The Coming Crisis
We live in a time of a great crisis. A defining time, where we must no longer sweep this crisis under the carpet, but boldly face it and say, "Yes, we can." This crisis affects many Americans, regardless of race, political party, wealth or influence. This crisis has been building for years - some would argue the better part of a century. This crisis has been ignored for far too long, by far too many in government.
Hard working Americans - those with their hands on the plow, their shoulder on the wheel - know the reality of this crisis. It's terrifying to think what will happen in just a few short months if something is not done. Already, there are those who've faced heartache, financial hardship, personal loss - all at the hands of this monster, this great behemoth of a crisis.
I for one am glad that the new administration acknowledges this crisis and is serious about what needs to be done. I applaud their creative method of illustrating this crisis to the rest of the country. I want them to know that it resonates with us, it speaks to us, it shows us that we are indeed as one, and that those in power face the same great crisis that affects us all. It's about time those in Washington admitted that there is indeed a problem, and that it is a great crisis.
While I am sure most already know to what I am referring - for those who are still out of touch, to those who may still think they are not - or will not be - affected, on behalf of the rest of the American people, let me be clear, let me bring this down to your level, let me condense this great tragic crisis to a single word:
What? Did you think that the new administration was serious when they pushed through the confirmation of Timothy Geithner? Of course not. A man who couldn't figure out how to pay his taxes is now running the IRS. It's an obvious attempt to illustrate the major failings of the United States tax system.
Even when his former employer gave him the self-employment tax in addition to his normal compensation - he still could not figure out how to send that money to the IRS. He claimed his children's summer camp as a tax deduction. Don't blame his accountant, because some years he prepared his taxes himself. After all, he is a financial genius.
Apparently this is how broken the system has become, not only could he not navigate the complex area of self-employment tax, but this situation has been referred to as a 'common mistake'.
Don't think I am insulting the man's intelligence - I am simply taking him at his word. It was a honest mistake. I am sure that it's just a nasty coincidence that he waited so long that the IRS couldn't audit some of his previous returns. I am sure it was not malicious when he clicked the 'employed' button on Turbo Tax and accidentally kept the extra six or so percent the IMF gave him.
To not only nominate, but get him confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury - that's not arrogance and hypocrisy on the part of the new administration. It's a vibrant new way to show that even the best among us are confused and intimidated by the over sized and inefficient tax system.
To emphasize the point further, the administration brought in Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer.
Daschel - who was to run Health and Human services - made the mistake of not paying taxes on the free chauffeur and car he was given (even Oprah had to learn that lesson the hard way).
Killefer - who was to be the brand new performance officer - just had some issues paying the District of Columbia unemployment tax efficiently. All these potential leaders of our nation just couldn't figure out their taxes. They didn't mean to keep more than their fair share, it's just such a confusing system.
It is the crisis of our time.
The tax code is so confusing, mistakes are so easy to make, perhaps it's time to just throw it all out. Maybe a flat tax would simplify things? Maybe everyone should have to pay their own taxes, like Geithner, so they know the struggles of the few who don't have withholding. Maybe we should just forget income tax, since it's so error ridden, and focus on a flat sales tax. That way Geithner wouldn't have to worry about the deductability of summer camp, he'd be paying taxes every time he could afford to send his kids there.
No matter what the solution, something needs to be done - they've all made that clear.
Perhaps once all the members of the current administration catch up on their taxes, we'll have enough to fund the stimulus bill.
Which, of course, is not really a stimulus, but the administration's hands-on way of illustrating the continual failure of socialism when put into practice.
Now this is change I can believe in.