The ‘tax man’ taketh…more, more, more!

Published 10:09 am Thursday, April 14, 2016

“Tax Day” is April 15. Actually, it falls on April 18 this year due to some obscure Federal holiday.

But, anyway, when Tax Day arrives you know that your money is in Raleigh and Washington and it ain’t comin’ back. You all know what I’m talking about. What’s done is done.

As Tax Day draws near, I thought it only fitting that I rail against the most unfair, unjust, and nonsensical aspect of American government—the United States Tax Code.

I know that my conservative critics are now expecting me to begin bashing Republican tax cuts for the wealthy, but that’s just one example of tax injustice foisted upon the

American people.

No. On this Tax Day, Republicans are not specifically my target. Every president, R&D, since the federal income tax was created as the 16th Amendment to the Constitution in 1913 shares the blame.

What began as a fairly simple way to raise needed funds, quickly got out of the control of any one person, including the President of the United States. Under each President since FDR, the tax code kept getting more and more complex, more and more unwieldy, and more and more mystifying to citizens, lawmakers, economists, and tax experts alike.

Today, Congress routinely adds new provisions to the tax code at the behest of lobbyists, corporate campaign donors, non-profit organizations, and just about anybody else with lots of money or political clout and a notion about how their business interest might shave a percentage point off the amount they pay in taxes.

The United States Tax Code is now over 10 million words long. That probably doesn’t mean much to you – it didn’t to me so I thought I’d break it down just to see how big our federal tax code has become.

Take a look at your Bible. There are 592,439 words in the Old Testament and 181,253 words in the New Testament, making your Bible 773,692 words long. You all know how small the print is in most Bibles and you know how big a Bible is that is printed in large enough type for people over 40 to read at arm’s length. Anyway, the United States Tax Code is more than 10 times longer than the entire Bible.

That’s ridiculous. Nobody knows the entire Tax Code and, frankly, nobody could possibly keep up with that much information.

The only people that have some sort of handle on the Tax Code are the experts hired by corporations to minimize the amount they pay in taxes. These people work all year long on nothing but finding ways to keep corporations from paying taxes. And they have one big advantage that your local tax preparer doesn’t have – they lobbied Congress to get additions to the Tax Code that benefit their employers, so they at least know the parts of the Tax Code they helped to create.

Congress doesn’t understand what it’s doing when it alters the Tax Code and the members really don’t care. They vote “aye” to a paragraph or two that’s going to be put somewhere in that massive Tax Code that nobody understands knowing that they’ll get campaign donations from the lobbyists and corporations they helped.

The corporations are happy, the members of Congress are happy and the citizenry is not affected – they’re not eligible. Everybody’s happy. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that most corporations do not pay federal tax. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that most of them pay the minimum amount; they don’t pay one red cent in federal income taxes.

Guess who makes up for those lost “revenues” from rich folks and corporations? You do. Corporations now pay less than eight percent of the federal revenue stream. Individuals and small businesses pay the rest.

We need a new Tax Code: A graduated Simple Tax, less than five pages long, that has everybody and every business paying his, her or its fair share. If everybody pays a fair share into the system, everybody’s tax rate can be lowered. Well…except for the corporations and super-wealthy individuals which have written the current Tax Code so they pay nothing.

It’s time we did something about taxes in this nation. We don’t need more tax cuts and we don’t need complicated new systems. We don’t need a Republican system and we don’t need Democratic system. What we need is a fair system – a graduated system that guarantees everybody pays a fair share and that nobody is broken by the system. A fair, graduated simple tax would keep everybody’s taxes down and save the poorest Americans from having to pay huge amounts in taxes. It’s fair and it’s needed.


Keith Hoggard is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7206.