Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Surveys Show Tax Hike Acceptable

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Surveys Show Tax Hike Acceptable

Article excerpt

By forces only dimly understood, Americans are said to have changed their minds about one of the most fundamental financial issues of mankind, and now seem ready to accept higher taxes.

A smattering of surveys indicate as much. It is considered a ``given'' in many financial and business analyses. And even the president of the United States, elected on a pledge of no increases, has suggested he might reconsider.

However it was done, the selling of the idea of higher taxes might make a study worthy of the most esteemed educational institutions. Only this much is known: Many people think an increase is the only way to cut the budget deficit.

That, too, might make an academic study, because only a few years have passed since the President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, headed by J. Peter Grace, recommended $424 billion in cuts over three years.

No more use was made of the study than is made of those shellacked sets of encyclopedias that reside on shelves beside the television set and the other pieces of furniture.

In 1985, the year after the study, Congress raised spending by $94.5 billion and very little has been heard of the findings since then, although Grace, chairman of W.R. Grace & Co., did his best to keep the publicity at a high pitch.

The entire thesis of that volume was the wastefulness of government and the growing danger that it would bankrupt the nation unless corrected. Its subtitle could very well have been: Cut Waste Rather Than Raise Taxes.

Now the deficit is thought to be at a crisis level by people in all areas of life, members of Congress to be sure, but heads of corporations too, and a tax increase is thought the only way to reduce it.

It isn't the first time Congress has ignored the option of cutting spending rather than raising taxes and it isn't likely to be the last. Not if you can judge by the recent evidence.

With assistance from fellow scholars, Scott Hodge, federal budget analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative think tank, came up with a list of $130 billion in cuts he says would cause minimal damage. …

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