Today is April 15th. As you know, this is the day when most of us would normally file our taxes. This year, we get a short reprieve — tax filings are not technically due until Monday, thanks to a holiday observed in the District of Columbia. Doesn’t that make you feel better? In honor of Tax Day, I thought it would be “fun” to stick with the theme of taxes and how Big Government spends your money.
Editor’s Note: This piece was originally written Friday, April 15.
Today is April 15th. As you know, this is the day when most of us would normally file our taxes. This year, we get a short reprieve — tax filings are not technically due until Monday, thanks to a holiday observed in the District of Columbia. Doesn’t that make you feel better?
In honor of Tax Day, I thought it would be “fun” to stick with the theme of taxes and how Big Government spends your money.
An analysis by the Pew Research Center makes it clear that the United States already has a very progressive tax system, in spite of all the complaints from the left. For example:
Roughly 3% of taxpayers (those with adjusted gross incomes of $250,000 and more) pay 52% of all personal income taxes collected by the federal government.
16% of taxpayers (those with adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 and more) pay 80% of all personal income taxes collected by the federal government.
The remaining 84% of taxpayers pay just 20% of all income taxes collected.
Think about that for a moment. The vast majority of the federal government is funded by a very small segment of society.
And guess what? It’s still not enough!
Last year, the federal government spent $440 billion more than it raised in tax revenues. That’s an incomprehensible figure.
If you compared the government’s spending to that of a typical American household, here’s what it would look like:
The typical American family makes about $52,000 a year.
If that family spent money like the federal government spends money, it would spend $61,000 a year.
That means it is charging about $9,000 a year on a credit card.
And that doesn’t even begin to address the $19 trillion national debt or $311,000 debt for our example family above.
Something has to be done to address our deficit spending. No doubt there will be some difficult choices along the way. But there are plenty of easy ones that should be made now.
For example, in a new report, the Government Accountability Office identified nearly 100 recommendations to save the taxpayers’ money. Here are a few examples:
Nearly $400 million could be saved by consolidating federal government cell phone contracts. Last year, only five of 15 agencies could tell the GAO how many cell phones and plans they had.
Last year the Pentagon destroyed more than $100 million worth of excess ammunition. The GAO suggests that rather than “demilitarizing and disposing” of excess ammunition, it should be shared with other law enforcement agencies that need it.
Not surprisingly, the GAO found a lot of duplicated programs and inefficiencies in Obamacare. Among its findings: “some hospitals’ total Medicaid payments exceeded the hospitals’ total operating cost.”
All told, the GAO’s recommendations to eliminate wasteful spending could save taxpayers $125 billion over time.
One government agency in desperate need of reform is the IRS. In 2013, the agency estimated that it issued more than $6 billion in fraudulent tax refunds. Much of that is going to illegal immigrants. That fraud likely exceeded $20 billion last year.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified on Capitol Hill this week. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana asked Koskinen why his agency continues to process returns that it knows are fraudulent. The IRS simply ignores warnings from the Social Security Administration that names and Social Security numbers don’t match.
Koskinen essentially shrugged. As long as illegal immigrants are filing their returns, he’s happy.
I thought we put people in jail for tax fraud!
For this gross mismanagement and a multitude of offenses related to the Tea Party targeting scandal, 62 House Republicans are co-sponsoring a resolution to impeach Commissioner Koskinen. Several leading conservatives took to the House floor yesterday to renew their demand for his removal.
I agree. Remove him now!
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