There are two days this year when millions of adults like you play pivotal roles as Americans. The first is April 15, when you pay your taxes. The second is November 6, when you vote for the people you want to spend them.

If you're like most of us, you’ll pick your candidates mainly by how much you like and trust them—their smiles, their voices, your sense of their integrity and capacity to lead. But policy issues also affect your choice. You’ll want to know where they stand on Iraq, terrorism, unemployment, Social Security, federal deficits. And on lots of social issues—involving housing, health care, education, marriage, and much more.

All of which means that you’d better remember April 15 when November 6 comes around. Why? Because our tax laws cut across all of American life. Except for the U.S. Constitution, they represent the most comprehensive expression of our government’s official values. What these laws tax or exempt, reward or ignore, crucially shape who we are as a nation and what we will become.

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A Sick Policy on Health Insurance

The right of workers to obtain, tax free, an unlimited amount of health insurance at work gives buckets of tax savings for executives but only spoonfuls of savings for low and moderate-income workers. It also excessively drives up the cost of health insurance and health care in general.

QUESTION #5

Ask the Candidate:
Shouldn’t Congress initially limit this tax break to the premium for a basic policy? And shouldn’t Congress eventually replace this tax break with a tax credit to help all Americans buy a basic policy, without regard to employment?

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Comments about Fox's Books:

About If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax:

John Fox explains the key issues for our income tax system in down-to-earth language and illustrates them with helpful real-life examples. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a reliable road map through the half-truths offered by advocates of one tax change or another."

Joel Slemrod, Paul W. McCracken Professor of Business, Economics and Public Policy, and Director of the Office of Tax Policy Research, University of Michigan Business School.

About John O. Fox

John O. Fox spent 36 years wrestling with the tax laws as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. He is the author of the highly praised book If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax (Westview, 2001). Mr. Fox has commented frequently about tax issues on radio and television, and his articles on what’s right and wrong with the U.S. revenue system have appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and many other newspapers. For over 25 years, he taught "Winners and Losers," a course on U.S. tax policy at Mount Holyoke College.

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