June 19, 2009

Theme And Variations

It's almost as if neglect of the responsibility of filing tax returns (and paying taxes) is a qualification for service in the Obama Administration. I can't say that this is a "take-a-swipe-at-Democrats" thing because I don't recall an unusually-high number of Clinton or Carter appointees who had failed to file or pay their taxes. I certainly can't remember an unusually-high number of Republican appointees in the past three GOP Administrations. Before that, my political memory is somewhat hazy -- the last prominent Republican politician I can think of who got in serious tax trouble was Spiro Agnew.

Yes, that was some pretty serious tax trouble the Vice President got into back in the day. It wasn't as if Agnew could say, "Oops! My bad. Here, let me file an amended return and pay a penalty, that'll make it a-a-a-a-a-allll better." This most recent Obama appointee can get out of her problems in this more easy, less punitive way. Which is the way it should be -- if someone is willing to make it right with the government financially, and pay a heavy but not crushing penalty as a deterrent to others, that ought to be the end of pretty much any tax problem.

But somehow, Obama seems to be picking a lot of people like this. This is particularly galling, of course, given that this Administration (made up of a lot of people who couldn't be bothered to fill out a return much less write a check to pay their legally-required share of the burden of government) is very soon going to have no choice but to ask the rest of us to pay more than we have been.

If we had a consumption-based tax regime instead of an income tax, of course, none of this would have ever been a problem. I'm not a big fan of Mike Huckabee on a lot of things, but this was a pretty good idea he got floated out into the political dialogue. I hope other politicians -- of both parties and a wide variety of ideological stripes -- look at it seriously.

1 comment:

DaveBuck said...

I did a presentation on the FairTax and enjoyed the debate and skepticism. The biggest obstacle is that it is perceived as a regressive tax. I think it could get a lot of support (it is simple, efficient, and taxes consumption instead of production) except by the very liberal crowd who want extremely progressive taxes.