- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The life of an ex-president is good. Since leaving the White House the Clintons have earned $109 million. But it’s hard being liberal multi-millionaires.

The money just won’t stop. Consultants pay dearly for Bill Clinton’s “advice” to help foreign governments influence Washington. Associations toss tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars at him to give one speech. What could the Clintons do? It would be impolite to stop people from stuffing their wallets.

Even worse, when they give away money — including to their own “charity,” the Clinton Family Foundation — their taxes fall even more. And since taxes are far too low, the Clintons keep far too much of their money

Hillary Clinton explained: “We didn’t ask for George Bush’s tax cuts. We didn’t want them, and we didn’t need them.”

What’s a left-wing redistributionist to do? Repealing the tax cuts is logical response, but greedy, selfish Republicans stand in the way. And they’ve misled a lot of otherwise decent Americans to believe people have a greater right to their earnings than do bureaucrats and politicians.

But the Clintons can still do the right thing even if they’ve already filed this year. In the future they can engage in some creative accounting.

In this way, the Clintons can set an example by giving back to the community. Call it the Voluntary Clinton Surtax (VCS).

They should be joined by anyone who opposed the Bush tax cuts or who ever said Americans were undertaxed, complained about “tax cuts for the rich,” advocated creating new government programs, or charged that reducing the government’s take is “selfish.” The more categories a person fills, the higher should be his or her VCS.

Pull out the 1040. The starting point is to cut the number of dependents. So what if you have kids or are taking care of a parent? Don’t declare them.

Line 7, for “wages, salaries, tips, etc.”, is even better. Put down the salary you always felt you deserved. Toss in some imaginary tips.

Then there’s taxable interest. Add some extra. Also, make up some phantom dividends and capital gains, allowing you to temporarily feel like the reincarnation of John D. Rockefeller.

Claiming alimony seems a bit prosaic, but doing so does strike a blow against those who claim marriage should be inviolable. There’s also a line for farm income — what could be better than telling the government you’re a common yeoman? Putting down some unemployment compensation would indicate your solidarity with the victims of unfair trade deals.

Schedule C or “business” income also offers a wealth of VCS opportunities. Normally the Internal Revenue Service expects you to tell the truth, but revenue officials won’t object to someone claiming more than he or she actually received.

At the same time, there’s no need to list all of one’s expenses. After all, why take advantage of the oppressively low wages you’re undoubtedly paying your underlings? (If you’re providing a market salary, it is by definition exploitative.)

Finally, there’s line 21 for “Other income.” Let your imagination go. Put down everything you imagine evil, undeserving capitalists typically receive — royalties, bribes, bonuses, and payoffs, as well as proceeds from blackmail, extortion, child and sweatshop labor and more.

Any good liberal should avoid “adjusting” his or her income. For instance, there’s a line for health savings accounts, which shouldn’t even exist, since they empower consumers rather than the government.

Itemized deductions also should be verboten. Welfare, not charity, is the preferred mechanism to care for the poor.

And why should anyone be able to deduct taxes paid to states and localities? We owe those governments just like we owe Uncle Sam.

The 1040 lists a host of tax credits — for child and dependent care, education, and more. They cheat the government by reducing taxes paid dollar-for-dollar. Forget ‘em!

A voluntary tax increaser still isn’t done. The IRS conveniently has a section devoted to “other taxes.” Be creative.

Now it’s time to add everything up. How did you do? Not enough of an increase? Go back and add more capital gains, a couple more speaking fees, and drop a few more deductions.

If all else fails, write Uncle Sam an extra check as a gift. But remember: Don’t take the deduction when you file next year. You owe the government the money.

Many of us have long looked to the Clintons for leadership. They now have a unique opportunity to help redress the gross injustices of the Bush tax cuts.

Doug Bandow is vice president of policy for Citizen Outreach and the author of “Leviathan Unchained: Washington’s Bipartisan Big Government Consensus” (forthcoming, Xulon Press).


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