As our annual date with the taxman rolls around — April 15 (a Monday this year) — we continue to be in awe at why the population hasn't risen up and lynched those who write the tax laws and conspire to keep those regulations mired in a pit of confusion.
You may remember last year's presidential debates. It seems almost every candidate, including the incumbent, who already has had four years to do something about the tax laws, talked about the need to make those laws simpler. But their tongues were dripping with lies like poison drips from the tongues of Komodo dragons.
For the fact is that complex tax laws benefit politicians who make them up. They use the now-20,000-page tax code to reward their friends and punish their enemies.
We, the poor schmucks who pay taxes, are caught in the middle. We are paying so that others don't have to.
If a miracle happened, and all deductions and shelters were eliminated, the tax burden would be shared in a fairer way. But that is about the last thing Congress and the president want. They want their political pals to enjoy lighter taxes, and their political enemies to have to pay more.
A good example are taxes on behavior that politicians don't like. Some politicians, for instance, want to tax fatty foods because they don't like people gaining any more weight. Others want more taxes on cigarettes, even though cigarettes already carry big tax burdens. These politicians don't like people who smoke.
Some in Congress have suggested eliminating the deduction for interest homeowners pay on their mortgages. That, and states such as California, want to raise property taxes. Why hit homeowners for more taxes? Because homeowners are stable and easy to collect from.
The tax code is dumbfounding, but the government and corporations hide behind it like burglars hide behind bushes.