Jon de Vos: Harping at the IRS
Fraser, CO Colorado
The IRS is after my mom.
She shuffled off this mortal coil two years ago. But I just got a letter from the IRS wanting her new address. I know deep in my heart that my saintly mother nowadays divides her time between bridge tournaments and harp lessons, third cloud from the left. I don’t know her new post office box number.
But I think the IRS also knows that my mother passed away because they added DECD behind her name. I presume this means ‘deceased’. I suppose they’re trying to relieve pressure on the debt ceiling by saving the cost of ink in the four missing letters.
Not only did they want her new address, but they also informed me that no address change would be made without her signature. I get the distinct feeling that they are not after my mother’s new address to update their Facebook page. I suspect they’re making certain they squeezed every cent out of her before expressing their sincere regrets that they couldn’t have gotten a bit more.
Here’s the problem with taxes. The system relies heavily upon honest citizens reporting accurately how much they want to send to Congress. And this is at a time when 88 percent of Americans would prefer to see them beheaded.
Here’s another problem with taxes. The hugely complex tax code supports tax avoidance. It allows you to change the timing, the volume, the location and the composition of personal income solely to reduce taxes. People and corporations will spend enormous amounts of time and effort to do so.
Some individuals, if you believe the stories, will even lie on the forms to reduce their tax obligation.
A flat tax with no deductions would significantly reduce the cost of the current progressive tax system, eliminating loopholes, carve-outs and exemptions for special interest groups.
Let me ask you this: Are you paying more taxes than ever? You are, but do you know why? It’s because the highest tax rate, charged to the wealthiest, has remained at 35 percent for the last nine years. Historically, that’s very low. In fact, there are only eight years out of the last hundred where the highest rate has been lower than today’s levels.
Government spending as a percent of Gross Domestic Product has remained surprisingly flat for more than the last half century. It has gained some, but after taking a big jump right after World War II, it has stayed right in the neighborhood of 20 percent.
So for the last decade, the top tax rate has been reduced while spending compared to GDP has remained static. The only way for America to pay its bills is to increase the tax on the lower tiers of our progressive tax system. Compared to more than a hundred years of American history, the wealthy have seldom paid so little, the rest of us have seldom paid more.
There are 71,684 pages in the 2011 tax code. Buried in these pages are the ability of 25 American corporations to pay their CEO more than the corporations paid in taxes. Qwest, for instance, paid no tax whatsoever for 2010 and, in fact, got a 14 million dollar refund while paying their CEO, Ed Mueller, 13.4 million in compensation for the year. It’s the sort of thing that will make you start talking to yourself.
Hello, Mom? This is your son, Jon. I know you hate technology, but would you send a tweet to President Obama with your new address. BTW, your harp sounds celestial!
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