Private: Tax drumbeating

Okay, so I’ve spared you my usual tax rants for several months now. I haven’t droned on about the President’s outrageous tax cut plan, the estate tax repeal, the budget problems in New York City, or the streamlined sales tax project.

My silence hasn’t been motivated by disinterest or a change of heart, but by a weary feeling that policies widening the chasm between the poor and the rich will prevail no matter what I say. But it’s 80 degrees outside, and sunny, and I’m about ready to pick up a nice, strong café con leche from Ray’s Deli. And a little tax talk suddenly seems like a good idea.

I’m glad to see USA Today putting out some sensible tax editorials. Hotel occupants across the nation awoke this morning to find, at their doorsteps, newspapers featuring the following articles:

Congress Hamstrings IRS (“The IRS estimates it could easily collect $80 billion in back taxes if it had the resources. The rise in tax avoidance coincides with cutbacks at the IRS…. During the past decade, its force of auditors has shrunk nearly in half, and the number of investigators is a third less, though total tax filings rose 14%. Criminal prosecutions have dropped by 50%, a new study by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Clearinghouse has found….”)

War costs, tax cuts: Bush sets unrealistic expectations (“Big tax cuts are the wrong solution at a time when the government is running record deficits and faces steep costs for the Iraq conflict.
And claims that the U.S. can afford it all — tax cuts, a war and mounting deficits — only encourage the kind of unrealistic thinking that caused the American public to tire of long-term commitments in the past….”)

(Via The Situation Room.)