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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 12, 2007 / 24 Nissan, 5767

Kill this monster

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ronald Reagan said it back in 1983: "Our federal tax system is, in short, utterly impossible, utterly unjust and completely counterproductive … [it] reeks with injustice and is fundamentally un-American … it has earned a rebellion and it's time we rebelled."


But what politician would rail against the country's irrational, insufferable, infernal Internal Revenue Code today, except perhaps for ceremonial purposes? Some in Congress have made distinguished careers leading the innocent and unwary through its byzantine ways and byways, occasionally constructing secret passages to favor the special interests they represent. Whole industries like accountancy and tax law have been built on it.


This republic, which was born of a tax revolt — indeed, several of them — has lost touch with its roots. We have become inured to the injustice and, even worse, the unknowable intricacies of the tax system so that complaints about it sound more like ritual than indignation.


Most of us don't object to paying our taxes — living in the United States of America is not only a privilege but a great bargain. What we object to, or should, is how hard, how complicated, how expensive and sometimes just plain hopeless it is to figure out how much we owe.


Awash in a sea of paper, or maybe in an ocean of electronic impulses in this internetted age, the American taxpayer needs…


HELP!


Every new sweeping tax law Congress enacts — always called a "reform" — makes the job even more complicated and, if possible, more confusing. And the tax code longer.


One such grand reform, makeover and general overhaul was enacted in 2001. It included 441 changes in the tax code. Just one of them — about how to claim a tax rebate if you didn't get one that year — generated a million errors on that single line of people's returns.


The country's tax code has grown as indecipherable to the average American as Hammurabi's. It might as well be written on clay tablets.


Even the length of the Internal Revenue Code is a matter of debate, with estimates varying widely. According to the U.S. Government Printing Office, it's 13,458 pages long and available in 20 volumes ($974, shipping included), but that doesn't count an additional 3,387 pages contributed by Congress, available for $179. Which brings the grand total to 16,845 pages. It sounds like just the thing to keep on your bedside table if you should ever have trouble nodding off.


For the average American family, filling out a tax form has become like attacking a puzzle to which, often enough, there is no right answer. But we're all supposed to swear, on penalty of perjury, that we've done our best to find it. It's enough to take the bloom out of April even in these dogwood-blessed latitudes.


What to do? Don't mend it, end it. Abolish the tax code and start all over. Think about it: Would anybody starting from scratch come up with a system as arcane and counter-productive as the one we've got? So why not opt for a clean break with the past?


Yes, abolish the Internal Revenue Code and begin anew.


But would that be fair? Well, one thing this current complex, loophole-riddled tax system isn't is fair. Even a flat tax, if it didn't start till incomes reached, say, $30,000 a year, might be fairer than the monster we've got on our hands now.


Put this thing out of its misery and ours. At a time certain. Say, December 31, 2008. The government would have until then to come up with a simple, fair substitute.


Too much to ask?


To rephrase a thought from Dr. Johnson, nothing so wonderfully concentrates the mind as the prospect of being executed. Kill the Internal Revenue Code, and the way to create a simpler, fairer system might become clear to all those politicians, bureaucrats and other unimaginative types who now say it just can't be done.


We'll be told that now is no time to fiddle with the tax system, not with the economy humming along.


And when the economy slows down, as it will sure as there is a business cycle, we'll be told that now is no time to fiddle with the tax system and risk a recession.


It's hard to crack the wall of inertia out there. How many years have I been writing essentially this same column on Tax Day? I've lost count. The only change? The tax code grows longer and more complex.


There will always be an excuse for doing nothing about taxes. But abolish the old tax code on a date certain, and you can bet the politicians in Washington will get busy devising a new one. They'll want to get paid, won't they?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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