Florida, you currently pay $60,000 in sales taxes. If you buy the same boat and register it in another coastal state like North Carolina, you pay a maximum of $1,500, in South Carolina $500, and in Rhode Island $600. Even more common is to register the boat in a nearby foreign nation like the Cayman Islands, where you pay close to zero tax. So to refloat the boat business, the Florida House voted last Wednesday to cap the boat sales tax at $18,000. This is roughly the amount of legal costs to register a yacht in the Caymans. Opponents call the repeal a tax cut for the leisure class, and the state’s official revenue estimators predict it will cost $1.4 million a year in lost revenue. This ignores some basic math: Collecting $18,000 per yacht beats getting nothing. …An estimated eight in 10 expensive boats in Florida are registered somewhere else, mostly abroad, and a boating industry study estimates this costs the state $120 million in lost revenue. …This tale is reminiscent of the 10% luxury tax on yachts costing more than $100,000 that Congress passed in 1990. That tax, also passed in the name of social justice, nearly ruined the boat-building industry in states like Florida and Maine, because the rich went to the Bahamas and elsewhere to buy their boats until Congress repealed the yacht tax in 1993.

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