Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

Yesterday was Tax Day. Normally that would have been Friday, but our Glorious Leaders in Washington D.C. put it off until Monday so they could celebrate Emancipation Day.

Ahhh the irony. I have no problem with celebrating the day Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, but it is a bit ironic to do so on Tax Day.

Especially given the fact Tax Freedom Day was just three days earlier.

What is this thing you speak of “Tax Freedom Day?” It’s the day when you’ve stopped working for the government and actually started working for yourself.

That’s right folks, just over three months of your hard work went to just pay taxes — if that ain’t slavery I don’t know what is.

This comes just days after President Barack Obama gave a speech in which he admitted to wanting to raise taxes yet higher. Granted he said he wants to raise them on “the wealthy,” but since just exactly what constitutes “wealthy” is a moving target, I’d like a bit more information, thank you very much.

This of course leaves aside the fact that poor people do not provide jobs for anyone. Well, that’s not quite true, we do have a plethora of government agencies whose sole function is to “help” the poor. Also seems to be the only place where jobs are being created.

There’s also the irony of who has to pay taxes. My son filed his first tax return this year. He was less than amused to find out he not only was not getting any money back from the feds, but he owed the state $20. The reason? Well he’s single, a college student, and made just a few thousand bucks last year. I don’t know anyone much poorer than a college student, so while the vast majority of the poor paid no taxes at all, he ends up ponying up.

Anybody starting to notice a pattern here?

The tax code makes no sense. Forty-nine percent of the population pays no taxes at all, or because of various tax credits actually gets more money back than they paid in. Of the 51 percent who actually pay taxes the top one percent actually pay nearly 40 percent of the total tax burden and the top 10 percent pay nearly 70 percent of the tax burden. So Obama would like to ask them to pay more. I’d like to know, when half the country is paying no taxes at all, what percentage of the total burden Mr. Obama thinks is fair.

What’s even more interesting is something an acquaintance of mine Larry Corriea noted in a post on his blog:

“A long time ago, some university did a test. They made up a fictitious family of 5, gave them dual income, some investments, some rental property, and a few other little things, nothing too weird or complicated, and then had 150 different CPAs, tax accounting companies, and even tax software packages prepare this family’s returns. They got 150 different answers. All of they were equally arguable as being correct. All of them were equally auditable and capable of being wrong. What does that tell you about the complexity of the tax code?”

By way of disclosure, in addition to being an author, Larry is also a CPA.

We have got to do something about a tax system which is so screwed up no one can actually be right when they do their taxes. For one thing it gives the IRS more than enough authority to screw anyone they want to.

Meanwhile Standard and Poors has just downgraded the United State’s long-term credit outlook from “stable” to “negative.” This is the first step in downgrading our AAA credit rating. Gas is hitting $4 a gallon and Congress deadlocks over cutting spending by $38 billion when our budget is over $1.5 trillion.

This is like something out of a Mel Brooks movie, except the whole thing isn’t funny. Folks we have an election coming in less than two years, provided the republic lasts that long. We best get serious about getting spending under control and getting a tax system that actually makes sense before the people who really are footing the bill decide to move to Upper Whosiwhatisstan and leave the rest of us here to starve.

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Columbus Advocate and the Baxter Springs News. He can be emailed at editorial@columbusdailyadv.com.)