I Smell a Rat

By: Christine Biediger

While listening to yet another socialist rant from our President about how “millionaires and billionaires” – people like him — should be taxed higher (so as to pay “their fair share”), I began to smell something nasty, albeit familiar, from the left wing of our government. I began to smell a rat.

The Democrats are promising to ride in on their white horses to save the economic day by simply taking more from the rich ‘nobility’, and giving it to the poor ‘peasants’. Sounds great! These rich, liberal, Washington elitists pledge their unwavering commitment to this mantra of taking more money from, well, themselves and others like them, in order to spread it around to others who don’t have as much. Yes, these are the very same people who hang out on the weekends with their rich friends; they are the ones who rub elbows in the White House with the coolest, richest celebrities; the ones who politically survive on large campaign donations from rich lawyers, CEO’s and Wall Street executives; and let’s not forget – these are the same people who have become very rich, themselves, by their humble service to We the People. Thank goodness someone finally thought of this! And just in time for the next election, when we (the unwashed masses) will cast our votes, perhaps for our Democrat heroes, who in one fell swoop of their legislative pen, will restore economic prosperity.

Back to reality. The gut feeling I had while listening to the President’s ‘tax the rich’ campaign promise, was that it seemed phony, fake, and a big lie. So, I went to my trusty laptop and did a search for “how many pages is the IRS tax code?” Low and behold, I found some answers at Answers.com (I like to keep things simple): in “2010 the U.S. tax code is 71,684 pages in length.” Now, I don’t know how accurate this WikiAnswers website is, but let’s just suffice it to say that the tax code is really, really long. Another interesting tidbit on the page caught my attention: “It was 16,845 pages in Y2006.” Again, since I’m not sure of the integrity of this information, let’s just say that only four years prior to 2010, the number of pages of the tax code was really, really much less than 71,684.

I’m no accountant or tax expert; in fact I will fully disclose that my husband files our returns, each year. But, my understanding is that the tax code contains the laws of taxation imposed by the U.S. federal government. Luckily, my husband does not need to peruse very many pages of the massive tax code, as we are not millionaires, billionaires, or even two-hundred-fifty-thousandaires.

The reason the code is so long, is due to the nature of our tax laws. The IRS is simply the agency which collects the taxes and enforces the tax laws. It is the House of Representatives who is responsible for creating legislation that becomes tax law. As such, members of Congress can draft laws which might (coincidentally, I’m sure) benefit a rich person or company who has (let’s just suppose) helped that Congressman, in the past (oh, let’s say campaign funding, for example).

There are numerous deductions and loopholes that have been built into the tax code and that are available to various individuals, businesses, corporations, and other taxable entities. It is perhaps true that many of these laws were created to help the greater good of the taxpaying, American workforce. But, in all fairness, one would also have to be honest enough to admit that many of the laws are simply favors and kickbacks to wealthy elites. Ordinary, average people don’t have the resources to make use of this behemoth code. It was never intended for us. It was intended for rich people to protect their wealth from the government, and their friends in Congress made that possible. This type of shameful behavior is one thing for which Republicans and Democrats are equally guilty. They both created this mess.

But what exactly is the mess? It is simply 71,684 pages of tricks that allow Washington lawmakers, and their rich, supportive friends, to give less of their wealth to the government. Rich people can afford to employ teams of lawyers and accountants to scour the tax code for any and all deductions so that their tax burden — their fair share, so to speak — is minimized. Curious then, isn’t it, that after helping to create so many favorable tax situations for rich people over the years, Democrats would now have such an extreme change of heart? It gets even ‘curiouser’, if we look closer at the second figure from the WikiAnswers website. According to their number, in 2006 there were only 16,845 pages.

Thinking back, I think I remember that 2006, the House of Representatives returned to Democrat control, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Curiouser still is the fact that Pelosi reigned until 2010, which is the other year that Wiki reported. That means that in the period of four years, the Democrats in the House wrote tax law that increased the number of pages in the tax code by 326%.

One has to wonder at such dramatic and truly awe-inspiring diligence aimed at escalating the amount of tax laws, while the Democrats were in control – a 326% increase in the page count! Keep in mind that during this same period of time these people were also frantically saving our country from economic devastation by such legislative miracle-making as can be seen in the tens of thousands of pages of stimulus, Obamacare, Wall Street reform, and so much more. They worked so hard! You would have to assume that at least some of what was added to the tax code included more exemptions for rich people. So, it is a little perplexing that just one year later, these same Democrats, who must certainly be exhausted from their herculean efforts to minimize the tax liabilities for themselves and their rich, crony friends, would now descend from the heavens as angels of fairness.

Did they suddenly have an abrupt change of heart? Do they not realize that if they tax rich people more, they might undo all of their hard work? Did they suddenly ‘get religion’, so to speak? To believe this, would require enormous faith that our lawmakers in Washington are truly interested in helping ‘We the Peasants’ – I mean ‘People’. We would have to believe that the Democrats, unaware of the enormity of their industrious endeavor in passing a flurry of new tax code, suddenly looked up one day and admitted the error of their ways. Can we really believe that now, they simply want to right the wrong they helped to create, so they are calling for higher taxes on the rich? The same rich people they just spent four years trying to help?

That calls for a higher level of faith than I can muster. I maintain my faith in my sense of smell…and I definitely smell a rat!

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