Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Six

Time For Change?

One of the problems that has always plagued us is the clear disconnect between taxation and electoral responsibility for those who legally raise them.  It’s not accidental that Tax Day is April 15th, a full six months before election day. I want Americans to hold elected representatives responsible for the fiscal condition of the country, and the taxes that condition will naturally necessitate.  Since our Federal elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even years, I think we should move tax day to the first Monday in November.  The truth is that for quarterly filers, this won’t make so large a difference, and in the main, it would seem a symbolic measure, but I think that it’s a worthy symbol.  After all, many voters go to the polls thinking about what they want, but for a change, I think it would be better if when they start marking their ballots, they instead should be thinking about the costs.

Of course, this presents another problem that needs to be reformed.  For some of those voters, the day they file their tax return is an occasion for celebration rather than a day of mourning.  Some of that is because a fair number of people over-withhold throughout the year in order to avoid getting hit with a big tax bill, but more of it is because some people get refunds in excess of what they had withheld in income taxes altogether.  You might ask yourself how it is possible that one can receive a refund higher than one has paid in, but Congress has an answer:  The Earned Income Tax Credit.  Effectively, all you need to do is earn a minimal amount of income.  It doesn’t take much income to qualify, and then you are eligible to receive a credit that may be more(and usually is) than the amount of income taxes you’ve had withheld.

One of the constant scams is people who receive various welfare benefits will work a couple of months out of the year, at a low wage job or two, and this will be enough “earned income” to make them eligible for free money.  Some recipients actually refer to it as their “IRS Bonus check.”  I kid you not.  This program is also why we have 47% of tax return filers who pay no net income taxes.  For this segment of the population, there is no stigma attached to tax day, because for them, by the time April 15th rolls around, they’ve long since submitted their returns, gotten their refunds including their credit, and they’ve spent it.

Some of you will doubtless think I’m joking, or that I have somehow concocted this as some sort of literary device, but I assure you that it is real, and that like so many extensions of the welfare state, it acts as a disincentive to work.  Therefore, along with moving tax day, I submit that we make another law: No tax refunds of any ind in excess of what has been withheld.  It’s contrary to the notion of welfare as a hand up, and it’s opposed to the notion of the tax code as a program to raise federal revenues.  So long as we’re stuck with the 16th Amendment and the grotesque tax system it birthed, nobody should be receiving money as a net gain from the system of taxation, and besides: We’re constantly reminded that everyone should have some skin in the game.  I think that’s true, but when I say “everyone,” I actually mean it.  Combining these two reforms as one single step will cause more serious evaluations of candidates by voters.  If we’re going to save the country, it’s one more thing in the laundry list that we’ll need to fix.


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4 Responses to Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Six

  1. Tom Petricka says:

    Great ideas but can you imagine the dems accusing us of "raising taxes on the poor"…..
    I do like the November inauguration a lot.
    Can you imagine that Obama can do if he is defeated in November. He'll have 2 1/2 months to vent his anger and further ruin this country.

  2. Mary M. says:

    Mark, I agree with you 100%. I see many people happily spending their "tax refunds" which are far greater than anything they paid in. Also, with each child they have (tax exemptions/credits), this "refund" gets even larger, and creates the incentive to have more children. It's really a messed up system, but it's gone on so long that I doubt there's a person on earth who can get it changed.
    Thank you for all your articles–I read them every evening after work, and while I don't leave a reply each time, I am out here reading/listening. Who is John Galt? …she wrote it so well…
    Don't give up! We need you.

  3. Hank says:

    "Earned income credit" is a misnomer. That is unless one considers contriving various was to play the system, to their own advantage and our cost, a legitimate vocation as well as an avocation. It is too bad that some of these "great minds" can't be directed in a way that is more beneficial to society. In the dark corners of some of these minds could lurk a cure to many of societies ills but instead they are being molded by a scant few to their own advantages and not the general population.

    Years ago in the age of the dial telephone a student at Rensselaer Polytech discovered a way to get a dial tone on a pay phone without needing any money to do it. In the end he was offered jail time or a position at "Ma Bell" (phone company). He took the obvious.

    As far as moving the various dates around as you noted above…it is a good idea but the inside "DC class" will not stand for it. They are playing upon the fact that people tend to forget what they had last night for supper. They surely will forget in November what happened in April. (Subtitled The"Dumbing" down of America) Thank you drive-by media.

    Enough said for now. Mark, you make me think even more. Thanks.

  4. Hank says:

    OOPS!! Forgot to check the boxes below.