Posts Tagged ‘tax code’
March 1st, 2012 at 5:21 pm
Democrats: Tax Relief Requires Campaign Contributions
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A nefarious trend coming out of Washington, as reported by Politico:

Democrats on K Street are warning their corporate clients: Give to Republican challengers in the 2012 election, and you’ll regret it come tax reform time.

Lobbyists are getting that message from allies of powerful Democrats such as Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is closely watching support for Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). Baucus supporters fear that if Rehberg ousts Tester, Baucus could be next to face a serious Republican challenge in the state.

One K-Streeter close to the Baucus operation said the senator considers a gift to Rehberg a contribution against him. Another Democratic lobbyist told a client to take his name off a Rehberg fundraising event because it would be hurtful to his company, according to sources.

The case K-Streeters are making to their clients: It will be a hard sell next year to get Baucus’s support on business-friendly tax perks set to expire or the Bush-era tax cuts that must get through his committee.

Old D.C. hands that they are, the folks at Politico are quick to note that this is routine procedure on Capitol Hill, where the nexus between campaign contributions and favorable policy outcomes is an implicit rule of the game. That’s all true, of course, and Republicans have committed precisely these kinds of sins in the past. It doesn’t follow, however, that we have to accept it.

One of the most heartening aspects of the rise of the Tea Party has been the fact that there is now a powerful political coalition organized around a philosophy rather than a pecuniary interest. That philosophy is stripping power from Washington. And it’s precisely what’s needed here.

These kind of abuses are a powerful argument for the sagacity of a flat tax. Conservatives generally tend to focus on the economic benefits of a single income tax rate (which, because it eliminates so many distortions, are legion), but they may not pay enough attention to its virtues as a matter of political science. Having a single, across-the-board rate would keep politicians from turning the tax code into a byzantine apparatus meant to subsidize their friends and persecute their enemies. At that point, our elected officials might actually have to find an alternative to scaring their constituents into submission.

April 15th, 2010 at 12:48 pm
The Case for Simplifying the Tax Code
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It’s April 15th – the date that millions of Americans who waited till the last possible day to file their tax forms with the IRS can wait no longer to feed the insatiable appetite of federal (and state) tax coffers.  If you are like most of us, you try to struggle through the filing yourself — coffee and documentation at the ready — ultimately giving up and hiring an accountant, a tax-filing firm or downloading an online program.  In any event, it is an annual chore.  A monumental pain.  And an expensive one, at that — especially if you get it wrong and end up owing penalties.  Well, guess what, fellow tax-payers?  You are not alone!

The Hill newspaper reports that “few members of Congress prepare their annual tax returns, instead relying on professional preparers…”  The article details how even Ways and Means Committee members — the very ones responsible for writing the tax code — need professional help to file their annual taxes. Of the 28 respondents, only one — Got that? One — Member of Congress said he did his returns by himself (and he was an accountant for 12 years).

During an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program back in January, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced that he doesn’t prepare his own tax returns either.  Why?  Because, at least in part, he finds the tax code to be “too complex” to prepare them himself.

If that is not a case for tax reform, we defy you to find a better one.