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Delaware
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sweat The Small Stuff

Must Read

Registration for phase 1B opens Wednesday on new state site; focus on 65 and up

The state expects more people to ask for vaccine than is available, so it will triage the requests according to age, medical condition and risk factors.

Prominent Democrat among those vaccinated Friday in Wilmington

Vaccine site personnel were authorized to call some people over 65 to get shots, and that allowed some uninvited people to be vaccinated.

State opens vaccines to 1b, is creating appointment system; test at Salesianum included senior groups

People who got vaccines and weren't supposed to Saturday in Dover has led the state to create system so people register for specific times.
Joanne Butler
Joanne Butler
Joanne Butler of Wilmington is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a former professional staff member of the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

While our presidential candidates grandly speak of transforming America, I have a more prosaic question:  Who will pay attention to the small stuff?  No, not silly small stuff, such as President Jimmy Carter fussing over the White House tennis court schedule, but stuff like … collecting a billion dollars in unpaid federal taxes owed by federal employees  – and firing the ones who don’t pay.

 

Amazingly, you can take Uncle Sam’s bread and cheat him too, except if you for the Internal Revenue Service, of course.  I’ve known people who’ve worked for the IRS.  The agency is very upfront with its prospective hires; getting audited is part of employment deal, and getting dismissed is the result if the employee owes back taxes.

 

You might ask why the IRS employment rules don’t apply to the rest of the civil service.  That’s because the civil service employment law doesn’t include non-payment of taxes in its teeny list of things that will get a federal worker fired.  Fortunately, over 95 percent of federal employees pay their taxes, but with a workforce in the millions, even a small percentage of delinquents translates into a lot of money not being collected.

 

Last year, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced H.R. 828, which not only makes having a “serious delinquent tax debt” a cause for dismissal from the federal service, but a disqualification from getting hired in the first place.  Although the bill has been reported out by Congressman Darrell Issa’s Committee on Oversight and Reform, it has not made it to the House floor for a vote yet. (Speaker Boehner, are you listening?)  A companion bill (S. 376) was introduced by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), but, alas, it’s been ignored.

 

Why?  One excuse is that the Joint Committee on Taxation determined that H.R. 828 would have a “negligible impact” on revenue.  Only in D.C. is a billion dollars negligible, chump change.  Note how the benefits of future increased tax compliance don’t figure into the equation either.

 

I also think there is something socially positive about setting a higher standard for government employees.  If we as citizens are to respect our government, it would help us to know that its employees are paying their taxes too.  Just because the Joint Committee on Taxation can’t put a price on respect, that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.

 

Over at the White House, there may be ways for President Obama to increase tax compliance among feds, but since taking action would rile his friends at the employee unions, don’t expect him to do anything about it.

 

Elected officials wonder why the American people do not trust their government.  Their inaction on federal tax cheats is one reason.  How can we be expected to make that leap of faith on big issues, like retirement, if solons in D.C. can’t get the small stuff right?


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Latest News

Registration for phase 1B opens Wednesday on new state site; focus on 65 and up

The state expects more people to ask for vaccine than is available, so it will triage the requests according to age, medical condition and risk factors.

Prominent Democrat among those vaccinated Friday in Wilmington

Vaccine site personnel were authorized to call some people over 65 to get shots, and that allowed some uninvited people to be vaccinated.

State opens vaccines to 1b, is creating appointment system; test at Salesianum included senior groups

People who got vaccines and weren't supposed to Saturday in Dover has led the state to create system so people register for specific times.
- Thank you to our sponsor -
- Thank you to our sponsor -

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