With­out Rudy

The Covington News - - Opinion - Tom Pur­cell

Rudy’s gone and now I’m re­ally de­pressed. It’s win­ter, you see, a rough time for the self­em­ployed. It’s rough be­cause our 1099s — of­fi­cial records of how­much our clients paid us the prior year — ar­rive in the mail. My1099s al­ways add up to more than I thought they would — my taxes will be higher than I ex­pected, and that de­presses me.

And be­cause I’ll have to or­ga­nize hun­dreds of re­ceipts that I keep in a gi­ant box— a task that will take count­less hours— I get even more de­pressed.

But Rudy was go­ing to save me from some of those woes. Like all the Repub­li­can can­di­dates, Rudy was go­ing to ex­tend Bush’s tax cuts. He was go­ing to lower the cap­i­tal-gains tax from 15 to 10 per­cent and the cor­po­rate-tax from 35 to 25 per­cent.

His ideas would have un­leashed in­vest­ment and eco­nomic growth, as lower taxes al­ways do.

But the best part of the Rudy plan had a di­rect im­pact on ME: It would have givenme the op­tion to keep fil­ing re­turns un­der our cur­rent night­mar­ish tax code or vol­un­tar­ily switch to Rudy’s sim­pli­fied tax plan.

Rudy’s vol­un­tary plan had three tax brack­ets of 10, 15 and 30 per­cent. It pro­vided ba­sic de­duc­tions (health in­sur­ance, mort­gage in­ter­est, char­i­ta­ble con­tri­bu­tions, state and lo­cal in­come taxes and a $3,500 per­sonal ex­emp­tion). It was so sim­ple, it re­quired only one piece of pa­per.

AnEnglish ma­jor could com­plete it.

But Rudy is gone and his sim­pli­fied tax plan is gone with him. It’s true all the Repub­li­can can­di­dates have tax-re­form ideas. Ac­cord­ing to the Tax Foun­da­tion, Ron Paul wants to abol­ish the IRS and slash spend­ing.

Mike Huck­abee wants to abol­ish the IRS, too, and re­place the in­come tax with a na­tional sales tax— an idea sen­si­ble enough that it will never hap­pen as long as we have a Congress.

But Paul and Huck­abee have about as much chance of win­ning the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion as Teddy Kennedy.

That leaves us with Rom­ney and McCain. Rom­ney would cut the cor­po­rate tax rate and elim­i­nate all taxes on in­ter­est, div­i­dends and cap­i­tal gains for folks with in­comes be­low $200,000. He says he’ll sim­plify the tax code, but doesn’t ex­plain how.

Ditto for McCain. He says he’ll keep Bush’s tax cuts in place and sim­plify tax fil­ing, too, but hasn’t said how.

But at least Rom­ney and McCain give lip ser­vice to sim­pli­fi­ca­tion. Hil­lary and Obama don’t even do that. They’d likely make things worse.

Hil­lary prom­ises to raise taxes right out of the gate— she’ll re­peal Bush’s tax cuts on folks mak­ing over $250,000. She has lots of other ideas, but none that will sim­plify our taxes.

Obama will re­peal Bush’s tax cuts, too— on the top 1 per­cent of in­come earn­ers. He of­fers one idea to mak­ing fil­ing eas­ier and it’s a doozie. He’ll have the IRS use your em­ployer-pro­vided fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion to “pre-pop­u­late” your tax-re­turn form for you. It should take you only five min­utes to com­plete the rest of your re­turn, he prom­ises.

Don’t worry about the IRS mak­ing a mis­take— that you owe them a cou­ple mil­lion, for in­stance. I’m sure you’ll be able to clear up the mat­ter with only a min­i­mal amount of jail time.

That’s why I’ve been de­pressed since Rudy dropped out of the pres­i­den­tial race.

If only he’d had a bet­ter strat­egy in the pri­maries, maybe he could have made it to the White House. I had vi­sions of him clean­ing up our bur­den­some tax code the way he did Times Square.

It’s all point­less now.


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