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Tax day insanity: Poll finds more Americans happy with what they pay

April 15, 2009 |  2:22 am

The logo of the Internal Revenue Service

Today is the day that all Americans -- except, of course, Timothy Geithner, Tom Daschle, Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Kelleher and Hilda Solis' husband -- are required to file and be fully paid up on all of their taxes.

Watch the TV news tonight for traditional film of lines of drivers filing past the mailboxes for last-minute drop-offs.

Now on this very special day comes a new Gallup Poll indicating that the Internal Revenue Service has spiked the public drinking water supplies with drugs.

The new survey purports that a plurality of Americans (48%) think they're paying just about the right amount in taxes. Traditionally in American society, just the right amount in taxes is zero.

But now taxpayers are like Goldilocks on her third bowl of borrowed bear porridge. It's just right.

A slightly smaller group that apparently drinks bottled water (46%) thinks taxes are too high.

No, really.

On this annual day of financial reckoning with the Washington crowd of talking suits spending way more money than we're all paying combined, more Americans apparently think they're getting their money's worth.

Results are based on land and cell phone interviews with 1,027 adult Americans between April 6 and 9  with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

These stunning statistics of tax satisfaction may have something to do with President Obama's silken promise not to raise taxes while cutting taxes for 95% of Americans and halving the federal deficit before his new dog gets old in human years.

Gallup has found that historically Americans feel more satisfied about the taxes they pay during times of war. During the closing Clinton years, when the country couldn't even pick a fight with Osama bin Laden, Americans who felt their taxes were fair ranged from 45% to 51%.

When U.S. military operations began in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, the fairness number climbed to 58% and then to 64% when the Iraq fighting began. It's hovered above 60% since.

All the way back during World War II, which is like before even the Beatles and Elvis when people mailed letters with postage stamps, 85% of Americans thought their wartime taxes were fair. When peace arrived in 1945, American thinking changed sharply, with the fair folks percentage plummeting to 62%.

The one soothing sign of social sanity from the new poll is that only 3% of Americans think they're not paying enough in taxes. Maybe they're the ones Congress should consult to handle the upcoming national debt that somebody else's kids are supposed to pay.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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