I would like to point out that there seems to be a serious problem with the income tax code of the United States.

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First, we have very prominent people (Rahm Emanuel – Current White House Chief of Staff, Timothy Geithner – Current Treasury Secretary (over sees the entire IRS), Charles Rangel – Current Chairman (that is the HEAD) of the House Ways and Means Committee (the committee that WRITES the TAX LAWS), Tom Daschle – Former Senate Minority Leader, Nancy Killefer – Nominated by President Obama to the post of Office of Management and Budget, Al Franken – Possible Senator, Sarah Palin – Current Governor of Alaska and former Vice-Presidential Candidate, Ron Kirk – nominated as U.S. Trade Representative) and possibly 52,000 “Rich Americans” with accounts with UBS in Switzerland that have FAILED to pay the taxes that they OWE.  This does not include any of the people that are not famous enough to have their names in the media for tax troubles.

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Many of the politicians have said that it was an “honest MISTAKE” and this EXCUSE has been accepted by their political friends and the media.  On this point, I do NOT believe that it was an “honest MISTAKE”, I believe that it was deliberate and only came to light because of the positions that they have been appointed to or have taken.

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IF they are honest mistakes, these politicians SHOULD have known what the tax laws are.  Tom Daschle, as a former SENATOR (TOP Senator for the minority party), was one of the people that WROTE the tax laws that he did not “understand”.  IF the politicians do not KNOW how to do their own taxes, then their accountants are required to KNOW the tax laws.  Accountants are REQUIRED to be CERTIFIED, hence the CPA (CERTIFIED Public Accountant) designation. 

Does anyone believe that these people do their own taxes??  I do NOT.  Maybe it should be a REQUIREMENT of the highest politicians that they should have to do their own taxes, without help.

Second, lets assume that these people made an “honest mistake”, and for this point I will highlight former Senator Tom Daschle.  This is not to say that he is worse than anyone else that cheats makes an “honest mistake” filing their taxes.  Mr. Daschle had to restate his earnings for tax years 2005 to 2007, because these were the years the alleged “mistakes” happened.  OK, not so bad so far.  The BAD part, that makes me so _______ (angry, frustrated, fed up, irate, incensed, etc. – pick your own descriptive word(s)), is that Mr. Daschle was AUDITED, by the IRS, for his tax year 2006.  Let me say that again,  Mr. Daschle was AUDITED, by the IRS, for the tax year 2005, one of the years that “honest mistakes” were made.  What happened after the AUDIT, you ask.

NOTHING, the IRS found NO problems with his taxes.  This tells me that one of three things has happened.  1) the IRS was involved with the “honest mistakes” and allowed them to continue, or 2) the IRS is INCOMPETENT to do their job, or 3) the tax code is soooooo complex that NO ONE can understand it any longer. 

If #1 is the case, we better have an independent investigation and people better be going to JAIL and paying substantial fines. 

As much as I complain about government and the people that work in government, it is hard for me to believe that the entire IRS is INCOMPETENT.  If #2 is the case then it we should DISMANTLE the IRS and make the tax code so simple, so that we do not need them any longer.

Personally, I believe that #3 is the likely culprit.

Also, I have a problem with all of these people making an “honest mistake” and not having to pay any PENALTIES.  It seems to me that the PENALTIES, that the IRS enforces, are entirely arbitrary/subjective and should be eliminated.  This is not “FAIR AND EQUAL” treatment, as dictated in the laws of the United States.  Anyone that has paid penalties should have them refunded.  Write your representatives and senators.

If I had to offer a solution today, I would be in favor of a National Sales Tax.  If you hear people argue that the tax is REGRESSIVE, tell them this can be remedied.  I would argue that the politicians determine a Basic Living Cost.  For this example, I will say $30,000/person/year.  I have picked this number, not because it should be the number, but because it makes the math easy.  I will also say that the National Sales Tax rate be set at 20% (for the same reasons).  If these are the numbers, I say that the Government should then send every person, with a social security number (or a NEW tax number), a check, every month, for $500 ($30,000 x 20% /12 months).  This should cover the taxes for basic living expenses for everyone.  This check should be sent to everyone, and if you are a dependent, then 1/2 your check goes to your caretaker and the other 1/2 gets put into an account for you when you turn 18.  This account could be used for three things only, education, house purchase, or retirement account.  If the minor passes away then this account reverts to the government.  Because it would be beneficial to everyone to make sure the government has your information, this would help solve many other issues (census, voting registration, place of residence, etc.)  I would also make penalties severe.  For instance, if it is proved that you knowingly accepted someone else’s funds, your payments would be permanently suspended.  If you are incarcerated for any crimes, your payments would be suspended for your incarceration.  I am sure that there are other examples.

Let me, and your representatives, know what you think.

Here is a list of resources used for research on this post:

Rahm Emmanuel

From the Illinois Review

http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2009/02/questions-remain-about-rahm-emanuels-taxes.html

Timothy Geithner

From the Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/18/AR2009011802070.html

Charles Rangel

From US News and World Report

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/sam-dealey/2008/09/15/sorry-charlie–rangel-makes-more-excuses-for-his-failure-to-pay-taxes.html

and New York Dailey News

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/09/10/2008-09-10_rep_charles_rangel_admits_he_messed_up_t-1.html

Tom Daschle

From ABC News

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/President44/story?id=6786608

Nancy Killefer

From CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/03/performance.nominee.withdraws/

Al Franken

From News Max

http://www.newsmax.com/kessler/al_franken_taxes/2009/02/06/179148.html

And CBS News

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/30/politics/politico/thecrypt/main4057466.shtml

Sarah Palin

From the Anchorage DAiley News

http://www.adn.com/palin/story/693695.html

Ron Kirk

From Fox News

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/02/trade-nominee-ron-kirk-pay-taxes/

And CBS News

http://cbs11tv.com/local/Ron.Kirk.US.2.948418.html

A possible 52,000 “rich Americans”

Frome the Financial Times

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cfb845ba-feee-11dd-b19a-000077b07658.html

And from Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/19/ubs-fraud-offshore-personal_finance-taxes_ubs.html

And from the Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123506522244024485.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us