It’s an unfortunate fact of life, at one time or another most Americans need the assistance of the government. Even a walking diaper stain as allegedly rich and powerful as The Pampers President needs government support to get anything done, especially in his current job.
The worst part of it is, that to obtain government assistance means dealing directly with the necessary government agency. The prospect of having to deal with Uncle Sam tends to lead to a strong yearning for the return of the days of no Novacaine root canal for most people.
Fortunately, my interactions with the behemoth that is known as the US government has been limited, and mostly positive. Back in November, I needed assistance from the Goliath Social Security Administration in putting in a claim for Disability Insurance for my new best friend, blindness. In all three cases, two on the phone and one in person, I found every one of them pleasant, courteous, helpful, and as compassionate as any Samaritan you could meet under difficult circumstances. Maybe the fact that I treated them as human beings and not enemies had something to do with it, but I don’t think so. They honestly wanted to help. The clai is currently processing.
But no single department of the sprawling sub continent that is the bureaucracy of government causes more night terrors than the dreaded Internal Revenue Service. The mere thought of having to deal with these revenue leaches immediately turns the individual taxpayer into the albino monk from the DaVinci Code, preferring to strip down and flog him or herself with a saltwater knotted hemp rope than pick up the phone and dial.
But here’s the funny thing. The people of the IRS, especially the ones you deal with personally, are not Orcs from the Lord of the Rings. They honestly want to help, but there’s one thing. They have to follow the rules. And who writes those rules? The Congress of the United States. Our duly elected representatives write the tax laws, and the IRS enforces them. And there are no exceptions, freebies, or friends discounts, under penalty of law. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to help.
Here’s a perfect example. Right now, the IRS is developing a free tax software program for all US taxpayers to use if they so desire. The program would auto populate all applicable parts of the form where the IRS already has the tax info, and would ask probing questions to determine any lesser known, or arcane loopholes and benefits that the taxpayer may qualify for. The best part is that the software would automatically be upgraded with any future changes to the tax laws, so taxpayers would not have to worry about using an obsolete program, The US Senate has a competing bill in the draft stages that would compete with the House bill,, but wold contain similar language barring the IRS from sticking their big, fat, IRS noses into personal tax preparation matters.
So, who’s that pissing in the punch bowl? Why, none other than the US Congress, of courses! In a maliciously deceptively named, bipartisan Taxpayer First Act, recently passed by the House, it specifically forbids the IRS to develop and make avail for distribution and use, their new taxpayer software. Why in the world would they do such a thing to thumb their noses at their own constituents? How about more than $6 million in lobbyist money from groups funded by cash suckers like H&R Block,Jackson Hewitt, Turbotax, and the rest of the for profit tax software producers that would suddenly find themselves defaulting on the mortgages for their executive golf courses if suckers like you and me no longer had to rely on them?
If it often seems to you in your interactions with federal government agencies that the deck seems to be stacked against you in getting the help or service you need, you’re not delusional. The deck is stacked against you, and it’s often done so by design. But here is a rare case of a department of the federal government finally trying to make things easier for the public that they serve, and that literally pays them to do so, and the other band of merry freebooters that we also pay, and actually elect, is hell bent for leather to stop them, for their own selfish, personal political gain.
If 2018 taught us nothing else, it taught us anew what “power to the people” actually means in practical terms. If you want to do your own, little part to stop this atrocity, you can jam the switchboards to get in touch with your elected officials at the US Capirol switchboard, (202) 224-3121. If the US government actually wants to work for us for a change, who the hell is the US Congress to try to stop them? It’s OUR freakin’ government, we paid for the damn thing.
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