Monday, March 16, 1998

Week of 03/16/1998

War of the Tax Words
What Is The "Scheme" And Who Is The "Schemer?"
- by David Matthews 2

It is said that politics is but a game. This intellectual bastion of idealistic superiority boasts of players big and small. Like gods sitting atop Mount Olympus, these players often decide the fate of the world with complete detachment. They know that at the end of the day, they won’t be personally harmed by the outcome of their events.

Politics is a war game, with the goal to conquer the intellectual playing field of the general public. Instead of guns, politicians use words. Knowledge and information are the ammunition that keeps the mouths flapping and the words flowing.

It is said that in war, the first casualty is the truth. And in this fantasy war game we call politics, it is no different.

For instance, what do you call a "scheme?" Wouldn’t you say, as I would, that a scheme is a nefarious plot? A hoax? A charade?

Well, the word "scheme" has fit into the vocabulary of the Clinton Administration to describe any new change that they don’t like. Have an idea to fix the tax system so it becomes more equitable for every American? Nope, can’t have that. That’s a "risky tax scheme."

Let’s look at it for a minute: you and I, right now, are paying taxes based on a tax bracket system that penalizes us for making more money. The more money we make, the higher up on the tax bracket we go, forcing us to pay even more taxes than before. The person who makes $200,000 per year has to pay not only a higher amount of taxes over the person who makes $20,000 per year, but also a higher percentage in taxes!

Why, you ask? Because the rich don’t really pay their "fair share" of taxes, or so we’re told. They get tax breaks and tax write-offs and tax deductions. Well, what about our own tax deductions and tax breaks? What makes those deductions any different?

The answer is, of course, that there is no difference. We don’t want to pay taxes, period. But we HAVE to, because there has to be some way to fund this nightmarish infrastructure politicians have the balls to define as our government.

To make matters worse, the only alternatives offered to the public come in the form of more tax breaks and deductions. Or, better yet, creating tax credits and calling them tax cuts, as if the two terms are interchangeable! Anyone with a working brain knows that a tax cut means less taxes, while an tax credit is a glorified IOU that can only be cashed in when it’s time to do the taxes. The result, of course, being a tax system that is so chaotic that not even ten accountants working on the same figures can fill out the same tax form!

So how is it that a fair and balanced way of paying taxes would be considered a "risky tax scheme?" The person who makes $200,000 would still pay more in taxes compared to the person who makes $20,000, only now they would be paying the same percentage. The government would still be getting its money. So who would be "defrauded" by it?

How about the same people who are benefiting from the current schizophrenic tax system? The politicians who manipulate the tax system so stealthily that we never know how much money we really make, only what we’re left with; the accountants who make their money off how complex the tax system is; and the financial services who hire the accountants. These are the people who will be hurt the most by anything resembling a flat tax, and they’re the ones who will move heaven and earth to stop that from happening.

Meanwhile, as usual, we’re getting screwed by the real "tax scheme," the one we are forced to pay.

Let’s get brutally honest here - the public doesn’t benefit from the current tax system. Instead, they are forced to endure endless twists and turns in a tax code written by bureaucrats to benefit even more bureaucrats. And to threaten to change that bureaucracy to benefit the people it is supposed to is suddenly called a "scheme." Given that the source of the accusation are master manipulators of the truth should only stand to prove that they are threatened by the measure.

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