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Are You Insured? The IRS Could be Watching?
Old 01-04-2010, 02:16 PM   #1
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Are You Insured? The IRS Could be Watching?

Health bills could expand IRS role - USATODAY.com
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:33 PM   #2
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"It's hard to see how the IRS could take on the huge responsibility it would be given under pending health care legislation without some real glitches, or worse," said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa,
Those IRS guys hardly have enough time to catch the tax cheats out there (you know who you are).
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:54 PM   #3
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So, now we are looking for "health insurance cheats"?
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Old 01-04-2010, 04:06 PM   #4
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The phrase that leaped out at me was: "By the IRS's own estimates, it failed to collect about $290 billion in taxes in 2005, the latest year for which data are available." Anybody know what the deficit was in 2005?
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Old 01-04-2010, 04:25 PM   #5
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." Anybody know what the deficit was in 2005?
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Old 01-04-2010, 04:37 PM   #6
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The FY 2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion (i.e., it was over 5.5X as large as the 2005 deficit). The IRS is gonna have to find a LOT of tax cheats to make up that kind of gap!
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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Every time the gov't tries to do social engineering, we'll incur administrative expenses. I wonder if Senator Grassley is bothered by what it costs the Agriculture Dept to provide farm payments to 1% of American families. Maybe we should eliminate that expense.

I'd be happy to simplify the IRS's work substantially by getting rid of all the exceptions and special deals in the tax code. How about taxing all capital income at the same rates as labor income? eliminating itemized deductions? getting rid of the alphabet soup of retirement incentives? I'd vote for all of those, I'll bet that Grassley wouldn't.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:50 AM   #8
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I'd be happy to simplify the IRS's work substantially by getting rid of all the exceptions and special deals in the tax code. How about taxing all capital income at the same rates as labor income? eliminating itemized deductions? getting rid of the alphabet soup of retirement incentives? I'd vote for all of those, I'll bet that Grassley wouldn't.
Are you serious?
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:33 PM   #9
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I'd be happy to simplify the IRS's work substantially by getting rid of all the exceptions and special deals in the tax code. How about taxing all capital income at the same rates as labor income? eliminating itemized deductions? getting rid of the alphabet soup of retirement incentives? I'd vote for all of those, I'll bet that Grassley wouldn't.
I used to think that way about capital gains, but the problem is that a good part of "gain" is lost to inflation so you are taxed on inflation. Given that you cannot deduct inflation from the capital gain I am not so thrilled with taxing the "gain" at ordinary income levels. Except for short term gain, which I think should be taxed as ordinary income.

I agree that the alphabet soup of retirement incentives is unnecessarily complex. I see no reason why you should be able to pile a lot into a 401k but if you don't have a 401k you only can put a nominal amount in an IRA. Standardize the whole thing and make them all portable.
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:46 PM   #10
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I used to think that way about capital gains, but the problem is that a good part of "gain" is lost to inflation so you are taxed on inflation. Given that you cannot deduct inflation from the capital gain I am not so thrilled with taxing the "gain" at ordinary income levels. Except for short term gain, which I think should be taxed as ordinary income.
I agree 100%........

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I agree that the alphabet soup of retirement incentives is unnecessarily complex. I see no reason why you should be able to pile a lot into a 401k but if you don't have a 401k you only can put a nominal amount in an IRA. Standardize the whole thing and make them all portable.
I'll have to research a little, buit I believe when the IRA first came out, there were no limits to how much you could put in one. I think it was either in 1984 or 1986 they set it at $2000.........
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:07 PM   #11
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Are you serious?
Yes, I'm serious. Of course, I'd reduce the tax rates at the same time.

This would be included in a bill that eliminated most corporate income taxes. (I'd be happy to consider a pass-through tax for corporate income, like we have for partnerships, as an offset to capital gains. )

If necessary, I'd go along with indexing long term cap gains for inflation. Although, I'd prefer that we don't because that would make the wealthiest people in America a political constituency against inflation.

Here's the first source I found by googling IRA history. http://www.cbo.gov/OnlineTaxGuide/Page_2A.htm

On another tangent, IIRC Congress discovered that most of the money going into IRAs wasn't new savings, it was just redirecting money that would have been saved anyway into a tax preferred category.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:24 PM   #12
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If necessary, I'd go along with indexing long term cap gains for inflation. Although, I'd prefer that we don't because that would make the wealthiest people in America a political constituency against inflation.
Taxing LTCG at the same rate as earned income would be okay if indexed for inflation. I don't think it's right to hold high net worth people hostage in order to have them form some kind of political constituency against high inflation--it's not like the US money supply is somehow controlled via direct referendum by people with a net worth over $5M.
But, I will go this far toward creating constituencies: let's create a "political constituency" for lower taxes by eliminating itemized deductions (as you suggest) and by reducing the standard deduction and the personal exemption. Get a higher percentage of people paying taxes so there's some meaningful counterbalance to the growth of government. When everyone feels the pain, the pain will be reduced. But if Joe pays no taxes and yet benefits from government spending, he's gonna vote for more spending . . . funded by others.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:31 PM   #13
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I agree that the alphabet soup of retirement incentives is unnecessarily complex. I see no reason why you should be able to pile a lot into a 401k but if you don't have a 401k you only can put a nominal amount in an IRA. Standardize the whole thing and make them all portable.
Because the 401K is controlled by your employer and investment firms. They want to have more of your money in limited choice of funds so they can make more money by charging higher fees for poor performance. Of course, they have to convince our elected officials (you know what I mean).

With IRA, we have more choices so we can select better investments with lower fees, etc....
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:05 PM   #14
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Every time the gov't tries to do social engineering, we'll incur administrative expenses. I wonder if Senator Grassley is bothered by what it costs the Agriculture Dept to provide farm payments to 1% of American families. Maybe we should eliminate that expense.

I'd be happy to simplify the IRS's work substantially by getting rid of all the exceptions and special deals in the tax code. How about taxing all capital income at the same rates as labor income? eliminating itemized deductions? getting rid of the alphabet soup of retirement incentives? I'd vote for all of those, I'll bet that Grassley wouldn't.
Are you referring to a "Flat Tax"?
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:12 PM   #15
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I used to think that way about capital gains, but the problem is that a good part of "gain" is lost to inflation so you are taxed on inflation. Given that you cannot deduct inflation from the capital gain I am not so thrilled with taxing the "gain" at ordinary income levels. Except for short term gain, which I think should be taxed as ordinary income.
Doesn't the same thing apply to interest on savings accounts, CD's and the like, which are taxed as ordinary income?

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I agree that the alphabet soup of retirement incentives is unnecessarily complex. I see no reason why you should be able to pile a lot into a 401k but if you don't have a 401k you only can put a nominal amount in an IRA. Standardize the whole thing and make them all portable.
I never have understood why there needs to be a limit on annual contributions to any kind of tax-advantaged retirement account. Why not just let people put in as much or as little as they like? The IRS will get their money sooner (Roth IRA) or later (all the others).
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:18 PM   #16
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(snip)I'll have to research a little, buit I believe when the IRA first came out, there were no limits to how much you could put in one. I think it was either in 1984 or 1986 they set it at $2000.........
I'm not absolutely certain, but I think the $2000 limit on contributions was there from the start. I opened an IRA when I had one of my first jobs during high school (early 1970's) and it sounds awfully familiar. However, IIRC, IRA contributions were tax-deductible for everyone, regardless of income. The mid 1980's sounds about right for when people with higher incomes were no longer able to deduct TIRA contributions.
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:20 PM   #17
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Back to the topic of the IRS enforcing ownership of health insurance, this is a very good example of the potential unconstitutionality of the entire scheme. Give me an example of another situation where the federal gov't requires a person to buy a service or product from a private company, and then throws them in jail if they don't comply. Even if some plan is passed, I don't see how it will hold up in the Supreme Court. Of course, they seldom agree with me when it comes to personal freedom, so I'm probably wrong.
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:45 PM   #18
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Give me an example of another situation where the federal gov't requires a person to buy a service or product from a private company, and then throws them in jail if they don't comply.
Most state governments require drivers to have auto insurance, or face jail time. Of course, one doesn't have to drive. You also don't have to have a SS# if you don't work or make personal income or have bank accounts in your name.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:37 PM   #19
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Most state governments require drivers to have auto insurance, or face jail time. Of course, one doesn't have to drive.
I don't think this is even close to applicable. States don't even require drivers to have insurance unless they drive on public roads. So, it's a requirement levied on citizens wanting to perform a voluntary act. That's a lot different from forcing everyone to buy health insurance as a condition of citizenship.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:45 PM   #20
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... Give me an example of another situation where the federal gov't requires a person to buy a service or product from a private company, and then throws them in jail if they don't comply....
I suppose there would be no problem having health insurance as optional if as a society we can say to those without insurance who go to the ER, "no insurance, no treatment" but I don't think we are at that point.

If I chose not to have car insurance, but got in an accident, I don't think anyone would feel sorry for me and say, cover my damages anyway.
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