NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 18, 2010

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has been tasked with proposing a solution to the mounting financial crisis facing the U.S. government.  Federal spending is on track to skyrocket as the population ages and more Americans become eligible for entitlement benefits, which include Medicare and Social Security.  Together, entitlement programs represent a $46 trillion long-term unfunded liability, says Kathryn Nix, a research assistant for the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies. 

Advocates of big government and increased spending embrace higher taxes, such as a value-added tax, to control federal spending.  On the other side are those who think the federal spending has grown too large already, and that spending is currently out of control.  Increasing taxes further than their already-high rates would cripple economic growth, says Nix: 

  • According to a recent poll from Rasmussen, 69 percent of Americans oppose higher taxes as a mode to reduce the deficits.
  • Moreover, when it comes to how we got into this mess in the first place, 83 percent of Americans say the size of the deficit is due to politicians' unwillingness to cut spending, not due to a need for more taxes.
  • In 2009, the Tax Foundation conducted a poll asking whether Americans would be willing to pay their share of the federal deficit, which amounted to $8,798, in order to balance the budget -- 81 percent said no.
  • When asked by Harris Interactive in March 2007 if it was necessary to increase taxes in order to decrease the deficit, 71 percent of Americans said that it was not.  

The stance of the American people is crystal clear, and as in most cases, they are spot-on.  To reduce the deficit, the debt commission should look at ways to reduce spending, not increase taxes, says Nix. 

Source:  Kathryn Nix, "America to Debt Commission: Read Our Lips -- No New Taxes," Heritage Foundation, May 5, 2010. 

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