They say there are only two certainties in life, and blogging isn’t one of them. The long gap since my last post can be explained by one of those certainties — and fortunately it wasn’t a death.
Tax Day has finally come and gone, meaning I can now get back down to business. According to the National Small Business Association, 57% of entrepreneurs spend at least a full workweek on their taxes, which means the IRS is a bigger drain on productivity than Twitter or Angry Birds.
I realize that taxes are a necessary evil, and I try to be scrupulous in paying what I owe. But when America’s smallest businesses spend an average of $7,274 per employee just to comply with the intricacies of the tax code, something appears to be seriously wrong with the system.
Every year in early April, Washington starts buzzing about ways to make the tax code simpler, fairer or perhaps flatter. Then every year by early May, those efforts have been largely abandoned, and politicians get back down to spending our money with abandon. They know they don’t really have to worry about fixing anything for one simple reason: Election Day is still half a year away, and voters have a short memory.
Is it a coincidence that Tax Day and Election Day are spaced at opposite ends of the calendar? I’m skeptical. I suspect the architects of the modern U.S. tax code had the foresight to build in a six-month cooling-off period between the day we “hire” our lawmakers and the day we pay their salary.
When Washington is ready to get serious about fixing the tax mess, one simple step would jump-start the process: Move Tax Day so it falls about two weeks before Election Day. If voters were to pay their taxes and fund their government at the same time, the political debate would quickly get a lot more focused and a lot more urgent than it is now.
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