Herman Cain
It could cost more to get caught working in the world’s oldest profession if a bill passed last week by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee becomes law. The Finance Committee approved legislation that would allow the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to prosecute pimps and prostitutes for tax code violations. Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) proposed the legislation, which would impose a 10-year prison term on pimps for each prostitute in his employ on whom he fails to file a W-2 form.

What’s next? Will the Senate Finance Committee require pimps to pay for their employees’ health care? Will they be forced to deduct Social Security and Medicare taxes? Will pimps be subject to OSHA regulations requiring a safe workplace?

Not surprisingly, tax evasion by pimps and prostitutes does not rank high in polls of issues most important to the public. This is another frustrating example of Congress working on the wrong problems and finding the wrong solutions while the serious issues are left to fester. To observers of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley’s pimp tax is just the latest dereliction of leadership and misplaced priorities.

In January 2005 committee member Olympia Snowe (R-ME) dismissed reports that the Social Security program is nearing bankruptcy by stating, “There is a lot of fear among seniors.” She refused to even consider President Bush’s proposal to make optional personal retirement accounts part of the Social Security structure. Throughout 2005, Snowe blocked every effort to bring the optional personal retirement accounts proposal out of committee for a vote by the entire Senate.

Senator Grassley failed to show much leadership on restructuring Social Security, saying in July 2005 that his fellow Republican senators were reluctant to “walk the plank” on fixing the program without bipartisan support. Regarding a proposal to pull the issue from the Finance Committee and bring a Social Security bill directly to the floor, Grassley said, “I would not discourage leadership from doing that, but you don’t build consensus that way.” Senator Grassley, you don’t need consensus to pass a proven idea that has worked since 1981. We need leadership. If you cannot lead the majority party toward a proven solution to one of the crumbling pillars of our economic infrastructure, you need to step down from your chairmanship position.

Herman Cain

Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.

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