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Letters to the Editor

Broad blame

April 13, 2011

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To the editor:

While Dolph Simons Jr. presents one possible narrative in his Saturday Column of April 9, “Budget showdown didn’t have to happen,” I believe two main arguments he offers to defend his premise can be refuted.

First, Simons blames the Democrats. He explains that when they held both bodies of the Congress and the executive branch, they did nothing to constrain “government handouts” which he implied was the cause of the “gigantic, constantly growing debt.” We have had numerous instances in recent times where the same conditions existed for those in the Republican Party and nothing was done to control the debt and, in fact, the debt was increased. Maybe both parties are to blame.

Second, Simons voiced concern about the nation’s budget crisis and its “welfare and fiscal health...” which he implied was being given low priority for political purposes. While it is a fact that our budget is not balanced, why are targeted cuts toward our most vulnerable citizens the only answer? Perhaps we have a revenue problem.

We have given generous tax cuts to our most wealthy citizens and corporations without the concomitant promised increase in jobs and our economy. Maybe we should attempt another approach and raise taxes and end “government handouts” for these groups. Many of our large corporations paid no corporate tax and some of our wealthiest citizens pay less in tax than those less fortunate. As to political manipulation, it strains credulity to blame one party over another. I believe in that domain parity may exist and, in fact, Republicans may be playing the better game.

Comments

Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

From April 2 - Huffington Post

Report Shows $330 Billion In Uncollected Taxes

WASHINGTON -- As part of the budget deal hashed out on Friday evening, lawmakers agreed that no additional federal funds would be used to hire new IRS agents.

Then on Monday, the Government Accountability Office publicly released a study showing that, as of the end of fiscal year 2010, roughly $330 billion in federal taxes had never been paid -- an amount that, if collected, would represent nearly nine times the amount of savings as the budget itself.

The dual developments aren’t shocking. Despite evidence that a single dollar spent on enforcing the tax code could result in up to ten dollars in revenue, politicians, naturally, are reluctant to align themselves with tax collectors. And yet, the sacrificing of funds for IRS agents in the continuing resolution deal underscores a particular problem that seems bound to confront fiscally conscious lawmakers.

he dual developments aren’t shocking. Despite evidence that a single dollar spent on enforcing the tax code could result in up to ten dollars in revenue, politicians, naturally, are reluctant to align themselves with tax collectors. And yet, the sacrificing of funds for IRS agents in the continuing resolution deal underscores a particular problem that seems bound to confront fiscally conscious lawmakers.

“Cutting back on IRS enforcement could easily cost the treasury much more in revenue than it saves,” said Chuck Marr, Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The GAO report, which looks specifically at the issue of passport holders who have failed to pay their full share of taxes, underscores Marr’s point. Titled “Federal Tax Collection: Potential for Using Passport Issuance to Increase Collection of Unpaid Taxes,” the study labels poor enforcement of tax laws and the tax code as a “high-risk” hole in government policy. In fiscal year 2008, passports were issued to about 16 million individuals. Of those, more than 224,000 owed more than $5.8 billion in unpaid federal taxes.

A good chunk of the evasion, the GAO concluded, was committed by individuals with “substantial personal assets” including multi-million-dollar homes and “luxury cars.” One passport recipient bought a house for $2 million and another property for $1.5 million despite owing $1 million in federal taxes.

“If you look, you can find records of most capital gains income,” said Rob Shapiro, former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce. “People deposit it in their bank accounts or the institutions may issue reports if it is capital gains on stock transactions. So it is not hard to pick it up if you have the manpower to look for it. And again, given that the salary of an IRS agent is at least as high as the average salary in America, the fact that there is a ten-to-one ratio for the returns on auditing tells you that [tax evasion] is coming from the high-income brackets.”

Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

I oppose Repubs who are doing everything possible to avoid discussing new industry and new jobs the real revenue generators. Don't let them get away with this.

People voted the democrats into control to avoid the reckless management of OUR tax dollars by republicans when Pres.Obama was elected president.

What happened?

Entitlements

People pay for medicare insurance there is nothing free about it. How is that an entitlement?

People pay for Social Security Insurance. How is that an entitlement?

Let's talk entitlements:

A. Why not cut off tax dollar subsidies that go to many many wealthy corporations?

B. Why not curtail tax abatements,tax rebates,Tax Increment Financing and other tax dollar entitlement subsidies? http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2008/commonthreads/115777.shtml

C. Of course tax cuts such as Bush Tax Cuts are entitlements: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

D. How about that automatic $4,000 increase in pay to legislators? Of course that is an entitlement. Put repubs on the defensive by eliminating this. Taxpayers simply dislike this pay increase.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 9 months ago

How many times have you posted these same links this week, planer-killer? Don't you ever get tired?

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

It is unfortunate that the commission which studied the debt problem was praised for it's work, but none of its' suggestions have been implemented, and are unlikely to be.

Kind of reminds me of the 9/11 bipartisan commission.

Chris Ogle 3 years, 9 months ago

." The enemy is not an R or a D, it is greed and denial over where we are headed."

You hit the nail on the head...... sometimes the truth is hard to take.

Jimo 3 years, 9 months ago

Getting every American who wants to work into a job, paring back the decade-long 100% increase in Pentagon spending, imposing means-testing and ending tax limitations for entitlements, and returning to the historic low tax rates of the Clinton Administration, would allow the budget to be balanced by the end of the second Obama term.

In contrast, the GOP offers a faked budget, full of pain for the middle class, children, the elderly, and the poor, as a means of transferring even more wealth to the wealthy, and, despite claims of growth so far-fetched that even proponents have had to admit their excessive optimism, doesn't even claim to balance the budget until 2030! Not only is this a 'no sacrifice' plan for millionaires -- it increases millionaire subsidies even more!

Jimo 3 years, 9 months ago

One revealing fact about the GOP plan for Medicare not getting much attention:

Imagine you're the poor schlub born a minute too late and now will be forever cut off from the protections of Medicare.

Not only have you spent your entire working life already paying taxes into Medicare, but the GOP plan instead plans to give you a 'free market' alternative that is worth less--by design!--to start with and will be cut--by design!--year after year by failing to match health cost increases, all under a scheme that expects you to come up with any shortfall out of your own pocket.

Oh, and you will still have to continue to pay taxes toward the Medicare program you'll never be able to collect until the very last person (born one minute earlier!) dies.

What a deal!!

Oh, and for those who are grandfathered into Medicare, question: how long do you think a majority of American voters, cut off from the promise of Medicare, will continue to agree to pay until they say they've had enough and vote to abolish your Medicare too? In short, why would someone getting health care cobbled together out of tin foil and string be willing at the ballot box to pay for your gold-plated plan?

classclown 3 years, 9 months ago

I thought he was going to blame a woman for something.

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