Happy Tax Day!

Happy Tax Day, bitches! ‘Tis the day when the government confiscates a good chunk of your hard-earned money so they can waste it on shit like this.

The play has a fitting name, in a sense: The Great Immensity. The great, extremely large waste of taxpayer money to bring “Global Warming: the musical” to the stage. The National Science Foundation’s four-year $700,000 pet project debuted in New York City Friday night, in an auditorium the size of a movie theater. It promised to be a “continent-hopping thriller” that will spur a dialogue about the need to act on climate change. Indeed, the six-actor cast does their best to convince the audience they are in Panama, Canada, and Paris by moving around two tables, four chairs, and a few partitions that make up the set. It’s hard to see how we got our money’s worth.

At least someone is in a good mood…

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Actually the whole Left is in a good mood today. It’s their favorite day, taxes YAY! One of Jonathan Cohn’s happy, happy Tax Day talking points is how excited you should be to pay those payroll taxes which go towards your Social Security. Cohn fails to mention that Social Security will be bankrupt by the time most of us retire, so we won’t get our money back. YAY!! Cohn, of course, can’t get through the article without slipping in a reminder to you that Paul Ryan HATES THE POORS before continuing his call for more taxes, higher taxes, all manner of taxes, etc. Meanwhile, Sean Davis – who lives in the real world – points out that important little factoid about Social Security that I mentioned above and more in his piece “8 Infuriating Facts to Remember on Tax Day”. A sample:

According to the Tax Foundation, a non-profit which compiles detailed tax statistics, it will take 111 days this year for American workers to collectively pay their tax bills. That means that every cent you earn throughout those first 111 days of the year gets collected and consumed by government… According to an investigative report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), over 300,000 federal employees and retirees were delinquent on their own taxes to the tune of $3.5 billion.

Patrick Brennan explains the federal tax system via charts.

Taxes make people CRAZY.

A Chicago man who claimed he was “tax exempt” and didn’t have to pay the 22-cent sales tax on his $1.79 two-liter of Pepsi allegedly pulled a .22 caliber submachine gun to avoid forking over the extra cash at a convenience store on Saturday.

The progressive income tax: Thomas Jefferson would be mad

…And many Americans are getting mad, too. Most now support a flat tax.

Here’s something else to piss you off today…

The federal agency in charge of the AmeriCorps program has failed to follow White House orders to reduce improper federal grant payments for the third year in a row, the agency’s inspector general (IG) said in a report released Friday. The agency, which doles out $750 million in grant money per year, is susceptible to millions in improper payments every year, the IG found. The IG for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS ) criticized the agency for failing to comply with executive orders and guidance from the White House Office of Management and Budget. According to the report, the corporation has never conducted an audit of its grantmaking across the entire AmeriCorps program, which supports volunteer efforts around the country…CNCS “has never conducted an analysis of the costs incurred by AmeriCorps grantees across the entire grant portfolio.” Preliminary accounting has found at least $10 million in potential improper payments, “but it cannot reliably estimate how much more.”

PAY MOAR TAXES

In state tax news, Illinois now has the second-highest property taxes in the nation.

Illinois now has the second-highest property taxes in the nation, according to a recent report from the Urban Institute. Only New Jersey had higher property tax rates as of the end of 2012, the period covered by the report. Property taxes in Illinois average 2.28 percent of a home’s value, according to the Urban Institute. In New Jersey, they’re 2.32 percent, and in lowest-taxing Hawaii, they’re 0.27 percent. (The lowest among mainland states is Alabama, at 0.46 percent.) All the states that ranked ahead of Illinois in the 2007–11 chart saw their tax rates go up in 2012. But the rate in Illinois went up more. When the data is in for 2013, it’s unlikely to show Illinois stepping down from second place, says Brian Costin, director of government reform for the Illinois Policy Institute. In fact, he predicts that Illinois is on its way to eclipsing New Jersey on property tax rates…In related news, Allied Van Lines reported Monday that Illinois is the state with the second-highest rate of households moving out. Last January, we were also number two in a similar report from United Van Lines, an annual report that will be updated this week. Number one in that report? New Jersey, the only state that tops us on property taxes.

By the way, I found another thing we can cut out of the federal budget: the Department of Commerce. Sonny Bunch has a good feature piece over at Reason on the history and ineptitude of the department. A couple, brief excerpts:

The department is asking for $14.8 million in FY 2014 to complete phase four of renovations and modernizations to the Hoover building-this after $5 million spent in each of the previous two years. Then there’s the $16 million that agency bureaucrats seek to update their financial management software because, in their own words, it is “neither a Financial System Integration Office certified system nor is it Section 508 compliant. Additionally, system limitations require Commerce to undertake a highly manual and inefficient process that involves compiling multiple data sources to provide reports requested by the Congressional Appropriations Committees. The stability and reliability of the system is questionable as the design is almost 25 years old.”…Cronyism is not the only wasteful, economically destructive aspect of the Commerce Department. The Washington Times reported in April 2013 that the Commerce Department “has been charging other government agencies millions of dollars for reports that the other agencies could just as easily have gotten online, for free.” The Government Accountability Office report the Times story was based on showed that three out of four reports Commerce was charging those other agencies for were freely available online. Commerce doesn’t have a great track record at finding ways to save money. Another GAO report found that the department did not perform a cost-benefit analysis on a quarter-billion dollar plan to increase broadband access in rural areas…The Commerce Department houses bureaus that play several constitutionally mandated roles -the issuing of patents among them. Getting rid of it altogether would not mean getting rid of many of its component parts. But splitting off the required departments, and protecting other, more useful, organizations from its pernicious influence, would be an economic boon and an easy way to cut billions from the budget. It would also demonstrate a commitment to actually shrinking the size of government, a notion that has long been absent in the corridors of Washington.

Ending on a happy note, after WaPo exposed the Social Security administration stealing people’s tax refunds to pay off their grandparent’s supposed debts, the administration has now said it will stop.

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