Taxes and Transparency

15 04 2010

Question Kevin, where were you the previous 8 years.

Dear Friend:

Last time I wrote to you, Democratic leaders in Congress were on the verge of passing their government takeover of health care. Today, that job-killing health care bill is law and American small businesses and families will now be paying an additional $570 billion in new taxes over the next ten years at a time when our state and nation are facing devastating unemployment levels. Now I am sure this is not the kind of news you want to hear on “Tax Day,” but, if you are like me, this makes me wonder: “how will this affect my taxes in 2010, 2011, 2012, and beyond?”

Consider this: the water you use is taxed, the food you eat is taxed, the gas you buy is taxed, the cable you watch is taxed, and the money you earn is taxed. Need more? Well, with the recent government takeover of heath care, your health benefits will now be taxed too. Unfortunately, while Washington finds it very easy to collect our taxes, it does not inform the taxpayer on a consistent and transparent basis how much money it will be spending. Americans deserve to know how Washington is spending their hard-earned money.

Did you know that in 2009, the Federal Government collected $2.1 trillion in taxes, but managed to spend $3.5 trillion? This means the federal government borrowed and spent $1.4 trillion more than it had. That’s an additional $1.4 trillion that you, the taxpayer will have to pay back. And it is this same routine of borrowing and spending that has created our current record deficits, and left us with an unsustainable $11.8 trillion debt. These kinds of sums are unimaginable and their effects unsustainable. Just based on current figures today, each American household’s share of the national debt is now roughly $143,000 dollars – a sum that is well above our current national median family household income.

Americans deserve better from Washington, yet the President and this Congress don’t seem to think so, as they continue to tax and spend their way to the bottom of every American’s pocket. Remember when Congress passed the $1 trillion stimulus bill? Wasn’t it supposed to create jobs? Wasn’t it supposed to keep unemployment – which has been 9.7% since January – below 8%? I ask you to remember, because it seems the leaders in Washington have forgotten, and you deserve better than that.

I believe the American taxpayer deserves to know where their tax dollars are going and what they are being spent on and that this information should be easily and readily provided. As President Reagan said, “[i]nformation is the oxygen of the modern age,” and today, Americans are not getting enough oxygen. There needs to be more transparency and openness in government.

That is why I introduced legislation (H.R. 4943) that would require the IRS to publish the current and projected Federal tax revenue, spending levels, deficits, and public debt not only on their website, but in the materials they provide for us to use when filing our taxes each April. Just as a publicly-owned business provides its shareholders annual reports, I believe the U.S. government ought not to be exempt from these important transparency and reporting practices and requirements. The American taxpayer deserves better; be assured I will continue to fight for more accountability and transparency when it comes to all aspects of government, especially when it comes to spending.

Sincerely,

Kevin McCarthy

PS-my bill was highlighted on the Fox Business channel last week; you can view that video clip here.

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