sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, May 23, 2013

United States Code Title 26 - Reimagined

Today we see the head of an IRS Division standing on the Fifth Amendment before Congress because she has criminal liability for attacking the President's political enemies under the guise of USC 26. It's time to look at the tax code itself and to take away the ability for any president or potentate to wield it like a sword against political rivals.

The Internal Revenue Code of the United States of America (Title 26) is divided into 9834 sections. It's over ten times as long as the Bible (with none of the 'good news'). At nearly 4 million words, the U.S. tax law is so thick and complicated that businesses and individuals spend more than 6 billion hours a year complying with filing requirements, according to a report Wednesday by an independent government watchdog. Since 2001, Congress has made almost 5,000 changes to U.S. tax law. That's an average of more than one a day.

"If tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the United States," says the report by Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate.

Context and Precedence
According to the CCH Standard Tax Reporter, the U.S. tax code began with about 400 pages in 1913. Twenty-six years later there were still only 504 pages, but then it exploded to 8,200 pages by 1945. 
The tax code reached 60,000 pages in length before the end of the first term of President George W. Bush, and it reached to over 72,500 pages by the end of the third year of President Barack Obama’s first term of office. 
The total now exceeds 74,000 pages.
  • The Code is Too Complex.
  • The IRS expands like a feeding amoeba as Title 26 expands.
  • The Code feeds corruption. There are over 15,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC. The majority are lobbying over changes to the tax code. $3.2 billion was spent on lobbying in 2008. The US Congressmen on the House Ways and Means Committee received $55,157,458 in donations during the 2008 election cycle.
  • The Code is often used to tax morality and marginalize success rather than simply to raise revenue.
What is the Solution?

A flat federal tax on income irrespective of how much you make with no provisions for mortgage interest, no earned income credit, no exemptions for having children or paying medical bills. Just a flat tax. You earned this -- you pay that. I realize that this would be unpopular for the 49% of Americans who currently pay no Federal Income Tax, or people who bought homes planning on deducting mortgage interest. Charitable deductions are no longer tax free. Married and unmarried pay the same amount. Capital gains are income. All income is taxed equally. Your taxes would be simple to calculate and predictable. Vast federal bureaucracies would be reduced to small entities (saving money and your peace of mind).

QUESTION: What about the poor?

Answer: They live in the country and should bear the financial responsibilities for running the country too. Much of the 74,000 pages of current tax code is dedicated to protecting the rich, who have armies of attorneys working on ways for them to pay less. (figures lie and liars figure) I believe that the poor would be better off with this sort of system that levels the playing field.

QUESTION: What about loopholes? 

Answer: A loophole is a tax break that doesn't benefit you. If there are no breaks for anything, there are no loopholes.

QUESTION: What should the tax rate be? 

Answer: How much does the country need to take in to pay its bills? If it's 20% then the flat tax would be 20%. ObamaCare: If the nation wants it, maybe their tax goes up by 10% so that the uninsured would have coverage... You'd really feel the Obama charity in your pocket book rather than having it hidden from view.

China charges its citizens 18%, for example.

Imagine a tax code under 100 pages in length. Imagine the disaster that would befall the vast armies of CPA's and tax attorneys who make their living on the 74,000 page tax code who would be forced into another line of work. Imagine all of the IRS employees who would have to go out and find a 'real job'.

...You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

It's simply the only way to fix the problem. 

Or do nothing. By the end of this decade, the Tax code will likely exceed 100,000 pages with the ObamaCare disaster requiring more and more "adjustments" to find the money necessary to pay for the nation's healthcare.

My Take on Immigration Reform

Issue One - Voting Integrity

The first thing that every single country in the world besides the US has done is to vet citizens and then to issue identification, usually referred to as a voting card. In order to vote, you must have a card. The card is stamped when you vote and it's good for about ten elections before you need to renew the card. Your photo and fingerprints are on the card.

In the past there has been considerable push-back on the concept of a national identity card, but there is no way to discern which people in this country are here legally and are citizens (and can vote) and those who are here legally and can't vote (permanent resident aliens, felons, etc) and those who are here illegally and can't vote. Either we accept massive voting fraud which presently exists, or we accept national or state voting cards. 
Felons, who by their actions have been deprived of their right to vote, need to have cards issued that identify them as felons. Therefore they have status in the US, but not the full rights of other citizens, such as the right to bear arms and vote.
Until the issue of citizenship and voting has been resolved, there can be no discussion of immigration reform. 

Issue Two - Secure Borders

US Borders are not secure and ANYONE who wants to cross the border and enter the US without documentation can do so. The Mexican Border is more secure in places than the Canadian Border, but both are essentially wide open. We have fewer Mexicans coming north these days because:
  • The birthrate in Mexico has declined sharply over the past decade and will continue to decline off into the future, tending to match the birthrate of other developed nations.
  • The Mexican economy is growing at about 8%. The US economy is growing at about 1-2%. (You read about the projections, but the actual growth has been very small)
Secure borders means that they're genuinely secure. No discussion of reform can be considered until an acceptable level of security has been ACHIEVED.

Issue Three - Amnesty

The DREAM Act must be repealed. I have a solution for the DREAM babies. They can serve in the US Military for four years and receive citizenship upon their honorable discharge. Qualified DREAM babies can be granted "legal immigrant status for the purpose of enlistment ONLY".
In order for a non-citizen to enlist in the military under normal circumstances, he/she must first be a legal immigrant (with a green card), permamently residing in the United States. It's important to note that the military cannot and will not assist in the immigration process. One must immigrate first, using normal immigration quotas and procedures, and -- once they've established an address in the United States -- they can find a recruiter's office and apply for enlistment. This is the only accommodation that I feel is reasonable under the circumstances.
Others living in the US need to return to their country of origin without exception.  This solves the issue of illegals receiving welfare or using any benefits within the US. Tack on whatever sanctions you think appropriate. With solid borders, we can send them over the border if they're caught in the country without permission and that's that.

Fancy Congressional Tapdancing 

The Congress has a way of passing one law and of having the Executive Branch of government whittle it away until the original intent of the legislation has been eclipsed. (Lifeline - to - ObamaPhone is but one example of this evolution) Given this dismal record of failure (road to hell is paved with good intentions), immigration reform can take the form of quotas based on country and qualifications in much the way that they are now with the exception of any nation or nations which have been judged hostile to the United States. 
  • No nationals of nations hostile to the United States will be granted permanent resident status (Syria, Chechnya, Iran, Syria, etc.) with the exception of those who seek asylum and have been adjudicated under the strictest standards available. This means that human parasites such as Obama's aunt Zetuni and others of that class will NOT be granted any asylum status. The exception would be where an agency of the US Government (State, CIA, DOJ, DOD, etc.) takes responsibility for them (i.e. defector programs).
  • Students applying for legal status within the US for the purpose of studying will scrutinized by intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies. Federal money must be paid to the local police department where the student will reside so that the police can watch them. That would indicate that a student would have to escrow funds with the US for their term of study. If they go 'off the reservation' or violate any law, the bounty would revert to the police and to the federal government - with a court overseeing the process. No more terrorists masquerading as students.
Too harsh?

I realize that the standard charges of racisim, islamophobia, etc. could be leveled against this plan. It is clearly not aimed at generating more "guest" voters for the Democratic Party.