Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself (& end up looking foolish)

With tax day looming tomorrow, how about something that reminds us of how much we all loathe the IRS and the politics of taxation?  (Not you–IRS employee who reads this blog and could conceivably audit me.  I think you’re a fine, upstanding person, a great dancer, and have fabulous hair.  I’m talking about a completely different IRS person who would never be so cool as to be reading this.)

For awhile now, candidates for office who have wanted to demonstrate their commitment to not taxing us into oblivion have signed the ATR (Americans for Tax Reform) Tax Pledge, the gist of which is that the candidate promises to oppose any net increase in taxes, corporate or personal.  (I know, I know.  The horror!  Why, with a philosophy like that, one might leap to the conclusion that the candidate in question wasn’t in favor of driving away business and could even want to improve the economy.  What will those crazy fiscal conservatives come up with next?)

Well, in a move so disingenuous that I wouldn’t be surprised if their pants were actually on fire while they did this, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee started running an attack ad against Charles Djou (a Republican running for Congress in Hawaii’s 1st District) based on his pledge.  Of course, they couldn’t claim that Djou was opposed to higher taxes.  (Well, they could, but this would tend to undermine their efforts to not get him elected.)  So instead they twisted his anti-tax pledge into a claim that he supported tax breaks for companies moving jobs overseas.  As FactCheck.org explains, this is a complete misrepresentation of the anti-tax pledge that can only be explained by political sneakiness or crack addiction.  (Ok, I added the part about sneakiness and crack.  But FactCheck really did take the DCCC to task for the blatant misrepresentation of Djou, which, in this time of high unemployment, amounts to little more than a smear tactic.)

So let that be a reminder of a few things:

Don’t be swayed by outrageous claims when it comes to where the candidates stand on important economic issues.  Tax issues are almost always more complicated than can be explained in a 30 second commercial.  And falling for tactics like the DCCC tried with Djou will just teach politicians that making pledges isn’t worth the fallout.

While we can all agree that the employees of the IRS are a lovely group of people who should each individually get to date Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, April 15th still stinks.

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