Every year during the last week in January, I have mixed feelings. Like most denizens of the midwest, I look forward to long, sunny summer days, but then I realize that January is nearly gone, and I still haven’t done our tax return. Maybe I should have gotten a job in the federal government. As one of my favorite columnists, Emily Miller wrote last Wednesday in the Washington Times:
President Obama went on and on Tuesday about how important it was for Americans to pay their “fair share of taxes.” He can start with his own administration. The number of employees on the federal dole has swelled 13 percent on his watch, and the amount they owe in back taxes is now over $1 billion. Talk about double dipping: These bureaucrats take your tax dollars and then return nothing to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
It gets better.
The ironies abound. The Office of Government Ethics has one of the highest delinquency rates at 6.5 percent. You might think the U.S. Tax Court would pay its taxes, but its staff owes Uncle Sam $62,508. The Government Accountability Office has 65 employees not being held accountable. The Board of Governors for the Federal Reserves has 91 staffers who have reserved $1,265,152 in their own pockets.
The National Labor Relations Board doesn’t seem to mind the 47 on staff who are laboring only for themselves. The Office of Personnel Management isn’t doing a very good job managing its personnel, who owe the IRS $1,917,149. The Securities and Exchange Commission may be policing Wall Street, but it’s turning a blind eye to $1,146,843 in back taxes.
Overall, the highest delinquency rates are found at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and, in a tie, the Inter-American Foundation and the United States Access Board. The highest amount owed the IRS – $269,641,265 – comes from the Postal Service (which also has the most cheaters – 25,640), Social Security Administration at $20,144,559 and the House of Representatives, with 467 cheating staffers owing $8,535,974.
In the Senate, there are 217 who owe the IRS a total of $2,134,501.
And my personal favorite.
There are 36 scofflaws in the Executive Office of the President, owing a total of $833,970.
Reading Ms. Miller’s column (and the whole thing is worth reading) reminded me of this little gem from last May:
Thousands of companies that cashed in on President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package owed the government millions in unpaid taxes, congressional investigators have found.
The Government Accountability Office, in a report being released Tuesday, said at least 3,700 government contractors and nonprofit organizations that received more than $24 billion from the stimulus effort owed $757 million in back taxes as of Sept. 30, 2009, the end of the budget year.
Let that sink in as you scurry around gathering all the necessary information to submit your annual income report to our federal masters.
Is this conduct by people in the government generally and in the Obama administration specifically, an example of “everyone playing by the same rules?” What does Warren Buffett’s secretary think about this situation?