Americans Are Willing to Give up TV, Alcohol and Sports to Never Pay Taxes Again

At Republic Wireless, we pioneered money-saving WiFi-first calling and recently innovated Extend Home, the home phone service that works with your cell phone number at no extra cost. We are obsessed with helping our members save for more important things in life. With the delayed tax return season, we wanted to learn more about how our members and the general public felt about money, plans for the future and general sentiments around paying taxes. So we surveyed over 1,000 members and 600 other Americans and got some surprising results.

The year 2020 has introduced many new challenges. In the US, roughly 15% percent of the population is currently receiving unemployment benefits, and the economy continues to be impacted by the Coronavirus. Republic Wireless was founded on a commitment to make cell phone service affordable for everyone. We found that our members use WiFi more and don’t need wasteful unlimited plans. This may be helping them cut debt, save more and move along their path to financial independence. The results of the survey reinforce this focus:

  • One-third of Americans (32%) say they live paycheck to paycheck, while only 9% of Republic Wireless members say they are in that same situation. 
  • 17% of the general public say they are saving enough for retirement while 27% of Republic Wireless members are saving enough.
  • 22% of Republic members say they read what they can about Financial Wellness and Financial Independence vs. 12% overall.

Regarding the delayed 7/15 tax day, 58% of respondents indicated they already received a refund. Another 15% were expecting one. Many already had plans for their refund with 33% hoping to save it in case their financial situation changed.  Another 28% will pay down debt, 21% will use a refund to pay for everyday expenses, while only 5% will splurge on something special for the family and a mere 3% will put the money aside for vacation. 

We had some fun with the question, “What would people be willing to give up to never pay taxes again?” The answers were surprising, so we’ll give a spoiler alert. If you want to have some fun, don’t read the results below and go to this interactive quiz with some of the survey results:

OK, if you skipped down here, here we go. First off, people need to play! And maybe we didn’t miss watching sports so much after all. 42.5% would give up watching sports, while only 28.3% would give up playing their favorite sport. More people said they would give up TV (12%) than those who would skip listening to music (7.7%). Did we “binge out” on TV a little too much over the last few months?  

What about giving up cars or their best friends? Taxpayers say they are least likely to give these up, with only 5% willing to hand over the car keys and 5% willing to unfriend their best friends to never have to pay taxes again. And lastly would they give up sex or their cell phone? No, we are not making this up: 12.3% said they’d give up sex, while only 6.2% would give up their cell phone! While we are surprised by that one, we are glad we play such an important role in your lives, and we promise to keep innovating ways to help you save.

Here is the complete list of things we surveyed and how many Americans are willing to give them up in exchange for never having to pay taxes again:

  • Watching sports (42.5%) 
  • Playing video games (39.7%)
  • Beer, wine, cocktails (37.2%)
  • Playing your favorite sport (28.3%) 
  • Working out (22.3%)
  • Eating dessert (22.3%)
  • Pizza, burgers, sushi or whatever is your favorite food (18.7%)
  • Sex (12.3%)
  • Watching TV (12.0%) 
  • Traveling (9.0%)
  • Listening to music (7.7%)
  • Cell phones (6.2%)
  • Your favorite hobby (5.5%)
  • Driving and riding in cars (5.0%)
  • Your best friends (5.0%)
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Notable Replies

  1. Does it matter? I’m reasonably certain our governments at all levels will not be offering us the option of not paying taxes. :grinning: Not doing many of those things would reduce the amount of taxes one pays, since many of those activities are taxed!

  2. Would they be willing to give up roads, ports, emergency services, national parks, city parks, sewers, mail, rural phone service, the military, etc etc etc? It seems silly to talk about things they’d be willing to give up that aren’t really the primary things that are funded by taxes.

  3. djda says:

    This is absolutely the dumbest question I have ever read on this and possibly any forum. People won’t have any time to do any of the activities you listed because they will be too busy walking to work (no roads) and trying to dispose of their waste (no sewers or garbage pickup).
    Surely you folks at RW have more productive ways to spend your time than writing drivel like this.

  4. Uhh… listen, friends. First of all, the responses to the survey are not necessarily what is being measured. (Read about the so-called gorilla experiment.) :gorilla:

    Second, while you can voluntarily give up anything in the list (admittedly, with varying degrees of difficulty), most of us cannot legally give up taxes, even in retirement, so taxes seem to serve as a sort of baseline for comparison. We can compare the other things based on how they compare to taxes. :money_with_wings:

    Republic has learned, for example, that music is more important than video games to a significant portion of those polled, but they discovered this fact without directly comparing music and video games. Now, if Republic had two secret projects they were considering rolling out (one, competing with Google Stadia, and another, competing with Apple Music) they would see much more potential for the music-related project–all, without giving us a hint of what they’re thinking. :musical_note:

    And maybe it’s just for fun. When you first watched The Wizard of Oz, did you feel the need to point out that scarecrows can’t talk? :slightly_smiling_face:

  5. Maybe I’m just weird, but my cell phone company isn’t generally where I go looking for entertainment.

  6. Republic should stick to providing cell service, which it knows something about, and not run surveys, which it clearly knows nothing about. I hope no company money was spent on this survey.

    The problem with the question is that it asks about an unreal choice that no one will ever get to make. People respond unseriously to questions like this. The answers are meaningless. Any money spent getting the answers is wasted.

    This kind of thing bothers me because there are survey questions asked all the time that are only a little better than this. The things they ask about are either impossible or, if theoretically possible, could never get funded. But they get taken seriously and used as support for various arguments because people don’t know any better.

    But you can just bet that someone reading this blog will tell their friends about it, as if it really meant something.

  7. I’m quite uncertain either of these potential secret projects would make much sense in that directly competing with either Apple or Google would be very much a tall order for a company Republic’s size (and I’m confident you know that and said what you said, at least, partially in jest).

    Nevertheless, thank you for reminding me there are differing perspectives to be had regarding the merits of such a survey. I may not share your perspective but find the reminder useful nevertheless.

  8. This is soooo untrue.

    Roads are paid via gas tax. Those who buy gas pay for roads. Those who live in HOAs may find they are paying for their own roads. Yup, now people are paying tax on all fuel, yet no tax is apportioned to private roads. It all goes to public roads. In my city, private roads comprise about 20% or more of all roads. Hint: That’s a hidden tax increase.

    Ports: Fees should be paid by those that use them. Of course, these fees would find their way into products bought, which is reasonable. Who wants to bet there are already port fees being collected?

    Emergency services: Necessary, but these are local. Federal taxes are unnecessary.

    National Parks: The plopped down a ranger hut and collect fees to enter. If you’re speaking to trash or maintenance, I would suggest a program for the indigent - or those assigned community service. Why are we first taxed, then made to pay a fee to use what our taxes create?

    Sewers: These fees are typically included in your water bill. Some send separate sewer bills.

    Mail: Postage charged is supposed to cover the USPS. No taxpayer money is supposed to support operations. Barking up the wrong tree here.

    Rural phone service: Regulations can simply mandate national companies to service rural. No taxes needed. Costs are distributed across the network. Perhaps you were talking about free phone service? Yeah, that shouldn’t be a thing.

    Military: That’s actually in the Constitution. As of 2019, America spend 3.4% of our GDP on defense (Forbes). Most people’s entertainment budgets are higher.

    Schools are paid via property tax - for our entire lives. Why is it we can pay for a house in 30 years, but K-12 education takes a lifetime?

    If you take the time, you’ll see that many things people think their taxes pay is simply incorrect.

  9. Lots of ways to spin numbers. 3.4% of GDP is $1,900,000,000,000 and with about 324 million people in the US, by my math that works out to $5,864 for every man, woman and child in the US. I don’t know about your entertainment budget, but we’re a family of 5 and we’re not spending anything close to $29,000 per year on entertainment.

    Not where I live. Water and sewer are municipal services paid by local taxes.

    As we transition from gas powered cars to other forms of power, this will have to change. In some places, electric cars are assessed an additional registration fee (tax) to pay for this.

    In any case, we can spend all day with lies, dang lies, and statistics but I still fall back to my original point. This was a moronic question to ask in a survey.

  10. While I’ve filed a 1040 nearly every year since 1968. I have only had to pay income tax a few times in the 90’s when I guessed wrong on how the laws would change. People with jobs pay income tax. Learn the tax code, design a life that legally avoids all income tax and the world is your playground. With Republic Wireless I’m always connected whether I’m in Chile, Colombia, Greece … and even the USA.

  11. billg says:

    I actually experienced this. I gave up living in the United States in favor of working on a NATO contract in Europe. At that time if one would be out of the United States for 330 days, and declare that in advance, there would be no federal income tax. The state I had been living in only charged state income tax on money earned in that state. My work with the German and Italian air forces put me under their status of forced agreements in both countries and those agreements exempted me from paying their taxes expect for taxes associated with retail purchases. The assignment also involved an overseas allowance and per diem so I was able to bank my entire salary.

    There were plenty of big sacrifices like not seeing any of my family or friends and finding my native language useless in many situations. These were more than offset by the opportunity to learn new languages and discover how other societies operate. In fact, I wept when my employer brought me back to the U.S. but I did return with my college debts retired, my cars paid for and a sizable down payment on a new home.

    I would do it again.

    p.s. Early-on this also involved giving up radio and TV because, of course, they didn’t broadcast in my native language. There was no telephone service where I lived in either Germany or Italy and cell phones hadn’t even been conceived of yet.

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