Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I GIVE UP!
I have given up.
Let’s face it. As much as I, and I am sure a majority of Americans, would like to see true tax reform and true simplification come to pass, it ain’t going to happen in my lifetime.
There may be some token reform in 2013, more likely if the Republicans are victorious next month (although that may result in more problems in other areas), but nothing of any real substance.
The lately much referred to Simpson-Bowles Report suggested that we completely shred the current mucking fess that is the Tax Code and start from scratch, with “everything is taxable and nothing is deductible”, and add back only those very few “tax expenditures” (deductions, credits, exclusions) that are absolutely necessary and appropriate. This is what should be done. But this will not be done.
What will probably happen is that at least the majority of the “Bush” tax cuts, and many of the pesky “extenders”, will be made permanent, or “semi-permanent”. There will be some tweaks depending on who is elected and who has control of Congress. But the Tax Code will continue to be a convoluted mess and more likely than not get more complicated instead of less.
Why is this?
(1) The members of Congress are idiots. More so now than ever before in our history. I do believe it began when hypocrite Newt Gingrich, whom we have hopefully seen and heard the last of, was in power. And I doubt the election will substantially change this.
They have proven time and again that their main concern is certainly not the proper administration of the government, but getting themselves re-elected and more members of their individual party elected. They will continue to be totally partisan, quoting verbatim from the party “script” instead of thinking independently and accepting that compromise is the only way to get anything done.
(2) I think it was fellow blogger Kay Bell who said something to the effect that the idiots in Congress are all for closing tax loopholes except for the ones that they have written. The idiots in Congress will continue to pander to special interest groups who fill their pockets and their individual and party campaign chests.
(3) And I think it was also Kay who suggested that, while most, if not all, taxpayers also want to simplify the Tax Code and close loopholes, they do not want to give up any tax expenditures that benefit them individually – even if in the process of simplifying the Code many of these benefits are continued more responsibly elsewhere within the government.
“We should close the loopholes for him and her and them. But, wait, that deduction or credit I claim is not a loophole, but an entitlement. You can’t take that away!”
Just like the idiots in Congress the American people are basically short-sighted.
So I guess I will just have to grin and bear it. Like blogger Monica Lawver said when she similarly gave up in her post "Youthful Optimism" last month –
“The monster of a tax code (Obama's words, not mine) is not going to get simple any time soon. And I can't change that. So where am I focusing my efforts now? On helping clients navigate the system as it is, mess that it is.”
It was a nice dream, though.