Monday, December 31, 2007

Let's use government's new surveillance powers to end tax cheating

According to the IRS, in 2001 tax cheats failed to pay $353 billion in income taxes they owed. That's a huge number—almost $1,200 per man, woman and child—and I doubt it's gotten smaller during Bush II's reign.

You don't really see anybody up in arms about it, though, do you? According to David Cay Johnston's terrific 2003 book, Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System To Benefit the Super Rich - and Cheat Everybody Else, there's a bipartisan "gentleman's agreement" in Congress to not push too hard on tax enforcement. Any bets on who owes the bulk of that $353 billion? Somehow I doubt it's destitute waitresses failing to report a couple of hundred bucks in tips.

But I digress. Obviously, the government could really use that $353 bil, and I know how to get it…

Now that King Bush has seized all these spiffy new surveillance powers for the government, he's in possession of the perfect tools to end tax cheating! (I can see the headlines now: "President declares War"!) What better way to catch cheaters than to monitor everyone's financial transactions in real time? Why, if they'd prosecute a few high-profile cheaters and really put the screws to them, everybody else would be scared straight pronto! (Oh, and those who had done nothing wrong would of course have nothing to fear.)

Just think what a blow it would be in the campaign to restore respect for the rule of law. And it should be easy to get the telephone/internet companies to go along, eh?

Heck, Bush could even give the rich another tax cut and still come out ahead. Brilliant!

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At 10:56 PM, Blogger davidcay said...

Thanks for the kind words on Perfectly Legal.
I hope you will also read my new book, out this week, called FREE LUNCH. It exposes hidden government policies that take many billions of dollars each year from the many to enrich the politically connected few.


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