For many Americans the distance between what they believe is best for the nation and what government actually does has become an infuriating chasm that was never meant to exist in a representative government designed to reflect the will of the majority.
No other single public policy so reinforces a perception of self-dealing, unfairness and incompetence as the corrupted federal tax code. Bloated beyond decipherability at 71,000 pages of regulations, the income tax system is driven by personal power, lobby profits and, through tax inducements and penalties, a changing menu of citizen and business manipulation.
Married people pay higher rates than singles living together, income is commonly double and tripled taxed, pastors are told what they can and can’t say from the pulpit and foreign competitors enjoy significant cost advantages over American producers because of our tax system.
Meanwhile, in “Gucci Gulch” outside the House Ways and Means Committee, business is very, very good. With more than a billion dollars a year spent lobbying the tax system; the recession has been a wonderful windfall for many tax lobbyists. While the nation suffers, new aristocracies in Washington , far from the little people who pay the bills, celebrate their good fortune.
So what if both the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Congressional Committee writing tax laws got their own tax returns wrong? So what if just obeying federal tax laws costs taxpayers more than $300 billion a year? So what if Warren Buffet’s salary-earning secretary pays a higher tax rate than her billionaire boss?
But “so what?” and perennial–but always unfilled promises–that “something must be done” are not enough anymore. Remembering what they once learned in civics classes, Americans from across the political spectrum are taking time from their pursuits of happiness to register angry and indignant warnings to the political class that “something will be done”—or else.
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