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Bonus-check blues: Neal Boortz shows why U.S. needs to dump payday tax-withholding ^ | Tuesday, February 4, 2003 | Neal Boortz

Posted on 02/03/2003 11:57:32 PM PST by JohnHuang2

It's been a week since the president's State of the Union speech, and my disappointment has yet to abate. Much to the disgust of my radio listeners, I rated the speech a "B" on foreign policy and a "D" on domestic policy for a composite "C" grade.

My chief complaints with President Bush's speech are centered on three areas. First, there was not one mention of one single government spending program that was to be targeted for elimination. Not one. As long taxpayers are paying college co-eds 75 bucks to insert electronic probes into their bodies and sit back to watch a porno movie, we have programs to be eliminated.

Secondly, Bush was simply not strong enough in his defense of the concept of income tax cuts only for people who actually pay income taxes. Contrary to current liberal dogma, not every American listens to talk radio, the only venue where the "who pays what" statistics are regularly brought forth. My guess is that jaws would have dropped in Joplin if Bush had told the nation that the top 1 percent of taxpayers the Democrats are so fond of slamming actually pay almost 38 percent of all income taxes – though they earn only 17 percent of the income.

My third area of disappointment was the lack of a call for a complete, top-to-bottom overhaul of our system of taxation. It's broken, it's unpopular (at least with those who actually pay taxes) and it simply has to go. America is ill-served with a tax system that punishes achievement and rewards a lack of ambition.

Perhaps the president's failure to call for an overhaul of our tax system is understandable. It's hard to generate interest in tax reform in a country where almost one-half of wage earners don't pay income taxes anyway – and most of those who do pay taxes couldn't tell you how much.

Last week, a friend of mine – a life-long Democrat – called to tell me that he was considering his first vote for a Republican in 2004. He had just earned a $10,000 bonus. He knew the bonus was coming – knew it about a month or so – and had imagined the many things he could do with that money. When the check was delivered to him last week, he was dismayed to see that his total was less than $6,000. Over 40 percent of his bonus had been eaten up in income and payroll taxes.

Why was he so surprised, so shocked? He gets a paycheck every two weeks, and the same exact thing happens to each and every one of those checks. Each and every check is reduced by 40 percent or more by withheld income and payroll taxes. So, why was he caught so off guard by this bonus check?

Do I have the answer? You bet!

It's all about mindset and expectations. My friend has been conditioned throughout his working life to not think in terms of his total salary, but rather in terms of his "take-home" pay. If you approach almost any salaried American on any given April 15 to ask them how much money they make every pay period, if they tell you anything at all, they will tell you what they "take home," not what they actually earn. Ask them what the gross amount of their typical paycheck is and you will see a face normally reserved for brook trout. They don't know. They only know what they "take home." When the check comes, there are no surprises. Every penny of the take-home pay was there, and the rest had been forgotten long before.

Not so with the bonus check. My friend earned a $10,000 bonus and that figure was sticking in his mind through the four-week wait for the money. Realization dawned quickly when he opened the envelope … taxes. Forty percent … gone! The anger welled and it became time to start rethinking his continued support for the tax-and-spend Democrats. Suddenly, the idea of a tax cut sounded rather good!

The culprit here is withholding. The system of withholding income and payroll taxes from employee paychecks has numbed tens of millions of Americans to just what they are actually paying. Perhaps you don't know that withholding was supposed to be a temporary program! It was instituted during World War II as a way to generate a much-needed cash flow for a nation that needed to build the implements of war. The promise to Americans was that withholding would cease after the war, and citizens would go back to calculating and paying their taxes every April.

What happened to this promise of a temporary withholding program? Politicians, that's what. Politicians soon discovered the magic of take-home pay. They found out that under withholding most people stopped thinking about the taxes they paid, and started thinking solely in terms of take-home pay. This was a perfect atmosphere for higher taxes and spending … a politician's nirvana.

At the very least, Americans should have some clear idea of how much they are paying to cover the cost of government. Withholding stands in the way ... and politicians are certainly not anxious to change the system.

TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: taxreform

1 posted on 02/03/2003 11:57:32 PM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
As long taxpayers are paying college co-eds 75 bucks to insert electronic probes into their bodies and sit back to watch a porno movie, we have programs to be eliminated.

This part has me confused. What is he talking about and what does it have to do with government programs?

2 posted on 02/04/2003 12:07:36 AM PST by American Soldier
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To: American Soldier
I don't know if it was publicly funded but he's referring to some study to test female sexual stimulation with some new product - sort of a Viagra for gals.

I didn't know about the $75 part but I was really wondering how many women gladly said "oh, sure!" when asked if they would mind having a probe stuck up their ( ) so a bunch of guys in lab coats could measure the effects of porno videos on them.

3 posted on 02/04/2003 12:27:29 AM PST by Tall_Texan (Where liberals lead, misery follows.)
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To: JohnHuang2
Excellent commentary on the 'tax'ing problem we are stuck with in this country - I've been saying for years that if the American worker received every dime he earns each week in his paycheck and at the end of the year (April 15th) he or she had to cut a check to the government for the amount he or she owed - the shock of the reality of the total of just how much the govt. 'steals' from that paycheck weekly would lead to another American Revolution - against this tyrannical and unconstitutional governmental practice - people would turn the Mall in front of the US Capital into another Boston Bay - only this time (instead of tea) it could be covered with busted open crates that were filled with millions of IRS witholding filings. Wake up and smell the 'tea' America - they are stealing this money out of your paychecks every week. It thievery - plan and simple.
4 posted on 02/04/2003 12:35:00 AM PST by Luker (Meet me on the Mall)
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To: JohnHuang2
Hey, I am sure that most people have no love or understanding of the financial obligations of the companies they work for. But companies, large and small are pilaged by this same tax theft scheme.And believe me, if you are the owner of a small corporation it hurts just as bad to pay these confiscatory taxes.

95% of the trouble with the US economy would disappear overnight if the tax rate on business was lowered to a small but reasonable level.40% or more of a company's income is unjust and economically stupid.

5 posted on 02/04/2003 5:45:04 AM PST by free from tyranny
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To: JohnHuang2
I think a law should be passed so that each employer is required to pay his employees in CASH.  The law would require the following payday procedures:

1.  The employer will set up a long table each payday.
2.  The employee will be paid his entire wages at position #1.
3.  The employee will then advance to position #2 whereby a representative of the federal government will remove federal taxes from his pile of cash.
4.  The employee will then proceed to position #3 where a Social Security representative will remove 14%+ from his entire wages for Social Security and an additional 2%+ for medicare.
5.  The employee will then advance to position #4 where a state employee will remove the state's share of his cash.
6.  The employee will advance to position #5 where local governments can finally remove their share of his cash.

Finally, at the end of the table, a voting booth will placed so that the "awakened" employee can vote to fire all of the parasites living off the sweat of his brow!
6 posted on 02/04/2003 6:06:08 AM PST by DH
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To: Luker
All self-employed people like myself experience this each year. Even worse, we are forced to collect our employees taxes for the government without compensation for it. We also receive the privledge of matching their SS payments too.

Until people really feel the pain of paying taxes they will never take any actions to do something about it.
7 posted on 02/04/2003 6:10:07 AM PST by DH
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To: DH
Yep and bump :)
8 posted on 02/04/2003 8:30:49 AM PST by Tamzee (Liberals have sunk so low they have to look UP to see DOWN....)
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To: *Taxreform
9 posted on 02/04/2003 8:37:23 AM PST by Free the USA (Stooge for the Rich)
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