How High Can You Stand for Your Taxes to Go?

     If you’re getting a tax refund this year, you’re probably excited. How will you use the money? Save it for a rainy-day pizza party? Upgrade your basic cable TV? If you didn’t get a refund, you’ll especially want to read on.

     Funny how big government has mesmerized us into believing it’s a treat to keep some of our own wages. It’s an illusion they have to protect so they can squeeze out more each year.

     And if we don’t put major pressure on our lawmakers, they’re going to squeeze us for all we’re worth – and then some.

     The president’s tax cuts, which have been shouted down by journalists and politicians who don’t understand economics, are going to expire before we know it. Congress doesn’t have to do one thing. They can keep campaigning and fighting for their pork-filled bills right through 2010, when without any ado, a gigantic tax hike will hit the nation.

     Of course, that’s not exactly the point they’re campaigning on.

     Democrats wouldn’t even go on national television and admit what they’re planning. CNBC’s Melissa Francis was wise to them – she told viewers of the March 15 “On the Money” that “if the Democrats get their way, America’s taxes will jump more than $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years.”

     Francis showed an understanding remarkably rare among journalists: that tax increases will stifle America’s great economy and hurt all classes, including lower-income families.

     Unfortunately, she couldn’t find a single congressional Democrat or garden variety liberal to defend this massive tax hike. The Business & Media Institute noticed the host’s multiple disclaimers to viewers, telling them CNBC tried “all day” to find someone for that night’s show. They even went to left-leaning think tanks, but no one stepped forward.

     The reason is simple. Democrats are hoping no one was watching that night’s show. They’re hoping you’re not reading this column. Because if Americans understood what they want to do, their precious hold on Congress would be threatened.

     Instead, they insist – with the help of scores of journalists – that there is a “war on the middle class.” Everyone thinks he or she is in the middle class, so when Congress offers to protect that group, it sounds comforting.

     Liberals and journalists are fond of telling us that raising taxes is the only way out of scary budget deficits that will be handed down to our children and grandchildren. But Americans don’t buy that argument.

     In a February 2007 PSRA/Pew Research Center poll, people were asked what they thought was the best way to reduce the federal budget deficit. Only 9 percent said tax increases were the best way. A combined 69 percent said they’d rather see government reduce spending. They probably noticed the amazing economic growth this country has seen since the tax cuts went into effect.

     In fact, the American Enterprise Institute’s timely compilation of public opinion on taxes reveals that Americans support tax reform – if only legislators would be honest about their tax reform plans.


     A 2005 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll asked people what they thought “tax reform” meant. Some actually said they thought it meant raising taxes! To some, it sounded like “helping the rich.” The largest group was the 31 percent who said they weren’t sure.

     Americans may not know what all those politicians are talking about – who does? – but they know the tax code is crazy and that they should get to keep more of their own money. A majority are familiar with at least one “reform” proposition. More than half the respondents in a March 2007 Harris/Tax Foundation poll said they’d prefer a flat-rate tax or a national sales tax (like the FairTax) over the current graduated income tax system. 

     I agree with those people who think all the doubletalk about “reform” is too confusing. Besides, whenever the Democrats talk about taxes, they are talking about raising them. Americans don’t want higher taxes. What we need is a simple system where everyone can plainly see – and choose for themselves – how much tax they are paying. The only plan that even comes close to achieving that is the FairTax (

     Well, I don’t think we should talk about tax reform any more. No more tax reform; it’s time for replacement. We need a new system, and that’s the legislation we need to push our representatives to support.

     Whether you got a refund this year or you’re still paying Uncle Sam, you can’t afford to be on the sidelines of this fight.

Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.