Friday, October 22, 2010


Congress – shame on you!

I recently did a post titled “Are We Being Run By Arseholes?” – talking about a bit from John Stewart’s THE DAILY SHOW about the inability of Congress to do something simple. While the term “arseholes” may be a bit much – there is much evidence lately to suggest that the members of Congress are idiots!

The inaction by Congress regarding the “extenders”, the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch, and the status of the federal Estate Tax is inexcusable. We are not talking about extending these items for 2011, we are talking about tax year 2010 – which has less than 2½ months left!

It is obvious that we will have to wait until after the election before the Congress will even think about doing anything – God forbid voting on a bill should affect a Congresscritter’s (as Joe Kristan likes to call the bastards) chance of re-election.

This unnecessary and inexcusable delay is bad for the economy, bad tax policy, and causes all kinds of agita for the IRS, which usually likes to “go to press” with tax forms and instructions in October. Undoubtedly there will once again be delays to the beginning of the upcoming tax filing season (this is not the first time Congress had acted stupidly in this area).

I will be attending the annual year-end tax update class given by the National Association of Tax Professionals each year (in Atlantic City) in early November. The class will be incomplete and will not be able to present a true and certain picture of everything that will be in effect for the 2010 returns we will file during the 2011 tax filing season, or provide sufficient information on taxes for 2011.

Wait - who is to say that the fools will actually be able to pass the necessary extender legislation in the short time left before they leave Washington for the rest of the year?

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that lately Congress is more dangerously partisan than ever before. With only the most minimal of exceptions, Republicans will only vote for bills introduced by Republicans, and Democrats will only support legislation introduced by their party. A Republican could introduce a bill that would guarantee world peace, and the Democrats would vote against it because it was not introduced by a Democrat.

As a result virtually nothing gets done easily, if at all. Even issues, like the ending of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell and relief for infected 9/11 first responders, which were actually supported by a majority of both parties either couldn’t get passed or took forever to so do (as discussed in the DAILY SHOW bit) because of partisan games.

I have not done a study of the problem, but I don’t recall this being the case during my earlier years. I can remember a time when Congress at least put on the act of thinking about the good of the country and its citizens. When did it begin? It was certainly present during Dubya’s term, but has become more prominent and hazardous during BO’s tenure.

Another example that Congress is full of idiots concerns the new rules for 1099 reporting. The cafones passed, as part of the Health Care “reform” bill, a requirement for businesses to report payments for goods as well as services to all entities, including corporations. Since it was passed Congress has been trying to repeal or revise it.

I doubt if those who drafted the provision took even one minute to consider the consequences of the actual application of this requirement, and the excessive burden it would place on small business. They needed some quick income-generating offsets, and that sounded good. And I doubt if those voting for the bill read through all of the provisions of the legislation before saying yea or nay.

Since the passage of the bill various small business organizations, and tax bloggers, have brought the stupidity of this provision to the attention of the public and Congress – and now the cafones are all “mea culpa” and want to take it back. But, as per the ridiculous partisanship, they have not been able to do so yet.

{As an aside - I am certainly not against expanding the reporting of fees paid for services (not the purchase of goods) to include corporations – but that is as far as it should go.}

All of the above gives me serious doubts that the members of Congress are “smarter than a fifth grader”!

I recently considered writing a letter to be sent to every member of Congress. It would begin with “Shame on you!” and include the following advice –

1) Get off your arse and vote on the 2010 and 2011 “extenders” ASAP.

2) Make serious and substantial tax reform/simplification a top priority when you (or your successors) return to Washington in January.

3) When drafting a bill, seriously investigate and consider the burdens its provisions will place on those who are being required to comply.

4) Actually read in entirely each piece of legislation you vote on before voting.

5) Base your votes on the content of the legislation and not on which party introduced it.

6) Stop making quick-fix knee-jerk reactions to serious problems – and actually seriously respond to the problem. And

7) While nothing we can do will ever remove getting re-elected as your number one priority, at least make the intelligent and effective administration of the government your number two.

Would you like to add anything?


1 comment:

Tom said...

I have a feeling it is just going to get worse Bob after this Novemebr, plus there could be some new tax reforms in 2011 (maybe)and that will probably just pile more confusion on top of the confusion we have now.

It's not easy being a tax preparer in this day and age when you can't even get correct answers from the main governing tax body itelf, but that's ok because the IRS says that I can just go to a CPA and get the correct answer because they have had years of accounting classes. ROFLMAO! Have a great day Bob...