Don’t Be Fooled And Used

As I pen this (early Monday morning) a former U.S. President and a sitting U.S. Senator are about to sit in courtrooms as defendants facing felony counts for white collar crimes. I’ve been paying attention to politics since 1960 and this is the first time I can remember that happening. Oh, and they are from different political parties, so it’s a bi-partisan problem. I also have a difficult time believing they are the only ones in history or currently on the political scene for that matter.

Among the results of white collar crimes is tax evasion. When taxes are unpaid one of two things, or their combination, happen: the honest taxpayer makes up the difference or we all suffer from programs that do not happen. (This occurs whether you are a direct beneficiary of the program or not. You have to live with the results of a “lesser society”.)

To the scene set in the opening paragraph please add the fact that credible news sources are reporting that the IRS has discovered a double dipping tax ploy by Donald Trump that may have cheated governments out of $100 million. To put that in perspective if you made $100,000 a year you have to work 1,000 years to make $100 million before taxes. Most Americans don’t make $100,000 a year and none live 1000 years.

The Republicans have convinced their base that the proposed increase in funding to the IRS is a bad policy. The right wing mythology is that the IRS will use the funds to employ some 80,000+ addition agents who will be armed with guns and come knocking on the doors of regular citizens like some jackbooted army. The reality is that the vast majority of the funding will be used to upgrade equipment (mainly computers) and hire more highly skilled auditors who can go after large, sophisticated white collar tax cheats.

The people the IRS already has are sufficient to audit W-2 employees and small businesses that can only cheat a tiny bit in the first place. I remember being audited when I was able to deduct on-the-road business expenses from my modest income. The young lady in question reviewed my receipts, ran some adding machine tapes and determined that I had in fact overpaid my taxes by a modest amount (I think it was like $20). I thanked her for her time, wished her a good weekend (it was a Friday afternoon), told her to have the IRS keep the difference and left. They don’t need scary guys with guns for the average Joe or Jane.

However, they need highly skilled people to catch the white collar guys in suits stealing millions. Don’t be fooled by right wing mythology and used by white collar criminals!

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