Rep. Reed’s Survey Questions Analyzed

I recently received the 2015 Official U.S. Government Survey from Rep. Reed’s office.  We question-mark-manwere told that “your responses are necessary to help guide federal policy.”

These issues are complex; many questions give simplified descriptions that do not inform the reader of both sides of the issue. Many of the questions are vague. Many are loaded with biases.  Some questions have limited choices for people to accurately state their opinion; sometimes Yes, No, or Unsure isn’t enough.  Does he really want our opinions? Or, does he want the data from this survey to justify what he is doing in Washington?

The comments after the questions include my opinions and/or some background about the issue.

#1. Do you approve or disapprove of Congressman Tom Reed’s work as your Representative?

[ ]Approve        [ ] Disapprove      [ ] Unsure

No tricks here, the question is clear and to the point.

2. In general, should the federal government be more involved or less involved in the daily lives of Americans?

[ ] More Involved        [ ] Less Involved      [ ] Unsure

He is promoting the GOP “Big Government” talking point. The terms “More Involved” and “Less Involved” are vague. What is he really asking?

3. Do you believe the border must be secured before further action is taken to reform our immigration policy?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

How is he going to interpret the answers to this question? Does securing the border mean building Trump’s Wall? Is he asking us if we think a wall should be built before an immigration policy has gone through the legislative process? What’s wrong with having a policy intact before spending money on a Wall? Remember the Senate has already passed an immigration policy and it has not been brought to the House floor. Speaker of the House Ryan is refusing to work on immigration reform with President Obama.

4. Do you believe the President’s proposed trans-pacific partnership trade agreement will be good for upstate New York?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

A basic, good question. I just wonder what people know about the TPP? In the recent Fox Business News debate Donald Trump stated that he does not support the TPP because it benefits China (or so he said). In reality one of the points of TPP is to weaken China’s role in global economics.

5. This year Congressman Reed introduced the Defense of Property Rights Act to provide owners with an opportunity to seek compensation in Federal court when government action significantly impairs the value of their land. Do you believe that the actions of the federal government are negatively impacting private property?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

Nobody likes being told “No”. This questions couples the fear of the size of our government with the fear of regulations. Our government has the responsibility to protect our land and resources. (For some reason Rep. Reed gave a lot of detail in this question–I wonder why.)

#6. Do you believe abled-bodied adults with no dependents should have to work or perform community service before receiving federal welfare assistance?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

Last year Rep. Reed was pushing for requiring “abled-bodied adults with no dependents” to work (or perform community service).  The only problem with his thinking is that those who are abled to work are already required to work. See New NY23rd’s article on this topic. Reed is promoting class warfare, again. This time he pitting one group of Americans (welfare) against the rest of us. Earlier this year he pitted retirees vs the disabled when he attacked the Social Security Disability fund.

#7. Do you think the current entitlement system (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) as unsustainable, fine as is, or are you unsure?

[ ] Unsustainable       [ ] Fine-As-Is      [ ] Unsure

Another question with vague choices. What if you feel that they are sustainable; the income sources need to be expanded? You could not express your opinion through any given choices.

#8. Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) in King v. Burwell?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

What does it matter? How is this question going to  help guide federal policy? Is he suggesting that we can change the Supreme Court’s decision? How many of us can describe what King v Burwell was about without using google?

#9. Should Congress repeal, reform, or replace Obamacare as it is now?

[ ] Repeal       [ ] Reform   [ ] Replace   [ ] Unsure

Yes, Rep. Reed is giving us only the options are to repeal Obamacare, reform Obamacare, or replace Obamacare, or to tell him that we are unsure what to do. How can those who do not want to repeal, reform, or replace Obamacare indicate that on this questionnaire? Besides not giving the thousands of his constituents who are benefiting from Obamacare a chance to voice their opinion, this question is very poorly written. How can you replace Obamacare if you don’t first repeal it? This question alone indicates that this survey isn’t really asking for our opinion.

#10. Do you believe China’s currency manipulation negatively affects American jobs?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

Maybe Rep. Reed could explain what this means?

#11. Do you support the President’s nuclear deal with Iran that lifts U.S. economic sanctions in exchange for compliance with some restrictions on its nuclear program?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

What Rep. Reed calls “some restrictions” are twenty-two restrictions, 17 of them to last a decade or more, and deal includes inspections. For a list of the restrictions follow this link. This deal has already been approved. How would knowing the feelings of the NY23rd’s residents help guide federal policy? Why is he bringing up a dead issue? Probably to get his base riled.

#12. Do you believe the United States should be willing to use force to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

That information would be good to know so that Congress can plan to fortify the military for 2030.

#13. Would you support efforts for immigration reform which would curb illegal immigration while creating a pathway for illegal immigrants obtaining legal status?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

One of the best written questions in the survey. I believe the answers could be used to guide federal policy.

#14. Should primary and secondary education fall under local control or should it be controlled by the federal government?

[ ] Responsibility of the states and localities

[ ] Responsibility of the federal government

[ ] Unsure

I am guessing he wants to remind us of Common Core, but he is not saying that. Our schools are following New York State’s Department of Education policy when it comes to teaching procedures, not the federal government’s.

#15. Do you think the county is on the right track or heading in the wrong direction?

[ ] Right track        [ ] Wrong track      [ ] Unsure

Another question with vague choices.

How would Rep. Reed interpret a ‘Right Track” response? How would he interpret a Wrong Track response? Those who feel that the government is going to the right too much should chose the Wrong track option. Those who feel that the government is going to the left too much should also chose the Wrong track option. Those who pick Right track are those who are pleased with the advances (economical, social, or foreign policy) the Executive Branch has been able to establish.

#16 Do you support the 2nd Amendment?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

Who doesn’t support the 2nd Amendment?

Will Rep. Reed use the data from this question to justify being against common sense laws that reduces gun violence? The Federal Court of Appeals have used the Supreme Court’s opinions regarding the 2nd Amendment to uphold states’ legislation that was written to reduce gun violence, including background checks and banning public ownership of military weapons. If you support those decisions then you support the second amendment, even though Rep. Reed dismisses those decisions.

#17.  Should the federal government be able to spy on Americans without first obtaining a legal warrant from a judge, as required by the 4th Amendment of the Constitution?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

The only complaint I have with this questions is the hot button term “spy”. To make this question Balanced it should be stated that the information gathering was to protect us from terrorists. Does a NO vote show support of the actions of Edward Snowden. Does a No vote a vote against the PATRIOT ACT?

#18. The federal government is projected to run a $500 billion deficit in 2015. In order to bring our federal budget into balance, which of the following are you most likely to support? 

[ ] Reforming welfare programs

 [ ] Reforming Medicare and Medicaid

 [ ] Cutting Defense Spending

[ ] Eliminating bureaucratic positions within the federal budget

 [ ]Keeping federal spending and increasing taxes

 [ ] Reforming Social Security

The problems with this question are (1) some might not be sure how many items they can chose (I am assuming one) (2) Are we suppose to assume we can balance the budget by changing only one of the listed items? (It has been pointed out that Social Security does not affect the deficit).

#19. Do you support the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to drive down energy cost and promote American energy independence, provided it is done safely?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

The question has debatable claims (1) drive down energy costs (2) promote American energy independence and (3) that it can be done safely. The most questionable claim is “provided it is done safely?”.  Although the Gas Industry can honestly claim their procedures are safe, there are too many people who have the opportunity to disobey the regulations to make an easy  buck, and the safe procedure becomes a disaster. A fair question would be  Do you support the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking)? and forget the GOP talking points.

#20. Do you support passing a long-term tax bill if it will lower taxes while also eliminating or reducing deductions. 

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

These terms are too general. The devil is in the details. The key is which deductions (loop-holes) the Ways and Means Committee will eliminate or reduce. I would hope the majority response is “Unsure”. Don’t give Rep. Reed the ammo to justify ending deductions that will unfairly harm the middle and lower class population.

#21. Do you believe Congress should can do more to promote American manufacturing and better paying jobs?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

Realistically, who can say  “No” to this question?

#22. Do you believe Congress should have more control over the number and type of regulations promulgates by the federal government?

[ ] Yes        [ ] No      [ ] Unsure

This question is part of the GOP talking point program that is getting some to feel that the President has too much power and that the government is too large. Congress already has control over regulations.

Federal Agencies are in the Executive Branch of our government. (Click here for a list of the agencies). Congress created each agency, and authorized them to issues regulations. It can also can hold hearings, issue reports and adopt new legislation. Congress can also review and reject new regulations. For more detailed information: go to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Questions 23-29 asks questions about interaction with Rep. Reed’s Office, if you think  questionnaires are good ways to communicate, and information about you (gender, race, age group, and how you get your news).

The final question: “What one issue or policy do you associate with Tom Reed?”

I am inviting you to answer that question in the comment space below, or on our Facebook page.  (Along with any other comments.) Rep. Reed added, “For questions and concerns, please call (202)225-3161 (his Washington office).

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About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
This entry was posted in Congress, Constituents, Constitution, Data, Defense, Economics, Education, Environmental, fracking, Gun Violence, Health Care, Hydrofracking/Gas& Oil Industry, Immigration, Racism, Reed's Views, Rights, Social Security, Supreme Court, Treaties and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Rep. Reed’s Survey Questions Analyzed

  1. josephurban says:

    I had the same response to the “questionnaire”. While not blatantly partisan it certainly is not an attempt to get the honest opinions of his constituents. It is designed to produce vague support numbers so he can justify his votes. I could rewrite every question and get a different result.

    For example: Since fracking has been shown to contaminate water supplies, possibly cause earthquakes and it injects a multitude of cancer causing chemicals into the earth, is it worth the few cents you might save on gas today to expose your children and grandchildren to a life of disability?
    (1) Yes (2) No (3) Unsure

    I have no problem with Reed sending out political pamphlets (which is what this is). I do have a problem, however, when as a tax payer I am PAYING for his political pamphlets. This mailing was paid for by all of us. It is identified as “OFFICIAL BUSINESS”. Is this an abuse of the franking privilege? Should there be an ethics complaint filed? Is this how fiscal conservatives waste tax dollars?

  2. Deb Meeker says:

    One of these surveys finally made it to my house, addressed to another person who lives with me. Since we paid for the survey with our tax dollars, we decided to honor Tom Reed with responses.

    Most of the questions couldn’t be answered by filling in a box. For example the question:
    2. In general, should the federal government be more involved or less involved in the daily lives of Americans? Our answer was written in: That depends on the type of involvement. Meddling in women’s healthcare and freedom of choice – NO, less involved. Protecting our country’s resources through environmentally sound water and land use – YES more involved

    One of the survey’s multiple choice answered questions: ( obviously a trick question)
    #18. The federal government is projected to run a $500 billion deficit in 2015. In order to bring our federal budget into balance, which of the following are you most likely to support?
    [X ] Reforming welfare programs … We added the word “corporate” before the word welfare
    [X] Reforming Medicare and Medicaid …..We added: Only if the reforms increased benefits – not further reduced them, and did not involve any privatization.
    [X] Cutting Defense Spending………..depends on the spending target : further cutting of active military pay and veteran’s programs and benefits – NO. Eliminating the waste of building military planes and equipment the Pentagon reports it doesn’t want or need -YES.
    [ ] Eliminating bureaucratic positions within the federal budget ……….what is this question asking? We do not believe the elimination of the Dept. of Education, the IRS, or the EPA would serve anyone, but instead would cause much greater expenditures fixing the disasters that would befall if these were eliminated or authority reduced.
    [ ]Keeping federal spending and increasing taxes ……..who’s taxes increased? Corporate taxes could be doubled without much loss to their operations. The average American now makes up the difference – that corporations do not pay – from their own pockets, which keeps them in debt.
    [x] Reforming Social Security……Again – we added: Yes, if the reforms increased benefits – not further reduced them, and did not involve any privatization.
    Addendum: Previous Congress’ have spent the money – Would you, Tom Reed choose to default on the American debt?

    One question we felt was audacious- the first question:
    #1. Do you approve or disapprove of Congressman Tom Reed’s work as your Representative?
    This question should have been asked in a totally separate mailing paid for by Rep. Reed.
    Unless, that is, Tom Reed sees himself and his opinions so vital to US policy as to be a top priority for “Official Government Surveys”.

  3. whungerford says:

    Jill Lepore discusses polling and surveys at length in this timely article:
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/16/politics-and-the-new-machine

  4. Lee Marcus says:

    This questionnaire is consistent with the impression Congressman Reed leaves in every one of his town hall meetings: disingenuousness. He deflects any serious concerns of citizens, and speaks to us as if he thinks we are starstruck by his greatness. I sat down with this questionnaire, hoping to have a chance to express my thoughts, but virtually every question was bogus, as you make clear in this article. So glad you called him on it. Soon we will see the “result,” which no doubt will prove that Obama has ruined the country and that the district is overwhelmingly behind Congressman Reed. He is not interested in what we think.

    • Tom Vawter says:

      This comment catches the word that comes to my mind every time I hear or read of Tom Reed’s positions: “disinguous”.

  5. Marcia Johnson says:

    I filled it out and wrote in comments to almost every question. Which I am sure will be ignored.

  6. John Humphries says:

    Thank you for articulating my reaction to the survey. A summary of this will be used in a manner as in Alice in Wonderland: “When I use a word, it means exactly what i want it to mean, nothing, nothing less”

  7. david kime says:

    I answered that question by saying 50 plus votes to repeal Obamacare when he knew it would not happen a waist of taxpayer money and congress’s time.

  8. Maureen Harding says:

    LET US BE CLEAR!! Social Security is NOT, THAT IS NOT! Part of the budget!!!!! It is collected from our pay checks and goes directly into a trust!

  9. Maureen Harding says:

    Also, it is NOT part of the DEFICT!!!! Thought I might want to clarify that as well.

  10. catkestler says:

    Well, I must’ve been last on the list…..i just got my questionnaire yesterday. I’m going to have fun filling this waste of taxpayers money out.

  11. josephurban says:

    Is there another page? The one that asks if I think all the massive tax breaks given to major corporations and the wealthy under Bush should be repealed? I must have lost that part of the “questionnaire”.

  12. whungerford says:

    Questions about age, gender, and race have everything to do with campaign strategy and nothing to do with legislation.

  13. Barbara Griffin says:

    I didn’t receive a questionnaire, but agree with the responses above. It was loaded with “trick” questions that couldn’t be addressed with “yes and no” answers. It was a set up.

  14. James Danko says:

    The one thing I associate with Tom Reed is his speaking at Tea Party meetings.

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