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Editorial: Short takes

For years, the federal government claimed that 47.6 million Americans were uninsured based on answers to a survey question by the Census Bureau, which asked if a person had been without health insurance sometime during the previous 12 months.

Conservatives argued the wording inflated the numbers by including people who had health insurance at the time they were polled. A simpler question should have been asked: Do you have health insurance?

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party used this flawed information to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 without the consent of any Republican.

Now that 7 million people have signed up for Obamacare (and 6 million others lost their health plan even though they liked it), the Obama administration is changing the question.

“The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said,” the New York Times reported.

How convenient.

“If you like your old health care questionnaire, you can keep your old health care questionnaire,” conservative writer Doug Powers wrote.

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On Tuesday — Tax Day — Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., did something all too unusual in the Capitol. He returned more than $115,000 back to the taxpayers from his office’s budget. Since taking office in 2003, McKinley has returned more than $365,000.

“Hard working families have to do more with less these days,” McKinley said. “We can do the same. Because our office has made fiscal responsibility a priority, we’re giving money back, just as we have each year.”

His statement revealed an often overlooked truth. When politicians refuse to manage the public’s money properly and raise taxes, they force families and individuals to make tough personal decisions in their own spending.

Undoubtedly, McKinley would have liked to expand his staff or buy new furniture or even open another office for constituent services.

But he didn’t. Instead he lived within the means of taxpayers.

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Also on Tax Day, John S. Kiernan, senior writer and editor at Evolution Finance in Washington, released his list of the best and worst states when it comes to taxes.

He ranked West Virginia (19th when adjusted for cost of living) as its taxes are 5 percent below the national average.

That sounds good, until one realizes that West Virginia is 49th in median household income and is 25 percent below the national median household income, according to the Census Bureau.

To get taxes to match income legislators would have to drop the average from $6,598 a year down to $5,195, a decrease in taxation of $1,403.

Or they could increase the median household income by $10,275 a year.

Of course if they did drop taxes, that likely would increase in the economic activity necessary to boost the median household income.

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Sunday marks Easter, the holiest day in the Christian calendar. The day is tethered to Passover, just as Christianity is tied to Judaism. That is no coincidence.

Gallup reports that 77 percent of Americans call themselves Christians. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence was a Christian and the early colonies were settled by religious refugees.

This escape from religious persecution explains why freedom of religion became an important part of America’s foundation. Americans should respect all religions, including Christianity.

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