But, as I’ve noted before, isn’t [Geithner’s tax problems] — together with Charlie Rangel’s problems — an argument for tax simplification? I mean, if the Chairman of Ways and Means, and the Treasury Secretary nominee — who’s head of a Federal Reserve Bank — can’t keep their taxes straight, how can the government expect the rest of us to?
Yes, I think tax simplification is the best idea that could possibly come out of this whole mess. But, uh, we should probably tread lightly with putting the idea in Obama’s head that filing taxes is too hard and something big should be done about it.
Because Obama already does have an idea to help address the problem — but it isn’t simplifying the tax code. Obama offers to have the IRS do your taxes for you:
Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans: Obama and Biden will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. Obama and Biden will ensure that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return. Experts estimate that the Obama-Biden proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.
Starting with filers of the simplest kind of return — the 1040 EZ — the IRS would estimate their tax burdens and simply send them a bill or a refund. Unless they choose to challenge the IRS, that would be the end of it. It would work much like property taxes do in most counties and municipalities. After the EZ filers, Simple Return could quickly expand to include everyone who takes the standard deduction, and then to others with more complicated situations — perhaps even me. Goolsbee writes that it could eventually apply to as many as 40 percent of U.S. taxpayers.
There you go – with the revelations of how hard it is for the Rangels and Geithners and Daschles of the world, is it not a small step to imagine that Obama would see this as a perfect opportunity to expand his plan (Obama, try and expand government power? You don’t say!) ensnaring as many people as possible.
Go read all of Freddoso’s article.
Afterall, it really does seem like a tax crisis when so many Obama nominees are this confounded by simply trying to fulfill their patriotic tax-paying duty.
Wait. Did I say crisis? Uh oh.
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,"
--Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to President Obama
Gird your loins! Hold onto your wallets!