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July 29, 2021

The Morning Rant: Minimalist Edition


This has everything! An idiot United States Senator who has a really dumb idea, and buttresses it with a profound misunderstanding of market economies and the relationship between government and the governed.

Wait...that describes about 90% of the U.S. Senate. It's Fauxcahontas Warren who seems to think that the necessarily adversarial relationship between the IRS and the people from whom it takes money should be tilted even more in favor of the government, mostly because that is pretty much all she knows: the answer to every problem is more government!

Elizabeth Warren Wants the IRS To Create Its Own TurboTax. What Could Go Wrong?

Earlier this week, New York Times editorial board member Binyamin Applebaum wrote an opinion column criticizing Intuit's decision to exit from the federal program that allowed some people to use the free version of the company's TurboTax software. Applebaum accused Intuit of "abandoning the pretense of good citizenship" in favor of seeking profit before making his real case: that the federal government, more specifically the IRS, should make their own tax-filing software—an argument enthusiastically applauded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), who rarely misses an opportunity to decry a company for "chasing profits."
I don't want corporations to have any sense of good citizenship. You know, like Twitter and FaceBook are good citizens. The idiocy of putting profit or shareholder value below some amorphous sense of morality is a slippery slope, and one down which we are accelerating rather quickly. A nice boring 50 year span of companies just doing what they do best and not meddling in other parts of society would be a grand thing.

Wouldn't it be nice if Coca Cola just made soft drinks and didn't lecture us about race? Or Twitter bowing out of the business of deciding what should be socially acceptable discourse and just acting as a neutral conduit of people's 280 character thoughts?

Shockingly, the article doesn't mention legalizing drugs or opening the borders, so I had to double-check that it was really Reason and not some spoof. But they have gone so far into the weeds that they actually suggest that a government tax preparation system "might" be a good idea. And it gets worse, with the author being carefully neutral about the idea that government and the tax code should try to decrease "inequality," whatever that is.

But the overarching tone is one that is profoundly depressing. We have gone from an America that was reasonably self reliant, to one in which relatively simple activities like doing one's taxes must be assisted by government.

Sure, doing taxes is irritating, but there are many free methods that are easy to use, in spite of Warren's and Reason's claims. And if worse comes to worst, there is always a pad of paper, a pencil and a calculator. But the assumption is that Americans are too stupid and lazy to figure this stuff out on their own. We aren't talking about complex tax returns with multiple income streams and complex financial instruments. Those people use accountants or are happy to pay Intuit or some other financial software company a hundred bucks for their software.

Of course, as Reason correctly points out, the best way to fix this is to fix the tax code. But that won't happen. Ever. People like Fauxcahontas Warren are far too invested in the labyrinth, which allows them to get rich, courtesy of the American taxpayer.

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posted by CBD at 11:00 AM

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