Sunday, March 05, 2006

National Taxpayers Union Questionnaire

The National Taxpayers Union has a survey for Federal Candidates again this year. This questionnaire has 11 questions, which by themselves are not bad questions. However, the questions do not support each other or allow consistent answers. For example:

Question 2. BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO U.S. CONSTITUTION asks if you will support legislation that federal outlays will not exceed federal revenues. Sure I can support this. But then there is question 3.

Question 3. SOCIAL SECURITY CHOICE. This question asks if you recognize social security will default on paying scheduled benefits. That you support “Current retirees and those nearing retirement would not have any change in their Social Security benefits:” at the same time “allow younger workers to have the choice of investing much of their Social Security taxes in regulated individual retirement accounts.” Let us be perfectly clear here. The only money that social security has to spend is your money. If you support paying current and those soon to be beneficiaries, then by default you cannot possibly support private accounts. 95 cents on every dollar collected in SS-OASI taxes is used to pay current beneficiaries with this to end around 2018. Then there is fact social security benefits are based on wages and their future costs rise at the same rate as wages. there present value liability is over $16 Trillion, with assets of just $1.65 Trillion.

Next we have question 4. SPENDING RESTRAINT. Here they ask if you will support a “freeze of total non-defense discretionary spending for at least the first two fiscal years beginning after the 2006 general election.” In 2005 there was a deficit of over $726 Billion in the general budget. If you support question 1 Balanced Budget Amendment, then how can you support freezing non defense discretionary spending? We are talking about severe cuts and the NTU does not recognize this.

Then there is question 5. NO TAX INCREASE. This is similar to question 4 Spending Restraint. Here they ask if you would vote against any tax increase. If you support this and question 1 BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO U.S. CONSTITUTION, then you cannot support freezing current spending. We either have to cut spending and/or raise taxes and here is why. The current interest rate we pay on the national debt is approaching a short term rate of 5%. The effective rate of interest paid on the debt is close to 5.7% if not a bit more. If the growth in the economy does not grow by at least rate paid on the national debt, the national debt will grow relative to the budget. If we were running a foot race, we are falling behind yearly just maintaining current spending.

Question 8. PERMANENT TAX RELIEF, do you support making the tax relief permanent? Again if you support question 2. BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT TO U.S. CONSTITUTION it would be impossible for a candidate to say yes to this question while at thes same supporting 4. SPENDING RESTRAINT.

This questionnaire does not ask the tough questions necessary, but asks questions that are inconsistent with each other. More thought should have been given to the questions asked so that subsequent questions would not lead to contradictions or impossibilities.

The candidate questioner can be found here.

The NTU’s email address is

You can see my draft response at


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