Like a mosquito in a nudist colony
To borrow from an old joke, Democrats running against Republican incumbents this year must feel like mosquitoes in a nudist colony; there’s just so much good stuff out there that it’s hard to know where to start.
Here’s one small example.
(NY Times) I.R.S. Enlists Help in Collecting Delinquent Taxes
If you owe back taxes to the federal government, the next call asking you to pay may come not from an Internal Revenue Service officer, but from a private debt collector.
Within two weeks, the I.R.S. will turn over data on 12,500 taxpayers — each of whom owes $25,000 or less in back taxes — to three collection agencies. Larger debtors will continue to be pursued by I.R.S. officers.
The move, an initiative of the Bush administration, represents the first step in a broader plan to outsource the collection of smaller tax debts to private companies over time. Although I.R.S. officials acknowledge that this will be much more expensive than doing it internally, they say that Congress has forced their hand by refusing to let them hire more revenue officers, who could pull in a lot of easy-to-collect money.
The private debt collection program is expected to bring in $1.4 billion over 10 years, with the collection agencies keeping about $330 million of that, or 22 to 24 cents on the dollar.
For more on just how stupid (and subject to abuse) this is check out Paul Krugman’s column on the topic.
I’m sure a lot of professional political consultants — you know the guys who’ve led the Democrats to defeat in each of the last three election cycles — would say I’m nuts on this, but I think this is pure political platinum.
I’ve even got a name for it: It’s called Big Government Republican Style. Here’s the pitch:
“Republicans have always claimed that they’re against big government. But then a funny thing happened when they started running the whole show in Washington. Government didn’t get smaller. It got bigger. It got a lot bigger. And you want to know something else funny: The last time a Democrat, Bill Clinton, was president government got smaller. A lot smaller.
“You see, the difference between Democrats and Republicans isn’t in the size of government. The difference is in who the government works for.
“Under Big Government Republican Style, the kind we have now, our government doesn’t work for the American people. It works for the Republican Party.
“Here’s one example out of many. The Bush Administration is hiring private companies to collect unpaid taxes. And they get to keep a big percentage of everything they collect. It’s going to cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. Everyone agrees the job could be done much more cheaply and with more protection for taxpayers if it were done by regular agents.
“So why do the Republicans want to waste our money in this way? Well, let me give you one guess as to which political party the companies getting those hundreds of millions of dollars are going to funnel campaign contributions to?
“You got it — the Republicans. And they’ll probably throw in some nice overseas junkets for Republican congressmen while they’re at it.
“It’s the same sorry story over and over again. Big Government Republican Style is all about using our government as a slush fund to pay off Republican campaign contributors. They even have a name for it — it’s called the K Street Project. That’s how brazen they’ve become. That’s how little they even try to hide it anymore.
“So what do you say? Isn’t it time that we had a government that represents and works for the people again. Isn’t it time to retire Big Government Republican Style once and for all?”
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August 23rd, 2006 at 1:06 am
It is way past due to retire Big Government Republican Style. The problem is getting the sheeple to do it. The True Believers, The Party Hacks, and the Wannabees seemingly cannot overcome their addiction to the Republican Party and what they THINK it stands for, all evidence to the contrary. I honestly believe a lot of sheeple see it as the vehicle of social prominence, the stairway to wealth, the party of less government. None of this is true under G.W. Bush. You can push the facts and figures right under their noses, and they will still deny it. They have this ingrained emotional response, rather like the Pavlovian dog who has been trained to salivate when the bell rings, whether Fido is rewarded later on or not. It mystifies me how blind the sheeple CHOOSE to be. Maybe, like Bush, they can never admit they are wrong. Bush’s poll numbers have risen, again, after the British terrorist plot. He still gets fairly decent ratings for handling terror. Yet, facts and figures show that Homeland Security is a bust. Crime is on the rise again, after huge cuts in funding to local police departments. Gigantic amounts of our tax dollars are going to the war in Iraq, which is not keeping us any safer. Is the American public so dumbed down that they cannot add 2+2 anymore? Corruption is at an all-time high in Congress, but you can bet the farm, a lot of Republican incumbents will slide back in to their offices to count more booty and sell more votes. Aaaaargh!!!! Beam me up, Scotty!
August 23rd, 2006 at 4:34 pm
The real key to how right you are about this plan is who gets to enjoy the tender mercies of the tax farmers, as Krugman calls them, and who is exempt. People who owe $25g or less (including interest and penalties, of course, so the actual tax det itself is smaller) are the relatively small fish who won’t be able to hire $300 + /hr lawyers to help them. What about the big fish, especially the corporations that owe billions? Well, surprise, surprise. The IRS has substantially reduced the number of auditors who deal with these folks and has shown very little interest in going after them. Bad for business. Like Lily Tomlin said, no matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up.
August 24th, 2006 at 12:24 am
my bet, too - no one will care about
Why bother about the poor, when they themselves don’t do it?
talk about killing two birds with one stone - now you see how great their tax strategy works! First they cut taxes for big biz and force the poor to pay solely for the government…
and then they allow big biz to earn money through the forced taxes for the poor, so they certainly have to press the poor a little more - to get all the “needed” money for the government and its debts…
wow - the Dark Age was right: God is definitely on the side of the Aristocracy…
i guess we should be prepared for debtor’s prisons and peonage