Lars Larson: Federal employees not paying their taxes

You know I’m not crazy about paying my taxes either, but if you’re working for the government you really ought to pay the IRS.

The story is kind of stunning. Hundreds and hundreds of people who work for the federal government simply haven’t paid their taxes. According to Politico, 447 House employees and 231 Senate workers didn’t pay their taxes in 2008.

That’s 2008. We’re going on two years since then and the total amount owed is $10 million. And, now the Democrats have pulled a bill that would have made all those people to either pay their taxes, come to some kind of settlement with the IRS, or lose their job in the government.

If you expect all of us private sector citizens to pay our taxes and support the government, then the very least you can do is to make sure that everyone working in the government, and especially in Congress, has to pay their taxes and pay them somewhat on time.

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Posted by at 07:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 13 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Elisafaith13

    Ah but it is a Do as I say [not as I do ] Style of government at the present time!! Even when the AMERICAN CITIZENS SAY NO to gov’t spending/Healthcare Bills etc…THEY SAY-YES!!!
    Now comes the time to VOTE THOSE kind of people OUT [pink slips for all] and men/women with REAL SOLUTIONS IN!

  • Elisafaith13

    Ah but it is a Do as I say [not as I do ] Style of government at the present time!! Even when the AMERICAN CITIZENS SAY NO to gov’t spending/Health care Bills etc…THEY SAY-YES!!!
    Now comes the time to VOTE THOSE kind of people OUT [pink slips for all] and men/women with REAL SOLUTIONS IN!

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >If you expect all of us private sector citizens to pay our taxes and support the government, then the very least you can do is to make sure that everyone working in the government, and especially in Congress, has to pay their taxes and pay them somewhat on time.

    I cannot believe anyone would say this in the Obama Era.

    When you have guys like Rangel still in the House along with the increase in audits for private citizens, the message is clear – little people pay taxes, not their government masters.

    Oh sure sure, this is going back to 2008 so its all Bush’s fault, we know that’s what party members will say to the counter revolutionary suggestion that government should be open and ethical.

    The fact is we have a government that shrouds itself in secrecy and seems to have ethical lapses more consistent with a regime of extreme arrogance than any concern at all for the country or those it considers its subjects.

    Thankfully given the current political outlook it would appear the people will have their say in nine months and severely cut back those guilty of the worst excesses.

    Ms. Pelosi will be much more limited in her power in a post 2010 congress should she hold on to it at all. Mr Reid at this point is a long shot even to survive the election. One can only hope that post 2010 will bring a curtailing in the absolute abuse of power we currently see now.

    After 15 months the people are clearly disgusted. They took “Hope and Change” to mean a change from perceived economic incompetence and nebulous TARP bailouts to something a little better thought out.

    It is now clear that BO and congressional leaders took “Hope and Change” to mean a shift to more authoritarianism, corruption graft and waste. If Bush misunderstood the economy, BO understands transparent and honest government to an even lesser extent. To some extent people could change their view of BO in that regard. They do still have an affinity for the man and he is still likable on some level. For those on congress, it is very likely too late.

  • retired UO science prof

    Seems to me everyone should pay their taxes, irrespective of their work status.

    Maybe anyone who doesn’t pay his taxes should lose his job?

    Or maybe forfeit other government benefits, e.g. social security, medicare, deposit insurance?

    Oh, screw it, why not just enforce the tax laws.

    • Brad Rydman

      It seems to me that anyone that isn’t paying their federal taxes already forfeits their social security/medicare, as, in my experience, those contributions typically were withheld with the taxes…..

      • retired UO science prof

        You have experience of this? Well, I hope your taxes are paid up now.

        What I mean by lose benefits is not applying them to tax obligations, but losing them altogether.

  • Pat Ryan

    The 678 tax deadbeats represent 3.75% of the 18,096 total congressional staff. Dozens of cabinet departments, federal agencies, departments, and commissions have higher tax deadbeat rates, including the Federal Reserve Board (4.32%).

    So what’s your point Lars? 3.75 out of every hundred congressional employees are disputing their tax bills.

    What percentage of the general population are in the same boat?

    Not defending the behavior, just saying that a raw number (678) doesn’t sound nearly as dramatic when you know you’re really talking about 678 out of 18,000.

    But then it probably makes for great radio………..

    • Rupert in Springfield

      The point is not the number, nor the percentage of employees. The reason why it is significant is because of recent events. You have the man who chairs Ways and Means, Rangel, giving as his excuse for not paying taxes that he doesn’t understand the tax code. The guy writes the tax code! You have the head of treasury clearly cheating on his taxes and getting appointed anyway.

      This is why its significant. Its part of the culture of corruption that exists now in Washington. People need to know that their leaders follow the laws they write for us. Its why when Catholic priests were found molesting kids, the excuse that they did not do so in any greater proportion than the general population rang a little hollow. It’s why if your congressman is caught drunk driving, but has no more DUI arrests than the average person it still is a big deal.

      Saying “I’m not stealing more than anyone else is” doesn’t really hold a lot of water when you are supposed to be setting an example. Congress should set such an example, and they should make it known to their staff that the same is expected of them.

      • valley p

        You also have a Tea Party leader in Nevada, the one running against Senator Reid, who apparently owes $200,000 in back taxes to the IRS.

        Maybe the people will be outraged at the Tea Party? Clearly there is a culture of corruption.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Dean – you remain a partisan to the last.

          You are absolutely incapable of criticizing your leaders. You simply can’t do it in a forthright manner.

          Nope, with Dean it is always “Napoleon is always right”.

          They day you can say “Yep, ( insert Democrat here ) he is wrong, he should go” without having to go on about some Republican as a modifier is the day you move from partisan to thinker.

          • valley p

            And here I thought you had maintained that the Tea Party was not = to Republicans. I thought you thought they were independent. Wasn’t there a whole discussion a few days ago about that where you straightened me out? Now you seem to think otherwise. Tea Party = Republicans. Glad you came around to my way of thinking.

            As for corruption in politics and among politicians, I grew up in Chicago, under a remarkably corrupt (but quite efficient at pothole patching) Democratic Party. So I think over the years political corruption has been a non-partisan opportunity that tends to gravitate to whichever party has extended power. Tom Delay, Charlie Rangell….whatever. When they get caught (and it is proven)….I’m happy to see those of any party go bye bye. But until then I’m happy to refrain from casting stones.

            I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before Rupert, but your judgment of my thinking prowess is not of much concern to me.

  • Pat Ryan

    Charlie Rangel has had that “dead fish” smell for years. So have a lot of other legislators of both parties. Whenever one of ’em goes down, I cheer and raise a glass to the republic, cross them off my list and add a couple of more.

    That’s about being crooked, not about disputes or tardiness in filing tax returns. No one is alleging that these guys are exempt from late fees and fines assessed by the IRS. I’d bet (but can’t prove) that if selected for similar education and income, you’d find that a like percentage of the general public (3 or 4 percent) disputes the IRS over their returns or files late.

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