The Corner

Re: Obama Calls for Simpler Tax Code

Very good points from a reader:

When I was single (and thus had one income) and did not have a mortgage (and therefore did not itemize deductions), filling out my taxes was really simple and took about 15 minutes, using a 1040 EZ form.  I don’t think, however, that I have earned interest from only one bank since the time I was 20 because then I started school in Michigan and needed a bank account here, while still maintaining a bank account where my parents lived.  So, I’m not sure how many people this will really affect or even benefit. 

But, if the program were expanded, it would surely benefit the federal government.  Our taxes are not that complicated, especially with Turbo Tax, but I am sure that I would spend a lot more time documenting our charitables (which aren’t that significant, but still more than the VEEP’s) and making sure that we took every deductible possible (even the little ones like vehicle registrations) than a federal bureaucrat would do. 

It also strikes me that this program would provide incentives, intended or not, to behavior that is perceived to benefit the agenda of the Democratic Party.  Being single, not having a mortgage, not giving much to charity and not diversifying your investments would all receive a small benefit in not having to worry about filling out and filing your taxes every year.  I wonder, though, if you owe money, how will the federal government take care of getting the payment.  Oh, wait, they will know the name of your only financial institution and all your account numbers so that will be no problem at all.

Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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