John Stossel

But here's a problem: Many in Congress don't really want to reform the tax code. They like things just the way they are. So what if it makes paying taxes a headache for you? It gives them the awesome power to dispense privileges, which helps curry favor with lobbyists.

Congressmen bicker over who gets to hand out these special treats. In 2004, Sen. Olympia Snowe deplored the "financial burden on shipbuilders," many of whom happen to operate in her home state of Maine, and got them a $310 million tax break. Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski got her state a tax break on contributions for "charitable" whaling activities (whatever that means). And Sen. Saxby Chambliss demanded tax relief for the timber industry in Georgia.

So while business gets its tax breaks and congressmen get their campaign contributions, your spring weekend is devoted to wading through Form 1040 instructions.

Next year, you'll have to wade though even more pages. Each new tax break and every little favor adds to the complexity. The code and its explanations now total more than 66,000 pages. In the last six years, the IRS has created over 100 new tax forms.

This isn't good for America. Or you.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate