CNBC debate

Last night I was talking to my sister about how strange it is for Americans to put up with federal regulations that would be worthy of a revolution in another place and time. She astutely pointed to CNBC’s debate on Wednesday as an example of normalized madness. In Carl Quintanilla’s world, it is perfectly acceptable to have a 73,000-page tax code. A woman who thinks it can and should be simplified to three pages is the one who should be ridiculed.

Fiorina: We now have a 73,000-page tax code. There have been more than 4,000 changes to the tax plan since 2001 alone. There are loads of great ideas, great conservative ideas, from wonderful think tanks, about how to reform the tax code. The problem is, we never get it done.

Quintanilla: You want to bring the 70,000 pages to 3. Is that using really small type?”

The premise of Quintanilla’s smarmy joke is that it is reasonable to have a tax code closing in on 100,000 pages long. Over 4,000 changes to said tax code over the course of two U.S. presidents is also considered sane.

Carly is the sane woman in an insane world, which sadly makes her insane.

Carly Fiorina

Who benefits from a 73,000-page tax code? Answer: It’s not “the little guy,” who Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all claim to represent.

The “little guy” is the one who does not have an army of lawyers at his disposal to cut through bureaucratic red tape. Bernie Sanders need complex rules and regulations because – for all his rhetoric about making “billionaires” pay for all the world’s ills — it is hard-working families who end up shouldering the costs.

Last year I hired a tax professional to make sure I handled my family’s payments properly. I was 95 percent sure I correctly filled out all my paperwork, but it is always written in a way where you never reach the 100 percent mark. Jargon only a professional tax-preparer can understand makes honest Americans wonder if they’re going to get a letter from the IRS ten months later demanding money.

My name is not Donald Trump. My name is not Hillary Clinton. I do not have the resources at this time to navigate an endless maze of tax laws. My guess is that most of the people reading this blog are in the same boat. Yet it is Carly Fiorina who is mocked for an idea that would a.) increase individual liberty while b.) making our lives exponentially easier each tax season.

Carl Quintanilla, we are all dumber for listening to you moderate CNBC’s Republican debate. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

2 comments

  1. One of Jimmy Carter’s campaign promises in 1976 was to simplify the tax code. Of course, he failed, but at least no one acted as if he was crazy for wanting to do such a thing in the first place.

    The fact that companies like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt stay in business is proof that a significant number of people cannot prepare their own tax returns. And the fact that a significant number of Americans have to hire professional CPA’s to do their tax returns is proof that the tax system is too complicated.

    1. My family’s taxes have been weird the past few years. My wife and I both lived in different states for awhile because she was in medical school, and then we both moved to a new state when she began her residency. Then I went from working full time for a newspaper to contractor status due to the move. We also had some investments moved around, etc.

      There really is no reason why the U.S. can’t work out some sort of flat-tax…

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