The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Internal Revenue Service’

OUR LIVES ARE AN OPEN BOOK

The reality is that apparently Obamacare is going to move forward with the state exchanges open for business in October, 2013.  It will probably take a little bit of time for us to really see the full impact of how poorly designed this law was from inception.

Of course, by illegally deferring the employer reporting mandate, the administration put off (until after the mid-term elections) some of the effect this portion of the law would have in reducing the number of workers who will have their work weeks cut in order to avoid the act’s onerous requirements.  So we will have to wait until 2015 to see how harmfully this affects the economy and “recovery”.

Of course, now that Congress has gained an exemption for themselves and their staffers and then gone on vacation (although they have a long way to go to catch up with the vacation time the Prez has taken), these esteemed lawmakers can just sit back and let the dice roll as the Obamacare craps game plays itself out.

That, of course, is really only the concern for those of us who remain who actually will be compelled to obey the law.  The unions who were ardent advocates for the passage of universal coverage have now looked at the law (probably ahead of former Speaker Nancy (Pip Squeak) Pelosi and decided that it reeks and have asked for exemptions.  This includes the union representing those who are given the responsibility of administering a significant portion of the law – the IRS.

While we do not know how much of this law will play out – whether we include the limitation of services (death panels), the actual cost of obtaining insurance, whether the predication of Obamacare’s success that younger, healthier people will actually enroll or just pay the rather minimal penalty that will apply in its first year of existence which could sink it, there is one thing that we do know now.

The administration (translation Health and Human Services) which has had nearly four years to develop a secure system to maintain the personal information to which it will be entrusted, has yet to test their system and prove that it is hacker-proof and secure.  It missed its first deadline to do so earlier this year and is going to try again later this month.  We will need to see if they are able to accomplish this.

The IT systems developers with whom I have spoken have unanimously doubted the likelihood that this test will prove the system to be secure.  Their experience suggests that a system of this scope and magnitude needs one to two years of constant testing before it is safe to unleash.

You’ve probably heard of a service called “Life Lock” which is supposed to protect your financial information from hacker intrusion.  There are a number of such services which attempt to alert us and provide early detection against hacker intrusion into our private financial records.  But what this service protects against, the amount of data that they monitor on our behalf, is so small compared with that which will be collected under Obamacare that it pales in comparison.

Imagine listing not only your social security number, your DOB, your home address, your marital status but add to that your entire health history – all reposited in one unsecure data base.  What a field day for our hacker friends to gain complete access to our most intimate, private matters.  Are you comfortable with exposing your life to anyone who is clever enough to hack into these servers?

But let’s assume, and this is a big assumption, that HHS is successful in implementing a secure system.  We will have eliminated one threat – or so we hope.  But there is another that might be even more dangerous.

Think about the bureaucrats who will have access to all that personal information.  Under normal circumstances and with a functional administration that conducted its affairs based on some at least minimal moral standard, that might not be much of a concern.  But that is not this administration.

We have all heard President Obama descry those who are “distracting the American people by raising the specter of all the ‘phony scandals.’”   Those, of course include the truth about Benghazi; the revelation that the IRS not only targeted conservative organizations – delaying their approving tax exempt status for purely political reasons – but the latest part of that “phony scandal” that they apparently communicated information to the Federal Elections Commission and redacted (translation deleted) certain information which they might have had to supply to Congressional committees based on what their friends at the DEA taught them; and, of course, the last “phony scandal” that the NSA has actively been collecting information on law abiding Americans and archiving what we once thought was personal, privileged communications.

My grammar school English teachers would have raked me across the coals for producing something akin to that last lengthy paragraph.  But when the administration continues to provide so much fodder, it’s hard not to run on a bit too long.

With an ever-growing list of such malevolence, it’s simply too great a leap of faith to believe that those in this administration will not use whatever information is available to benefit their own political agenda and not the citizens of this country.

reallyyoustilltrustthegovernment

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THE PATCHWORK QUILT

I have a cousin who gathers little scraps of material and assembles them into some of the most wonderful patchwork quilts I have ever seen.  I think she’s made over one hundred of them and each is truly a testament to her dedication and artistry.  She’s never sold one but has entered them in many exhibits and won many prizes.  Quilting is a dying art – perhaps because the materials and the artisan were made in America.

In reading today that Sen. Marco Rubio (R) FL offered a heartfelt proposal to exempt our Olympic medal winners from paying Federal income tax on their prize awards, ($25,000 for gold; $15,000 for silver; $10,000 for bronze), I understand his sense of pride in those Americans who will take home medals.  I also understand his desire to encourage more young people to reach for excellence instead of settling for mediocrity.

I even understand President Obama’s endorsement of this proposal as, surely, no right-thinking (or even left-thinking) American is likely to oppose it – and we know what motivates the President’s thinking on most matters of public policy – the polls.

I like and admire Senator Rubio a great deal.  I think he is one of the few bright lights of any political affiliation in America today.  We need more people like him if we are to move forward and pull ourselves out of the mire in which we have willingly ensnared ourselves through our apathy as voters.  But I think that, in this matter, Senator Rubio is wrong.

We have a tax code (IRC) that is 62,000 pages long.  And it got that way because we started creating special exemptions, tax credits and rules for specific interest groups.  They might have been farmers or hedge fund managers or pharmaceutical companies and now, perhaps, Olympic medal winners.  That is why this Byzantine piece of legislation needs to be replaced with something that is actually functional and understandable.

Now into the fray over Gov. Romney’s tax returns enter Sen. Majority Leader Harry (I’ve-never-had-an-original-idea-or-a-job-not-paid-for-by-the-public-dole) Reid (D) NV with his allegations that the man hasn’t paid taxes for ten years and he has proof.  That’s interesting since I just wrote a post on this subject, reviewed the Governor’s 2011 return which is posted on line and saw that he, in fact, did pay taxes – a lot of taxes – if you consider a couple of million to be a lot.

So on the face of it, the Senator’s statement is obviously untruthful – and it took President Obama little time at all to distance himself from the remark.  But let’s assume, just for fun, that he was referring to the ten years ending in 2010 and that he is correct.

Well, there are only two explanations why this could be:

One, Governor Romney “cheated” and filed fraudulent returns for ten years.  My question is that if that is true, why didn’t anyone among the 100,000 plus employees in the IRS pick up on that and send him a “Notice of Deficiency.”  I mean, after all, that’s why we pay them, isn’t it?

Two, Governor Romney filed his returns correctly according to the IRC to which, in his 29 years in Congress, Sen. Reid helped add further exemptions, exclusions and special interest credits.

So assuming scenario two, who is at fault?  Is it Governor Romney for obeying the law?  Or is it the simpletons and self-serving members of the Congressional Aristocracy who enabled him and many others to do so?

Patchwork quilts are a work of art, but not when it comes to preparing an equitable tax code.

YOUR TAX PESOS AT WORK

Between J. P. Morgan Chase’s $2 Billion trading loss and the video below which I have linked for your viewing enjoyment – I guess this is a weekend to write about financial matters.

The video is from an Indianapolis news station and details their investigation into how the IRS is sending our tax dollars to illegal immigrants based on fraudulent returns in which they are claiming credits for children who live in Mexico.

This is not meant to be an indictment or statement about illegal aliens, but rather, a statement about the people who run our tax collection system – all one hundred thousand of them.

As you will see, this fraud costs the Treasury approximately $4.2 Billion per year.  But that is not the most disheartening aspect of the problem.  What is discouraging is that the IRS has been aware of the problem for years – and has done nothing to stop it.

For those who think that the solution to all our problems is enacting even more regulations, perhaps you may reconsider your position after you see how those who run the government turn your tax dollars into pesos.

Incidentally, when you click on the link you will see a popup asking whether you would like to subscribe to the site that provided the video.  You do not need to do so in order to view this piece – merely “X” out of the box.

http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d09acbc15543c8083c507e85c&id=6bf9a2273b&e=6661d79a70

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