I was waiting for the Northern Trust Golf Tournament to come on tv last Saturday, when I happened to see an H & R Block ad like the one below. It got me to thinking about the ambivalent feelings that Americans have toward their tax system.
Fortunately, my interest sparked the interest of my collaborator. Our polling system, so far, is this: I suggest a poll and tell him why, write a few questions to get the ball rolling. I then pass them on to be run through the amazing jfxgillis disgronificater and patisserie catalyzer where they are amplified, massaged, edited, added to and injected with cheek and humor.
The result is that we all get to be entertained while helping to do fake social science research to glean fake data to make real arguments about yet another real burning question of contemporary American life. Jack will add his $1.73 after the poll questions.
We do ask that you please do not click *View Results* before answering the questions.
Thanks and enjoy!
The thing is, everybody hates taxes, but everyone knows that everyone has to pay them. But I don't really mean everyone, I mean like the 94% of us who are outside the bottom 5% or the top 1%. The Great Glob call it. We in the Glob don't really know how to think about taxes. Do we look at the folks higher up the scale in socioeconomic status and feel angry because it looks like they're gaming the system? Or do we look to those lower and feel guilty because to them, it looks like we're gaming the system? Are we?
So we devised this instrument to try to get Globbers to stop for a minute and think about taxes both in principle and in terms of the mundane experience of taxes in the lives of the Great Glob. And for FUN.
When my collaborator suggested we take Taxes as our next theme, I happily agreed in part because the timing's good being Tax Season and in part because one of the tangents that emerged from our first Annual poll a couple of weeks ago was about the tax exemptions granted to religious institutions so I was already thinking about taxes.
That first effort, by the way, was such a resounding success that we're going to try to do one of these annual polls every few weeks. But no guarantees. It's harder than it looks. We decided to publish with comments open this time but we would dearly love to replicate the great thread that grew last time, so we'd like you to think about taxes, think about what the instrument above makes you think about taxes, and then comment.
The quotes in Questions 3 & 4 are genuine, Biden HERE, Holmes HERE, Bastiat HERE and Heinlein HERE. The Tim Geithner tax tale in Question #6 is documented HERE while the Clinton story referenced in Question #8 is HERE. For Question #9, Warren Buffet's tax avoidance is described HERE while the Koch Brothers various tax-exempt schemes are listed HERE. São Tomé and Príncipe is one of the closest countries to the USA that does not have an extradition treaty and it really is Girl Scout Cookie week.