Government rip-off

By Phil Crossman | Apr 21, 2017

We are getting ripped-off and we don’t have the resolve or resources to do what needs to be done to make things right. The government is not serving us as was intended and the maneuvering over the years in an effort to persuade us otherwise has been unrelenting and increasing in volume.

The greatest example, I think, except for declaring war willy-nilly ever since World War II, is the tax code. The code, when it was first written, was about 400 pages thick. Now it is 70,000 pages. At this rate of growth, the code will be 100,000 pages long by mid-century. There are two reasons what was once a simple tax code everyone could understand has now become something no one can figure out.

First, members of Congress have succumbed to the temptation to take the easy way out when faced with solving real problems, and that easy way is to add another few pages to the tax code that they hope will accomplish what really ought to be addressed otherwise. For example, taxpayers are urged, by amending the tax code in such a way that such an investment would result in a tax break, to buy hybrid vehicles or to buy a home, or to adopt children. The list goes on and on, and in each case, the incentive should come from elsewhere, not from the prospect of tax breaks.

We ought to buy hybrid vehicles because they will save us money in the long run and because they will reduce the amount of pollution in the air. We ought to buy a home, if we can manage it, because it, too, will save us money in the long run and provide us with equity we’ll need down the road. We ought to adopt children because we care.

Second, the breadth of business across the country that has mustered the resources and people to lobby and, in some instances, bribe members of Congress is of a scale the common taxpayer cannot begin to fathom. And the interests being represented result in thousands of pages added to the tax code every decade, each of them containing the particulars of a tax exemption for one special interest or another.

Each of those exemptions results in the burden being passed off to the rest of us and, as the code becomes more complicated, the likelihood that none of us will be able to manage our payment of taxes without the assistance of a professional and they, too, are strategically organized and lobbying to ensure precisely that our code becomes ever more complicated, requiring ever more assistance.

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