Opinion: A silly survey on our dime | PostIndependent.com

Opinion: A silly survey on our dime

Jim Hoffman
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

“Enticing survey questions to prove a societal need for a project is wrong on so many levels.”

— Rep. Scott Tipton

Apparently Rep. Tipton does not have the same sentiment if the questions are his own.

Most, if not all, of us recently received a survey in the mail from Congressman Scott Tipton. I did respond and sent along a note protesting the bias of the survey questions and the waste of tax dollars the mailing represented. Not surprisingly, I have not received a response.

Via use of a program called “franking,” Mr. Tipton can reach out to the voters by the U.S. Post Office without charge. This is available to him and other congressional representatives and senators. Maybe some could speculate that the deficit over at the Post Office would be reduced if these elected “representatives” paid their fair share for postage, but that is a different story.

Anyway, Tipton and others can send these thinly disguised campaign materials to us on our dime and claim they want and need our opinions. This is one of the many advantages an incumbent has during the election cycle, which makes it more difficult to unseat them.

I have absolutely no issue with Tipton or others using this privilege in a sincere effort to educate the voters or to obtain unbiased or uninfluenced opinions. I do, however, take strong objection to survey questions that are slanted or editorialized in a manner as to elicit a desired result. Were Tipton’s survey to be reviewed by a researcher of even minimal competence, numerous questions would be disqualified.

Two questions come to mind. There are likely more, but they cannot be recalled from memory at this time, nor can I find a copy of Tipton’s survey online.

One question asked if the reader supported immigration reform, along with granting a pathway to citizenship to people “who violated the law” (or words to that general effect). The bias of the question is obvious, as it would lead some to believe immigration reform is only about granting citizenship to an entire class of law breakers.

Do I support that? Perhaps not. Left unsaid is that immigration reform may apply to a large group of children brought here by their parents. These children did not knowingly break any laws, may not speak Spanish, may not have any connection to Mexico, and have spent their entire conscious life in America thinking of themselves as Americans and living their lives as Americans.

Would we advocate deporting such a person to a country of which they know little? Would we deport such a person to a country where they may have no family, cannot speak the language, and would have little to no means of survival? These children are not criminals, but they would be offered protection under immigration reform that Tipton infers would be only of benefit to criminals.

In his effort to obtain a response to his liking to justify his stance against immigration reform, Tipton ignores the position taken by some of his constituents. The agricultural community, which relies upon immigrant labor to harvest food for our dinner tables, has long cried out for reform that may even extend to those “criminals.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce favors immigration reform inclusive of a path to citizenship for undocumented workers capable of proving they have been here performing honest work and living a life untarnished by criminal conduct. Criminal conduct by employers knowingly using undocumented workers or paying sub-par wages should deserve greater attention and legal action, and yet there is surprisingly little call for tougher enforcement of those laws.

Tipton also wants to know if we support a reduction in business taxes “already the highest in the world.” Again, hell yes, I would likely support that.

But Tipton fails to report that those “highest taxes in the world” are mitigated by tax breaks he and his brethren in D.C. have granted to industry. There are tax loop holes, tax subsidies, depletion allowances, enterprise zones and a huge plethora of tax-reduction devices approved by Congress at the behest of industry’s legions of lobbyists. These have a net result of allowing some of the largest U.S. corporations to pay little to no taxes.

Yes, I do support a reduction in corporate taxes, but only if it is accompanied by comprehensive tax reform that eliminates the corporate welfare system our tax code has become. For the lovers of a flat tax, let it begin here with corporations.

And, finally, a note to Rep. Tipton, similar to one included with my response to your questionnaire. Shame on you for wasting our tax dollars so blatantly and shame on you for constructing your survey questions in such a manner as to elicit responses that validate your existing positions.

Tsk Tsk.

Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.

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