Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A study in contrasts 

A juxtaposition of a Dane Smith column and certain other items (other items are the unitalicized, with links infra):

Something may be wrong with our education system if so many citizens can confuse the legitimacy of the original Boston "tea party," a tax protest preceding the Revolutionary War against a despotic undemocratic monarchy, and the taxes today that are imposed by the most legitimate, democratic and representative governments the world has ever known.

ACORN, an activist group that turned in 90,000 completed voter registration forms in Clark County for last year's election, violated state law by setting mandatory quotas for workers who canvassed neighborhoods looking for people to register to vote, according to the state attorney general's office.

...Canvassers were required to register at least 20 people a day, and could be fired if they didn't, officials said. ACORN also instituted a bonus program called "blackjack" or "21 plus" in which a worker could earn an extra $5 per shift by registering 21 or more people.

Improvements in civics education might help more people understand at least the possibility of a relationship between taxes and the overall quality of life in society, and the idea of common good.

Thankfully, polls consistently show that most Minnesotans have a reasonable understanding and acceptance of government taxing and spending.

Minnesotans have little taste for higher taxes that would hit most people's pocketbooks, but two-thirds would offer up the wallets of richer folks to help solve the state's budget woes, a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found.

When it comes to a broader increase -- income tax hikes for most Minnesotans -- nearly 60 percent said that would be unacceptable.

Half of the poll respondents said they think the state should use a combination of unspecified tax increases and spending cuts to help erase the state's $4.6 billion deficit, while another 40 percent said the balancing should be achieved primarily through spending cuts alone. Only 4 percent favored squaring the books primarily with tax increases.

"I don't know why people should be punished for being successful," said Sarah Dawdy, 61, a retired business manager in Pequot Lakes. "For me, that's totally against what the free enterprise system is.
...Surveys also have shown that about 60 to 70 percent of Minnesotans favor a balanced approach to our historic $6 billion budget shortfall, or a mix of cuts and reasonable revenue increases. Polls also have shown Minnesotans also support income-tax increases on the top tiers, and especially so if it goes to education and property-tax reductions.
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. 26% of Minnesotans pay no federal income tax, likely also no state income tax.

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