Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Tax Day

April 15, 2009

ECONOMY-CALIFORNIA/TAXESToday is tax day, one of the least favorite days on many Americans’ calendars. Expect long lines at the post office and lots of grumbling.

Anti-gummint types are stagingĀ  anti-tax “Tea Parties” around the country, including one in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House at 10:00.

Another prominent day on the tax calendar has already passed. Tax Freedom Day, the day in which the average American has earned enough to cover his tax burden for the year, ocurred on April 13 — the earliest date since 1967.

The early date is thanks to tax cuts included in the stimulus package and reduced tax collections due to the recession, says the Tax Foundation, the think tank that runs the calculation. Guess there’s a silver lining to all this economic gloom and doom after all.

President Obama will attempt to gild the lily at noon, when he talks about “restoring fairness to the tax code and providing tax relief to working families,” according to the White House.

In other news, Richard Phillips, the cargo ship captain rescued from the clutches of nefarious Somali pirates, arrives back in the United States at Andrews Air Force Base late in the evening. No word on whether he’s getting an IRS extension.

photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten (Anti-tax activists march in Santa Barbara, California, on April 4.)

For more Reuters political coverage, click here.

Comments
11 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I have found that most people recognize the need for taxes and are willing to pay their fare share. The two biggest issues is the current tax code is convoluted and not fare. It cost me $168 to complete my taxes this year. Paying taxes is bad enough but haveing to pay others so you are sure you have your taxes done correctly is just not right. The Congress has the power to simplify the tax code. I suggest we either go to a flat percentage which is collected by the employer and you only need to file if you made less than a minimum annual amount or replace the income tax with a federal sales tax where if you make below a minimum per quarter you can file for a return of an estimated amount or actual amounts if you have the receipts to back it up. I really lean towards the latter because the wealthy spend the most. Many spend more in a normal day than I make in a month.

If we taxed all retail sales of goods and services it is my opinion the tax would be small. In 2007 the GNP was $14.4 Trillion while they collected about 2.5 trillion. That would requier a 17.36% tax. Now make sure that when the pass this bill their are strict limits on ability of Congress to change the tax. Make sure it takes a vote. So, the more you save the less you pay and the more you spend the more you pay and there are no more fees for tax preperation and no more income tax deductions from each pay check.

We need something other than the current tax code and soon.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive
 

I agree with what B.Free said and urge people to take a few moments out of their day to go to http://www.fairtax.org They have a solution to the current mess our country is facing.

Posted by Fairtax DotOrg | Report as abusive
 

I don’t mind paying taxes of some sort, but the older you get the worse it gets. You get your kids raised – no more deductions – pay more taxes. It cost me 190.00 to have my taxes figured and after paying in over 14000.00 in withholding and putting 10% in our 401K’s we still had to pay 465.00 and we claim married & O and take out an extra 50.00 per payday per check. I pay more in than some people even make and these people since they have several kids get around 3000 to 5000 back each year. Where is the justice and fairness in this. I am all for some kinda of flat tax – we already pay sales tax in Texas. Let me pay a certain amount and not have to file any income tax and take away the stress of today

S. Beasley/Texas

Posted by S. Beasley | Report as abusive
 

Unfortunately, the flat tax will increase with time and keep increasing to support the continued bloating of the federal government. It is nice thought to think congress would keep the flat tax right where it is at, but it won’t happen. They will find a way to increase rates because that’s what they do and will do.

No matter what low taxes are really the way to do. We don’t need the government treating us like it is our parent.

Thank you very much, but no thanks!

Posted by TC | Report as abusive
 

So they think setting the tax rate back to where they were under the Clinton Administration is now socialism?

That the wealthiest people are actually being taxed 10% less than they were under Reagan?

They’re angry that the wealthiest are having their taxes increased by 3%?

This is some powerful stupid.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive
 

Yeah, it’s a really interesting topic… this type of thing has been done nearly every year by the libertarians to abolish the IRS and there are some valid Constitutional points to this. However, what certain news organizations have done is to try to make this issue a purely Republican one. A lot of Repubs got behind the issue and I really doubt they knew what they were actually protesting. The taxes that most, if not all, the attendees have paid actually lowered (using tax credits mainly). The only taxes that “raised” were the top bracket, and those really just returned to the previous tax rate before the Bush tax cut.

The real focus of this protest should have been to create a simpler, more efficient and effective tax policy. Obama has instructed his economic team to do this, and I really would like them to take FairTax into consideration. Not because I am in favor of this position (though I do think it makes sense in most ways) but because it is an already planned and well supported (amongst economists as well) policy. If there is a better way to make the tax system efficient then let’s go for it. As it is now (according to a recent research article) corporations have dodged billions upon billions of tax money by relocating to off-shore areas. Essentially corporate taxes (and labor costs) cause them to move jobs to overseas locations, so that’s something we need to discuss. Of course VAT is not what I want, but a national sales tax can work, as long as the federal gov’t does not get overly bloated and continues to commit to more efficient practices. In Florida we have a state sales tax and no income tax. In the recent economic decline this has forced spending cuts (mostly in education since politicians here love to do that), but we’re not dead in the water or anything.

I agree that Congress will always try to raise a flat tax or nat’l sales tax, but that’s when most citizens will really see and feel that effect and elect officials that will not vote for that. With our income tax system we “withhold” taxes so essentially most citizens do not “feel” the impact, only see it as a number on their paycheck, but not the one that matters most (net income). So do we do nothing or do we protest with teabags on our hats about a false reason of “extreme tax hikes” or do we actually provide a legitimate argument for a new and better system? But alas, intellect is often given the backseat to the ultimate driver – emotion.

Posted by TH | Report as abusive
 

this isn’t about taxes. Obviously, Obama has lowered taxes for 95% of Americans.

this was an excuse for every crackpot & loose cannon that has sour grapes against Obama being our president.

There were some there with legitimate concerns about govt. spending, but the vast majority held signs that ranged from comparing Obama to Hitler to outward racism.

But don’t take my word. Watch the footage. And not just the footage that Fox News showed.

Posted by sf | Report as abusive
 

The problem is the SPENDING like there is no tomorrow. Stop spending and the tax problem goes away.

Posted by truthbetold | Report as abusive
 

Actually I went to one of the tea parties. The big issue is that we are spending more money in Obama’s first year on stimulus, borrowed money I might add, and bailouts, which still end in bankruptcy, than we spent on Iraq and Afghanistan so far.

From many of the signs protestors are holding in pictures from sites that aren’t trying to just marginalize the tens of thousands that showed up, it appears that the focus is the same all over the country. We are spending money we don’t have, it’s not working, and lets not forget we are STILL spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then there is the fact that our tax money is going to pay people’s mortgages when those of us who are working are having trouble paying our own rent or mortgage. There is no law saying you have to own your own home and I have to pay for it!!!!!

Posted by Derak | Report as abusive
 

“Stop spending and the tax problem goes away.” OK, tell me where we should stop spending. Iraq and Afghanistan? Courts, police and prisons? Social Security? Anyone can say “stop spending”, that’s the easy part. The hard part is getting people to say “stop spending on me”, so I guess you’ve volunteered to have the government stop spending for you, truthbetold, is that it?

Posted by bor | Report as abusive
 

sadly, this is the gist of the entire Republican opposition. They’re adamantly against pork….unless it’s their pork.

the argument against spending on taking the future of this country in positive directions is as flaccid as the “let it fail” stance.

Can you imagine if McCain had been elected & he took this stance? “Hang on folks, we’re just gonna do nothing. Hopefully it’ll turn out all right in a few years.” He’d be run out on a rail.

Posted by sf | Report as abusive
 

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