Here we go again- Congressman Jason Chaffetz, the supposedly kinder, gentler replacement for Darrell Issa on the House Oversight Committee, is conducting his semi-annual witch hunt for public sector tax delinquents.
Jason wants to fire federal employees who don’t pay their federal taxes. Sounds kind of reasonable, until you consider that the vast majority of tax delinquents in the US work for the private sector. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Jason to go after them. More importantly, IRS statistics show that federal employees have a far lower rate of delinquency than private sector workers. While GOP planted “news” stories often target US Postal Service workers as the worst of the lot because they owe the most money, it turns out that the delinquency rate for postal workers is exactly the same as the rate for another group of federal employees:
The House of Representatives!
Here’s what we had to say about Jason’s first witch hunt, four years ago:
Congressman Jason Chaffetz had this to say today in the Daily Caller:
If you’re collecting a federal paycheck, you should pay federal taxes. That’s the premise of a bill I introduced last week to require federal employees to pay their taxes or be fired.
Going after public workers has become fashionable among right wing politicians- they follow Muslims, Gays, Hispanics and African Americans as the latest scapegoats for whatever is ailing the country at the moment. But there is a certain logic to Chaffetz’s argument. He suggests working for the federal government is a privilege, and that in order to benefit, you should satisfy all your obligations to the feds. Fair enough- and Chaffetz goes so far as to say he would include federal contractors in the deal- don’t pay your taxes, your contracts get cancelled.
But I think Jason is missing something here- he says “No one who ducks a federal tax obligation should be eligible to benefit from federal funds.” But he only targets federal employees and contractors. How about all the other people who “benefit from federal funds”? Wouldn’t that include people receiving Social Security, Medicare, veteran’s benefits, crop subsidies, disaster relief, food stamps, small business loans, Wall Street bailouts, and all the rest? Come to think of it, exactly who in this country doesn’t “benefit from federal funds”?
So shouldn’t the law be rewritten to require that ANY employer terminate any employee who is seriously delinquent in their federal taxes? Or, at the very least, shouldn’t ALL of their federal benefits be terminated? Fair is fair, right?
Somehow I don’t think the Congressman will go that far- after all, a certain subset of the tea party types that he’s desperately trying to woo have a major problem with the very idea of the federal income tax. So I’d only suggest that the Congressman correct one other logical flaw in his bill. If you’re after people who “benefit from federal funds”, remember that the big agency that always gets mentioned first in these stories, the US Postal Service, doesn’t receive any!