Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Government hurts people with confusion
By the Advocate Editorial Board
April 9, 2013 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated April 8, 2013 at 11:09 p.m.
Tax season is here, and across America, residents are scrambling to get the proper documents filed before Monday.
The federal tax code is a complex, convoluted document that divides us all into income brackets and tells us how much we must pay every year. But over the years, the system has grown longer and longer with Congress adding loopholes, exemptions and more every year.
We recognize it is the duty of responsible residents to pay the proper amount of taxes on time, but we are disappointed in our legislators' ongoing editing and convolution of a system that is already too complex for the average American to understand on their own.
According to the Commerce Clearing House Standard Federal Tax Reporter, it now takes 73,954 standard 8.5-by-11-inch pages to print out the U.S. federal tax code. When the 16th Amendment was first ratified in 1913, the tax code was only 400 pages long. If all 788,258 words in the standard King James Bible were printed single-spaced in 10-point Arial type, it would take 1,151 pages. Has American life become so complex that we need a tax code 64 times longer than the Bible and 185 times longer than its own original form? We say no.
The federal government is doing its citizens a huge disservice by forcing such on overly complex system on us. We must pay taxes every year or face serious consequences including fines, levying of wages or bank accounts, taking assets and more. Instead of making the tax code a user-friendly system with simple parameters anyone can follow, the government has created a monstrous maze of regulations that requires many residents to pay experts to handle what every person should be able to handle on their own.
It is time Congress takes a serious look at the tax code and cuts it down to a more manageable size. Our leaders in Washington, D.C., are doing all of America a disservice by continuing to twist and amend a system that is already too convoluted for the average citizen to use. We need to drop the current system, which caters to special interests and big business, and return to a simple, straight-forward method of accountability.
We acknowledge our responsibility to pay taxes, but we are tired of being forced to use a system that makes that responsibility unnecessarily difficult. America needs a consistent, workable tax code, not a small library of complexity and confusion.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.