President Obama has been pleading with House Republican leaders lately to raise government revenues by overhauling the tax code to erase loopholes and other income exemptions.
Monday, February 25th, marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution, allowing the US government the authority to assess and impose an income tax on the citizens, by-passing the states in the process. Many on the political Left can barely conceal their glee and they are busy needling Conservatives, talking about the suitability of a “party” celebrating the centenary of the Sixteenth Amendment.
Since there’s no chance of any good tax reform with Obama in the White House, there’s no need to squabble over the best plan. Instead, our short-term goal should be to educate voters so that we create a more favorable intellectual climate for genuine reform in 2017 and beyond.
In her most recent report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson notes that "tax expenditures" -- the exclusions, exemptions, deductions and credits that make the Internal Revenue Code such a bloated, bewildering behemoth -- total more than $1 trillion a year.
I can’t think of an issue that more perfectly captures the national debate than the one right now regarding the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. At the end of this year, current tax rates will expire and taxes will go up if nothing is done.
The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them, and only in the short run. The current outbreaks of riots in Europe show what happens when the truth catches up with both the politicians and the people in the long run.
Those in Congress who have made distinguished careers sneaking tricky little passages into the tax code to favor the special interests they represent, or just hope to solicit for a campaign donation, aren't interested in undoing this elaborate trap for the average taxpayer.
Each year in the United States, an estimated 6.1 billion hours are spent complying with the federal tax code. I'm pretty sure at least half of those hours are spent by me.
There's a reason President Obama, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and many others are touting tax reform these days. On the campaign trail, it taps into deeply held beliefs about the way American society ought to work and the role of government.
Contrary to foolish meanderings of politicians, social issues are not only an integral feature of our fiscal policies but also specifically of our tax laws.
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