Jewish World Review Feb. 23, 2004 / 1 Adar, 5764

Neil Cavuto

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Consumer Reports

The real issue on tax cuts | Whenever the issue of tax cuts comes up on my television show on Fox, I like to use a little prop. That prop is a dollar bill.

When I hear a candidate rail against tax cuts, I like to show him that dollar bill and ask a simple question: "How much of this dollar do you think the average American worker deserves?"

He (or she) is often dumbfounded.

As I'm folding the dollar by a third, or half or more, I continue making my point.

"Is this enough? Maybe a little more? More still? What do you think?"

The politician being questioned is generally not amused. But my point is always quite serious. When it comes to taxes, how much is too much?

Do that the next time someone goes on and on about tax cuts. The issue really is quite simple. This is about all of our dollars. It's also about what we keep and what the government takes.

Remember first they are our dollars. Washington in turn takes what it considers to be for our good. Here is where the raging debates begin. But I want to begin sooner, at the very crux of the argument, at the dollar that sits in our wallet, and how much of it we get to hang on to.

The cold reality is that not all that many of us get to hang on to all that much.

The average American today . . . the average American . . . forks over more than a third of what he makes to the government. More than one-third! That's like the first four months of the year, free and clear to the government. We don't start taking home our dough until May . . . May! I'm talking about the federal government, state government, local government, FICA, Medicare, and on and on.

Richer Americans, those horrible tax dodgers, as some liberals will attest, well, they don't seem to dodge much. They fork over much more. When all is said and done, they pay closer to 55 percent of what they make when you throw in all those taxes.

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So picture that dollar. Picture folding it in more than half. That folded majority portion is Uncle Sam's. The rest is that so-called greedy rich guy's. Nowhere in the argument about taxes and dollars does anyone ever get into duty and obligation. Richer folks dutifully give the most to support the obligations of the government.

But not a thank you.

Not a way-to-go, you.

Barely an acknowledgement at all.

That's typical. My dollar story is not.

Let's never forget what this debate on taxes, raising or lowering them, is all about. It's about that dollar in our wallet. It's about the folds we keep and the folds the government gets. It's about our hard-earned money being automatically earmarked for things we cannot veto and for programs we cannot fathom.

It's a telling demonstration that any kid could understand, but politicians loathe. And they loathe it because of its simplicity.

So do me a favor, and ask your congressman or senator, "How much of my money do you think is fair to take?"

Is it a quarter of this dollar or half of this dollar? Maybe you want the whole dollar?

Point out it is your dollar. And what he's taking away is coming from your hide.

I'd be curious about his response. The one I usually get is, "We try to take as little as possible, but there are obligations."

Fair enough, Congressman.

Spell out why it's worth it to me for you to take such a huge chunk of my dollar.

After all, they're your programs.

And it's my dollar.

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Neil Cavuto is managing editor of Business News at FOX News Channel. He is also the host of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and "Cavuto on Business." Comment by clicking here.


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06/23/03: The big pitch for the "big get," no big deal!

© 2003, Neil Cavuto