Thursday, May 5, 2016

May, 2016, Part 1, Political Class Insanity: A Broken Tax Code, Wasteful Government Spending, Saving the American Bison and More

It is the beginning of another month which means it is time again to review the latest political class insanity from the American political class. Each month it takes us multiple posts to cover the wasteful spending, incompetent government organizations and employees, government programs that usually make a problem worse than resolving it, inane and idiotic politician comments, etc. In fact, last month we set a record, needing ten full posts to cover it all.

To review past posts on this insanity and idiocy, just click on the first few posts in each month listed to the right of this page. After reviewing just a handful of these insanity posts we think you will agree that we are currently being served by the worst set of American politicians ever to hold office in our entire history.

It looks like our politicians have been especially insane over the past month or so let’s get started with the latest insanity from today’s American politicians:

1) As I am writing this, the country is facing the following problems:

  • The economy is still so bad that over 45 million Americans require Federal government food assistance every month, wages and household incomes are still stagnant, and the real unemployment rate is close to 10%.
  • Veterans are still not getting the medical treatment they were promised and deserve.
  • Our schools still do a lousy job at educating our kids.
  • Tens of thousands of Americans die every year from drug addiction.
  • Our borders still leak.
  • Our national debt is skyrocketing as Federal government spending is still out of control.
  • Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are hurtling towards insolvency.
But you can relax, Congress and the President are almost done addressing a real issue facing Americans. Congress has passed legislation that Obama is expected to sign that will officially make the American bison the official mammal of the United States. The National Bison Legacy Act will officially make the bison a “historical symbol of the United States.” In fact, one member of Congress, Congressman William Lacy Clay, went on record to proclaim: “No other indigenous species tells America’s story better….it’s “an enduring symbol of strength, Native American culture, and the boundless Western wildness.”

So let’s be thankful that the Washington political class is on the job. Our kids are dumb, our veterans are sick, our addicted are untreated, our hungry are still hungry but our politicians have moved boldly forward on the bison issue. Pathetic set of priorities from a pathetic set of people. 

If Obama had any class or real live priorities he would veto the bill and send it back to Congress with the strong recommendation to work on something, anything that is of consequence to the American people. But you know that is not going to happen given this President’s own set of horrendous priorities.

2) We just got through another tax filing season and most of us are probably worse off because of it, given how complicated and convoluted the tax code is. If you are feeling that way, you may want to take comfort in the reality that the IRS feels the same way.

According to a recent Heritage Foundation article by Brian Drockton and Romina Boccia, the IRS has finally admitted that the country’s tax code is too complicated to even enforce. Highlights from the article include the following realities:

  • The gap between what the IRS should be collecting from taxpayers and the whopping number of improper payments it sends out proves that the IRS does a horrible job administering the tax code today.
  • The IRS recently admitted as much with the following proclamation that “the complexity of the tax code makes the tax law too difficult for taxpayers to understand and for the IRS to administer.”
  • As the tax code gets more and more complicated, it provides willful tax evaders more opportunities to illegally avoid paying taxes and makes novice tax filers more likely to not pay as much as they are supposed to pay.
  • The complexity is so bad that the IRS readily admits that it failed to collect $385 BILLION in taxes it should have collected in 2015 and that it sent out more that $137 BILLION in improper payments in 2015.
  • Taken together, if the iRS had done its job properly, the Federal government would have not added to the national debt in 2015 since that year’s spending deficit was $468 BILLION, less than the amount of uncollected taxes and improper payments.
  • Taken another way, the IRS ineptness is equivalent to giving every American personal tax filer an incremental $4,000 or so a year.
Over half a TRILLION dollars of taxpayer wealth mismanaged every year. This is a disgrace of epic proportions and an insult to hardworking, taxpayer Americans everywhere. But instead of the Washington political class working to simplify and make the tax code easier to enforce and at the same time turn it into an instrument of economic growth as opposed to economic hinderance, Washington is putting the finishing touches on the National Bison Legacy Act. So much for that hypothetical $4,000 for each of us.

3) And while the IRS is probably the biggest waster of taxpayer wealth and incompetence in the Federal government, that same Heritage Foundation article pointed out some additional facts that are sure to tick off any taxpayer:

  • According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), so-called “improper payments” across the entire Federal bureaucracy have totalled over $1 TRILLION since 2003.
  • A whopping 73% of those improper payments came from just three government programs: Medicare, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
  • $90 billion in improper payments from Medicare and Medicaid were done in 2015 alone.
  • The Federal government spent $1 billion just in 2015 just to recover $4 billion in improper payments, resulting in $86 billion unrecovered.
  • The EITC is no better, with the IRS estimating that between 28% and 39% of all EITC payments were improperly issued in 2013.
  • This cost the American taxpayer about $24 billion.
From these annual numbers you can see how easy it is to get to the over $1 TRILLION that these and other programs have cost the American taxpayer over the years, a trend that looks like it is getting worse, not better. But thank goodness the bisons of this country are getting their rightful attention from the Washington political class [sarcasm].

4) One last piece of real insanity for today, this one from the President of the United States. As with most quotes from today’s politicians, I can never tell if they are really that out of touch with reality or they think we are too stupid to not to believe the fantasies they weave in their public statements. 

Consider Obama’s latest proclamation during a trip through Europe recently: “I want to begin with an observation that, given the challenges that we face in the world and the headlines we see every day, may seem improbable but it’s true. We are fortunate to be living in the most peaceful, most prosperous, most progressive era in human history. That may surprise young people who are watching TV or looking at your phones and it seems like only bad news comes through every day, but consider it’s been decades since the last war between major powers.”

Really? “The most peaceful, prosperous, and progressive era in human history?” Let’s take an inventory:

  • Syria is now a destroyed country and society with millions of Syrians dead, wounded or refugees.
  • Russia has invaded and occupied major parts of the Ukraine.
  • Major terrorist attacks have recently been launched in the United States (e.g. San Bernardino), Brussels, Paris, Turkey and elsewhere in the world.
  • By one count, there were about 450 suicide bomber attacks around the world last year.
  • Islamic terrorists are kidnapping and enslaving women and children across the Middle East and northern Africa.
  • Suicide bombings happen on a semi-regular basis in the capital cities of Iraq and Afghanistan despite massive U.S. military and economic involvement in those countries.
  • Saudi Arabia regularly engages in combat with Islamic terrorists in Yemen.
  • The Israelis and Palestinians are constantly fighting each other in one form or another.
  • Russian military assets continue to buzz American military assets around the world.
  • China is building and militarily staffing manmade islands in the South Pacific to extend its military reach and might.
  • Iran and North Korea are over seven years closer to becoming significant nuclear weapons players during Obama’s term in office.
  • Violent drug cartels are de facto rulers in many Central and South American countries.
  • Over 45 million Americans are getting food support every month from the Federal government, hardly the sign of a prosperous era in the world’s richest country.
  • Millions of refugees around the world are fighting to live day to day.
Again, does Obama and others in politics actually believe what they say, are they that delusional? Or do they think we will believe them vs. what we see everyday with our own eyes? It is a mystery for the ages but the reality is that they are unable to face reality and that failure results in them never resolving any important issue facing Americans today.

A good start to this month’s insanity. Delusional politicians, inept and wastefully operated government functions, and a tax code that just is not working for the country’s good. At least the bison got the recognition they deserve. Much more insanity to come in the following days.

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