Lavish Affluence Inside the Beltway

Calling an Uber Limo with Smartphone Ap
Writing in a style reminiscent of the stream of consciousnesses that might be expected from the Gonzo journalism pen of Hunter S. Thompson, Andrew Ferguson chronicals stories about the affluent excesses that are now "The DC Way" inside Washington's circumferential beltways. In the latest Time Magazine issue (May 28,2012), the long article points us to the sociological changes that may not have been the cause, but are at least the outward evidence of a government out-of-control  - and it is most certainly the psychological basis that has sustained the monstrous decline in America's moral, economic and financial well-being.  My thanks to Tyler Cowen over at Marginal Revolution for finding the article outside of Time's paywall here.

Perhaps Andrew Ferguson would object to my calling his writings Gonzo-like, because his style is more fluid and maybe he takes a little longer to make a point - but his point in "Bubble on the Potomac" is just as dramatic as Hunter S. Thompson's infamous suicide note:
No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun – for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax – This won’t hurt.
It would be nice if the messages inside the "Bubble" won't hurt but hang on, because disgust grows as you read the whole thing, which you should do. Here we go with a "CliffsNotes" version starting with the subtitle and a short introduction:
The new affluence flooding the nation’s capital sets it a world apart from the country it governs. 
... these are good times in Washington and the seven counties that surround it. Even as the nation struggles, the capital has prospered, making it a magnet for young hipsters but leaving its residents with only a tentative understanding of how the rest of the country lives. “It’s nice,” goes the old joke about Miami, “because it’s so close to the United States.” Well, Washington is very nice these days.
Every week brings fresh evidence of continuing prosperity: a new restaurant, a new nightclub, another restored 19th century townhouse in a previously dodgy neighborhood selling for $1 million or more. Start-ups are hiring through Craigs­list, and just opened lobbying firms have no trouble collaring clients. Storefronts that stood abandoned five years ago fill with pricey gourmet-food shops like Cowgirl Creamery, a cheese­monger that has opened its only store outside Northern California on F Street downtown. Its Mt. Tam cheese goes for more than $25 per pound. It’s organic.
Another Northern California import, a limousine service called Uber, launched in December after great success in San Francisco and New York City. “The growth here has been unique in our experience,” says Rachel Holt, who oversees Uber’s burgeoning D.C. operation. Uber is Web-based and cashless: customers call for limos with a smart-phone app and pay with a credit card on file. It’s also deluxe. Riders expect nothing lower on the limo food chain than a Town Car, with offerings going up to Mercedes and beyond.  
Way back when I worked in the cheese business, my Boston-born boss used to refer to Beantown as "a slice of the good life" but Washington and its suburbs are indeed the whole cheese wheel as far as "the good life" goes.
Other big cities, of course, have made it through the recession in one piece. But few eased through the crash as lightly as D.C., much less prospered so widely on the rebound. The local unemployment rate, at 5.5%, stands well below the national figure of 8.2%. The region’s foreclosure rates have always been significantly lower than those elsewhere, and now housing prices in D.C. and across the river in the Virginia suburbs of Arlington and ­Alexandria are close to their precrash peaks. The ­Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate—in Washington, everyone has an association—ranks the region as one of the best investments in the world, right after London and New York City. The cost of office space in Washington rivals New York prices, averaging $50 a square foot.
How’s a country to make sense of a national capital whose day-to-day life is so much more upholstered than its own? Increasingly, it cannot. Recently Washington passed San Jose in Silicon Valley to become the richest metropolitan area in the U.S. Since the 1990s, says economist Stephen Fuller of George Mason University, the region has led the nation’s metropolitan areas in overall employment rate. The median household income in the metro area in 2010 was $84,523, according to calculations by Bloomberg News, nearly 70% over the national median household income of $50,046. Nine of the 15 richest counties in the country surround Washington, including Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5.
As we might expect, the engine that drives the District is our free-spending government and the never-ending tax collections. The size of government has grown exponentially since Bill Clinton took office in 2000, Bush 43 kicked it up another notch and Obama's cronies have become history's biggest spenders.
Yet the diversity of the Washington economy is an illusion, for each of its business sectors is to some degree a creature of the region’s single great industry—the federal government. According to a 2007 report by the Tax Foundation, for every dollar in taxes Washington sends to the federal government, it receives five in return. Fuller says that over the past 30 years, the federal government has spent $860 billion in the D.C. region, two-thirds of that since 9/11.
Why the boom? The size of the nonmilitary, nonpostal federal workforce has stayed relatively stable since the 1960s. What has changed is not the government payroll but the number of government contractors. It’s estimated that, thanks to massive outsourcing over the past 20 years by the Clinton and Bush administrations, there are two government contractors for every worker directly employed by the government. Federal contracting is the region’s great growth industry. A government contractor can even hire contractors for help in getting more government contracts. You could call those guys ­government-contract contractors.
If there is one thing worse than large bureaucracies, it is large bureaucratic supervising teams of consultants supervising other consultants - especially those who are "wet-behind-the-ears."
Peter Corbett isn’t so sure about the wisdom of D.C.’s version of the knowledge economy. Corbett heads a social-media marketing company, with corporate clients that have famous names. Most of his work involves nonprofit foundations that have flocked to Washington to be close to the fount of grants and tax breaks. He did a single project for the federal government and then swore it off for good. He describes his first meeting at the Pentagon. “There are 12 people sitting around the table,” he says. “I didn’t know eight of them. I said, ‘Who are you?’ They say, ‘I’m with Booz Allen.’ ‘I’m with Lockheed.’ ‘I’m with CACI.’ ‘But why are you here?’ ‘We’re consultants on your project.’ I said, ‘You are?’ They were charging the government $300 an hour, and I had no idea what they were doing, and neither did they. They were just there. So I just ignored them and did my project with my own people.” 
Aside from its wealth, the single defining feature of über-Washington is its youth. Most of the people who have moved to Washington since 2006 have been under 35; the region has the highest ­percentage of 25-to-34-year-olds in the U.S. “We’re a mecca for young people,” Fuller says. One recent arrival says word has gotten out to new graduates that Washington is where the work is. “It’s a place where a ­liberal-arts major can still get a job,” she says, “because you don’t need a particular skill.”
But not all of Washington life is fun and games, despite the staffer's "Wheels-Up Parties" that begin every Thursday evening when their non-resident bosses return home for long weekends.  With the promise of the "good life" students are accepting low and no-paying jobs in DC order to join-in on the privileges later.
Über-Washington has its own career pattern that is becoming as routinized as that of a 1950s organization man. A student graduates and goes to Washington for an internship, usually unpaid, which qualifies her for another internship, perhaps paid, until an entry-level job is offered, as it almost always will be. “Then you work for a few years,” Glickfield explains, “and then you go off and get the next degree, law or business, and then you come back for a better job.” Colleges and universities have figured this out and moved quickly to get a place on the conveyor belt. Big state schools and smaller liberal-arts colleges occupy office buildings in the city, where they run sophisticated internship programs designed to place their graduates (and soon-to-be graduates) in one of the country’s few hot job markets.
As national politics makes it impossible to expand government explicitly, these interns—often underpaid, usually ­overworked and frequently subsidized by their parents—have become vital to keeping government going. At the same time, they contribute to a feature of über-­Washington that too often goes un­remarked: the capital has one of the most lopsided distributions of wealth of any major metropolitan area in the U.S. Along with a higher per capita income than any state and one of the nation’s lowest rates of unemployment, Washington has a poverty rate of nearly 20%, above the national average of 15%; a public-school system that is often called the worst in the nation; and a crime rate that remains higher than in any other rich community. In the district, whites enjoy a per capita income nearly three times that of African Americans.
But here in flyover country, the insight into Washington's culture, strangely dominated by radical environmentalism, may present our greatest threat, which means that government as we know it has to be reorganized and slimmed down  - from the ground up, because fraking in the oil and gas is looked down upon by the insulated Washington folks, but it is prosperity and jobs in northwestern North Dakota and in Youngstown, Ohio.
Socially and culturally, life in über-Washington can seem as insular as its economy, and the insularity has ­consequences for the rest of the country. Über-Washingtonians, for instance, are intensely concerned about the environment. The local economy bristles with company names like GreenBrilliance and SkyBuilt Power. But the unreal character of that economy makes it easy for Washingtonians to overestimate the ability or the desire of their fellow Americans to live as they do. In über-Washington, the private automobile is looked on as at best a necessary nuisance and at worst a morally suspect source of sprawl and climate change. Many Washingtonians are eager to tell you they don’t own one, preferring a highly subsidized commute on the Metro system’s carpeted (if often unreliable) subway cars. Even Uber, the limo service, has been hailed on blogs as a green innovation, notwithstanding its emanations of conspicuous consumption. Bike-share racks have sprung up downtown and in the close-in suburbs to take advantage of the newly painted bike lanes that have squeezed grand thoroughfares like 14th Street down to two lanes. Local authorities have reserved hundreds of parking spaces exclusively for Zipcars, which customers rent for an hour or a day in place of buying a car of their own. The Zipcar motto: “Cars with a conscience.”
If we ever needed a reason for austerity consider:
How long can such a culture of complacency last, even one as heavily subsidized by a country as rich as the U.S., in the face of awesome government debt?
The optimism of über-Washingtonians so far survives the unspoken worry about a coming age of austerity, in which government spending cuts would end the high life that Washingtonians have come to expect. They are right to be optimistic. The two most plausible deficit-reduction proposals—one by President Obama, the other by the Republican-controlled House Budget Committee—each calls for the government in 2021 to spend a trillion dollars more than it spends today. 

Greek Duplicity: Belly Dancing Didn't Save The Antiquities Either - Or "It's The Culture, Stupid!"

"Je ne suis pas et ne serais jamais une danseuse de ventre." ~Nadia Gamal

Back in February of 2010, I published a piece about the impending Greek economic tragedy that contained this vignette from Victor Davis Hanson:
I lived in Greece for more than two years, and one of my best memories is of a small hotelier at a seaside resort. He checked you in; he cooked; he did the landscaping at night; he did all the maintenance during the day. I asked him why he didn’t hire more help, since his hotel wasn’t all that small and he seemed to be going 24/7. What followed was a harangue about the cost of hiring a permanent worker in Greece, the difficulty of ever firing him if he proved worthless, and why he preferred to do everything himself rather than fill out all sorts of forms and hire unmotivated but tenured employees. Besides, he said, almost everyone was on some sort of pension, disability, or government benefit, and was unwilling to work, so his choices were either illegal immigrants or broke foreign students. Then he launched into a blast against socialism, and explained how he was forced to become an expert tax dodger, how he would barter for all the transactions he could, and why he hated the government. He finished by sighing that in Greece, the people spend their time either devising ways to get government money or scheming to avoid the tax collectors — or, preferably, both.
Now from Der Spiegel comes the latest update in the ongoing crisis. A group of middle-class Greek business owners have told the government that they will not pay the biting tax burden that accompanies the austerity program forced upon them by actions of the European Central Bank and the Eurozone countries.
The group's slogan is as simple as it is stoic: "We Won't Pay."

This business owners' absolute refusal to pay any taxes resembles an uprising of the ownership class, rather than the working class, a rebellion of the self-employed business owners who have long been the backbone of Greek society. These are not the people who weaseled their way into Greece's oversized civil service; these are people who put their money in the private sector, working 12-hour days, seven days a week. 
Greece's shadow economy has already wrecked the Aegean country's tax collection mechanism. Rule-of-law has been replaced by black market exchanges of goods and services which constitute almost 30% of commerce. So it now seems that small business owners want to make it appear that they will all disappear after a visit with John Galt, which might indeed be crippling to a country that has made no effort to develop an industrial base with production facilities. Because businesses in Greece are generally small, they sum up to be 60% of all enterprise and it would appear that that these hard working owners routinely don't pay taxes while enthusiastically embracing black market dealings.
One last factor to take into account when discussing tax evasion in Greece is the structure of its economy: Unlike most eurozone countries, more than half of Greeks are either self-employed or work in small companies of less than nine people. In Germany, for instance, this figure is less than 20 percent. This is significant because anywhere in the world you go, there is a direct correlation between this type of employment and the black economy because it becomes more difficult for authorities to check disparate tax records. A graph of OECD data shows that there is a steady rise in the size of undeclared revenues and earnings, the more self-employed professionals and small companies a country has.
Greek mythology is chock full of cannibalism practiced by the make-believe gods. Not to be outdone, Greek public administration bureaucrats are feeding on the citzenry through a corrupt system of bribery as a formalized part of the parallel economy they call “paraoikonomia.”
Greek citizens made 900 million euros in payoffs nationwide in 2008, according to Transparency International. Its 2009 survey of 6,000 Greek citizens found that 300 euros was the going rate for a bribe to pass an automobile emission inspection. The cost to jump to the top of a waiting list for an operation in a state hospital was about 2,500 euros.
As might be expected with the prevalent corruption, administration of government functions is nothing short of chaotic.
Here is Greece’s ... tax collectors on the take, public-school teachers who don’t really teach, well-paid employees of bankrupt state railroads whose trains never run on time, state hospital workers bribed to buy overpriced supplies. Here they are, ... a nation of people looking for anyone to blame but themselves.
But not to worry because the Greeks have figured it all out. Blame goes all the way back to the Ottoman Empire. Read and interpret as; "We don't need no stinking badges."
Some Greeks say tax evasion is rooted in the Ottoman Empire’s control of the country for centuries until the 1820s. “We very much lack a tax conscience,” says Ilias Plaskovitis, the Finance Ministry’s general secretary. “Some trace it back to the Ottoman Empire, when tax evasion was resistance to foreign powers.”
The government says graft in Greece goes back centuries and touches the nation’s most-enduring temple of antiquity: the Parthenon in Athens. In the early 1800s, a British ambassador, the Earl of Elgin, paid Ottoman officials in Athens to help him spirit away marble friezes that decorated the perimeter of the Parthenon ....
Greece is a wonderful place (just ask them), filled with caring people who follow orders - and who cannot figure out that they have to be the movers and shakers for needed change. When the rule-of-law is respected by "many," it simply is not enough.
Contrary to popular belief, many of these people have followed the rules, paid their taxes, made their pension contributions and stood for what is right. Some of them have been snared in the cogs of a misfiring and malfunctioning system. Some have their hands full trying to eke out a living in trying circumstances. Others have given up hope of being anything more than hostages to the egoism of the few. But there are those who keep the hope alive, who persevere and remain true to their beliefs, ... the coming together of minds and souls, was ephemeral but it was a reminder that decent and passionate people exist and that there might be enough of them to turn this country around.
The last round of austerity begot riots, labor strikes, and "We Won't Pay." That brought about the downfall of the fragile coalition government. In mid-June another inept coalition will be formed and the Greeks can do it all over again before year end. The frail political class in Greece will not take on the bullies so reform will once again fail. A bold "Grexit" from the Eurozone and the Euro is unlikely - unless of course the actions come from the EU. Indeed, the problem is the Greek culture.

Bumbling Bureaucracy Blocks Better Schools

"In the 1960s, several small Township schools, located in the eastern part of Allen County were urged and threatened by the Indiana State Board of Education into consolidating under the name of East Allen County Schools."
What was deemed a bad idea 50 years ago remains a bad idea today. Have a look at the map and you see five separated areas -  not one single school district. I am reminded of the quip made by Lee Dreyfus, a former governor of Wisconsin, who declared Madison, a capital city with unending bureaucracy and a whole lot of liberalism, as "30 square miles surrounded by reality." EACS likewise requires detachment in order to face reality.

The EACS school administration and the ruling school board suffered two very dramatic humiliations this month. Sadly, the issues behind these setbacks remain. Over the past year or so, East Allen has been facing severe budget cuts which resulted in the closing of five elementary schools last fall. Additionally, poor academics at Paul Harding High School required either the operational takeover of that school by the state or its closure. For some strange reason, the school was closed, the students were transferred to other high schools and a plan was hatched to remodel the Harding building to become a magnet school, ie. a college-prep academy (note: I am incapable of understanding such logic). Anyway, an $88 million capital plan was presented to the voters on May 8 to fund the Harding changeover and  to rejigger some school buildings to accommodate the loss of five elementaries. Voters said: "No way Jose."

By now, the constant smashing of her head against a wall was beginning to feel good, so Superintendent Karyle Green decided to see if she could (as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette suggested) get herself fired by thoughtlessly acceding to a public hearing on the results of a consultant's study began at the time of the EACS school closings last fall. The first mistake made by the board was to hire a consultant in the first place without some idea what the study's downside might be. The consultant, Dr. Daryl Yost, is a former Superintendent of Schools at EACS and his expertise amounted to having conducted one other study of similar design at Southwest Allen County Schools, one of Indiana's finest school districts. A politically palatable report upon completing that work helped convince SWAC voters to grant a requested tax increase. Law schools teach trial lawyers never to ask a question to which said lawyer does not know the answer. When Dr.Yost was permitted to make his presentation to a packed house, the roof blew off.
The 34-page report harshly critical of the East Allen County Schools administration and school board gives few details and no breakdown on the source of specific complaints. Its author, former EACS Superintendent Daryl Yost, primarily represents views of teachers and staff invited to anonymously evaluate their supervisors. In an interview, he acknowledged that about 750 of the 909 participants were employees and that the handful of taxpayer responses came from New Haven, where some residents have been openly critical of the plan to maintain five high schools. “This report is not based on research, statistical data or a scientific survey, but the feelings and thoughts of people closely related to the district,” Yost said in offering the report ...
The report is entitled "Perceptions and Recommendations" and parts of it reads like phrases from a textbook.  Dr, Daryl Yost charged $34,443 and he produced a Powerpoint presentation of 34 pages with no backup data. There are no alternatives to his listed recommendations nor do all recommendations always provide clear paths to implementation or denote consequences for failure to implement. Any school board worth its salt would have monitored the findings and would have insisted on more detail and discipline in the study. It would appear that too much reliance was placed on opinions. At the very least, the board should have reviewed the written report before a public presentation was permitted. Frankly, in my not-so-humble opinion, rejection of the report was and is the only way out of this mess. After all, Daryl Yost has publically admitted that his survey is non-scientific and represents only the feelings of those surveyed.

“The first rule of holes: When you're in one stop digging.”  ― Molly Ivins

 Illustration by Gregg Bender/The Journal Gazette 
Instead of stopping the dig, the EACS school board has now incurred the wrath of the liberal Journal-Gazette, where Opinion Editor Tracy Warner is attacking Board President Neil Reynolds because he has suggested that "next steps" involving the report should be discussed in executive session. Why that crook actually wants to violate the open meeting and open records law! Somehow, I do not think that every dispute with every vendor is brought before the public, nor do I think that it should be. I am amused that first of all, the paper tore apart Dr. Yost's inadequate report but then set upon the school board for wanting to get their ducks in a row. The J-G tactic here is a striking departure from its "no criticism" policy when writing about the Fort Wayne Community school board. and the FWCS school administration.

Zimmerman and Obama are Half-Breeds

Remember when the furor of the Trayvon Martin Case began? Remember when Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Calypso Louie Farrakhan all joined the national media in declaring that racism was rampant in Sanford, Florida where 17 year old Trayvon had been shot by George Zimmerman? Certainly you must remember when Barack Obama declared: "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." 

Non-stop, 24/7, coverage of the circumstances surrounding the case began. Martin's picture at age 12 was then published to play on the emotions of the public. The first exposé penned at the New York Times described George Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic," whatever that is. So Zimmerman must be a non-brown skinned man of Spanish descent whose relatives hailed from Argentina. Despite George Zimmerman's testimony and initial arrest by the Sanford police, his dated picture, taken at a time when he weighed 240 pounds, was presented to the public. Later when he made his first court appearance,  the presiding judge did not recognize the dark-skinned, five-foot-seven inch, 180 pound Zimmerman standing beside his attorney.

Now comes word from Mark NeJame, the Attorney Commentator involved in CNN coverage of the Zimmerman trial, with pictures and proof that George Zimmerman's Great-Grandfather was black  and that his upbringing occurred in a mixed household.  This adds even more credence to earlier reports that Zimmerman often championed the causes of blacks in his community. NeJame is now convinced that there was never a racial element associated with the shooting. So it might be speculated that, if Barack Obama had a son, he would look like George Zimmerman.  After all, as Obama wrote in his racist memoir entitled "Dreams From My Father," our president declares himself  a "half-breed" and in that same light, so too is George. The correct term for Obama's lineage is mulatto, since "half-breed" usually refers to a white-American Indian mix but giving deference to the language in Barry's book (which is most likely a work of ethnic autobiographical fiction), where we can read:
The minority assimilated into the dominant culture, not the other way around. Only white culture could be neutral and objective. Only white culture could be nonracial, willing to adopt the occasional exotic into its ranks. Only white culture had individuals. And we, the half-breeds and the college-degreed, take a survey of the situation and think to ourselves, Why should we get lumped in with the losers if we don’t have to? We become only so grateful to lose ourselves in the crowd, America’s happy, faceless marketplace; and we’re never so outraged as when a cabbie drives past us or the woman in the elevator clutches her purse, not so much because we’re bothered by the fact that such indignities are what less fortunate coloreds have to put up with every single day of their lives-although that’s what we tell ourselves-but because we’re wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and speak impeccable English and yet have somehow been mistaken for an ordinary nigger. [page 75]
Now I will admit great negative bias where Barack Obama is concerned, so I apologize now for putting George Zimmerman in the same category as our President, who is hopelessly racist. Narcissism causes all of the President's personality problems and muddles his thinking - and America is paying the price for his hatred.

Child Care Credit For Illegals Update

The story about rampant tax fraud among non-resident 1040 tax return filers, which I reported on here has a somewhat different perspective when we look at the numbers provided by the Center For Immigration Studies (CIS). Take a look at this shocking compilation:

CIS notes that Treasury Inspector General Report, from which this data came, shows that $4.2 billion was paid out to non-citizens "that is entirely the product of the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) for the 2010 tax processing year". The ACTC tax code provision is unchanged from prior years and is worth up to $1,000 per eligible child and remains fully payable to taxpayers with an "earned income" of over $3,000 for 2011 and 2012 as well.

The growth of this tax cheating becomes easy to see but not so easy to accept when you track the growth in the ACTC filings from 800,000 in 2005 to 2.18 million in 2010.  Payments to non-citizen filers went from $920 million in 2005 to $4.0 billion in 2010. The total outlay over five years was almost $12 billion. The mystery here is why the wonderful "tax audit triggers" that are supposed to keep all taxpayers honest did not kick-in big time!
Data provided by The Social Contract Press indicates that the Earned Income Tax Credit, of which the Child Tax Credit is a part, has increased entitlement spending by the government $11.6 billion per year since 2008 (of which the non-citizen ACTV makes up $1.8 billion).  The Great Recession obviously affected this increase, by throwing more people under  the EITC law but also caused more tax cheating among our citizens during the past three years. Supposedly the IRS hired 3500 new auditors since 2009 to increase audits but no positive results are apparent.

Child Tax Credit For Illegal Mexicans is Phony Story Gone Viral

Investigative Reporter Bob Segall, at Channel 13 Indianapolis, did the above story claiming that a "tax loophole" was permitting "undocumented workers" to collect billions of dollars ($4.2 billion last year) from the Treasury. Supposedly a tax-preparer with "thousands of examples" was blowing the whistle on this unfair scheme whereby filers of non-resident tax returns (Form 1040NR) were claiming their nieces and nephews living in Mexico as eligible to be counted using Form 8812. We have lots of tax cheats, one of whom heads the IRS and now some 2 million illegal aliens.
The loophole is called the Additional Child Tax Credit. It's a fully-refundable credit of up to $1000 per child, and it's meant to help working families who have children living at home. Eyewitness News has found many undocumented workers are claiming the tax credit for kids who live in Mexico.
First of all, there is no tax loophole.  IRS Publication 972, "Child Tax Credit"  defines among other things that a qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit must be (at a minimum) a US resident alien.
Example: Your 10-year-old nephew lives in Mexico and qualifies as your dependent. Because he is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien, he is not a qualifying child for the Child Tax Credit.
So what we have here is tax fraud pure and simple, as the "whistle blower" reported.
"We're talking about a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme here that's taking place and no one is talking about it," [the] tax preparer said.
I would also like to note that the tax credit is not "fully refundable" - as a matter of fact it not a refund at all and the credit is subject to some limitations. The Child Tax Credit is a part if the so-called Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and can result in a payment by the Treasury of up to $1,000 per qualifying child subject to limits affected by the beginning amount of EITC. Understand that the tax-filer did not have to first pay the IRS since this is not a tax refund.

Contrary to the tenor of the WTHR story line, the bad guys here are not necessarily the IRS auditors, although it would be nice if the Obama regime could get past "selective enforcement" policies.  Indeed the problem begins with our "Whistle Blower" and his ilk. The IRS has issued temporary regulations applicable to for-fee tax-preparers that now requires the following actions on their part in order to comply with Due Diligence guidelines associated with the EITC code.
To qualify for earned income credit, the primary facts the return preparer is to establish are:
  1. Verify name of taxpayer and child
  2. Verify accuracy of the social security numbers
  3. The relationship of child to the taxpayer
  4. Age of child
  5. Taxpayer is citizen or resident alien
  6. Child is resident of United States
  7. Child lived in the taxpayer’s residence more than half the year
  8. Taxpayer provided for the costs of the residence more than half the year
In the past, preparers have relied upon the oral evidence provided by the client. The new due diligence requirement appears to make it necessary to have a routine in place for requesting copies of documents from clients. Another key factor in determining due diligence is the asking for alternate documents when primary documents are not available. Until preparers are given better guidance, a combination of the following documents may be used as an argument to show that a preparer exercised due diligence  in attempting to furnish the required information:
  1. Birth certificate
  2. Social Security card
  3. School records
  4. Insurance records
  5. Day care records
  6. Medical records
  7. Rental contracts
  8. Green Card
Bob Segall's tax-professional/informer must actually sign the Form 8867 checklist which subjects the return-preparer to the guidelines above.  So I ask, who is the law-breaker? And the answer is: both the tax-filer and the tax-return-preparer. However, if the story didn't contain all these knee-jerk observations about an anonymous tax consultant who fears reprisals and that Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) that substitutes for a social security ID; and the attempts to change a law that does not need changed; and a Treasury Department Inspector General crying in his beer - then nobody would watch Channel 13.  I know the feeling well, because you and I, dear reader, are the only people who will know the boring truth.

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Besides yours truly, another gadfly scoots about Fort Wayne, only this one pokes at conservative efforts to right the local ship of government .  Jim Sack has written a piece for what we can best describe as an alternative to our daily local papers, called the Fort Wayne Reader.  His piece is entitled "The GOP purity test" with a subtitle "Why ideological “purity” is bad for local politics."

So the local GOP organization is being snipped at by Mr. Sack for undergoing "another round of ritual purification" in the fine tradition of Chairman Mao. Gee, Jim, maybe you are confused about Maoism, so let me use your buddies at Slate to explain why conservatives cannot be Maoists.
A ... feature of Maoism is the idea that the bourgeois menace is ever-present, so party officials must always be vigilant to prevent the revolution's corruption. During Mao Zedong's reign, this meant constant violent purges and "re-education" of suspected counterrevolutionaries, culminating with the Cultural Revolution of 1967-1977, in which millions were harassed or killed for not being Maoist enough. Though the Chinese government has never condemned Maoism, it's clear that the nation's leaders no longer embrace the Great Helmsman's far-left ideas. Mao would likely have a conniption if he saw modern-day Shanghai or heard that the Chinese government was considering adding a provision to the constitution to guarantee private property rights.
Have you detected the significance difference?  Conservatives are not leftists and last time I checked, the GOP has not knocked off any competitors, Tea Partiers have not mugged demonstrators or destroyed property, but Jim, you might want to question your Democrat buddies about their possible involvement in such activities.

The "Sacking" continues now and we haven't even gotten to the good parts yet: "It is not a whit different than the McCarthy Red Hunts of the 50s. Only, this time is an intra-party purge not unlike Stalin versus Trotsky, an effort that leads to the last-man-standing scenario."  

"McCarthy Red Scare Hunts", as Sack so named Tailgunner Joe's patriotic efforts, were influenced by the times. FDR's socialistic programs brought back fears akin to the "Red Scare" that flooded the US after the Bolshevik's overthrew the Russian Czar in 1919.  In 1950, the Cold War with the Soviet Union had begun with their A-bomb tests, China had fallen  to the Communists,  Spy Alger Hiss had been convicted of perjury and Manhattan Project scientist Klaus Fuchs confessed to delivering A-bomb secrets to the Russians. Meanwhile the House Un-American Activities Committee investigators found evidence of communist activity within our government. Indeed, there were communists working in our government as confirmed by parties other than Senator McCarthy.

When the Army-McCarthy hearings began (I remember listening to parts of the broadcasts), so did the leftists. In the end history was rewritten much in the way that the Swift Boat Vets were ambushed by the Democrat liberals after John Kerry was properly taken down by their truths. What really happened in the McCarthy Hearings has been distorted and a patriot defamed - but not in the minds of of these gentlemen:


William F. Buckley says: "McCarthy's record is... not only much better than his critics allege, but, given his metier, extremely good.... [he] should not be remembered as the man who didn't produce 57 Communist Party cards but as the man who brought public pressure to bear on the State Department to revise its practices and to eliminate from responsible positions flagrant security risks."
Elliot Abrams says: "McCarthy did not need to show that specific employees were guilty of espionage; they needed only to show that there was some evidence that an employee was a security or loyalty risk, and that the State Department... had willfully overlooked it.... What were the charges? They ranged from accusations of actual espionage--handing secret documents over to Soviet agents--to involvement in dozens of Communist-front organizations.... Buckley and Bozell asked, 'Did McCarthy present enough evidence to raise reasonable doubt as to whether all loyalty and security risks had been removed from the State Department?' The verdict rendered here is that he did. In most of his cases McCarthy adduced persuasive evidence; the State Department's efforts stood condemned; and the screams of 'Red Scare' were efforts to occlude the truth."
Appleton,Wisconsin's favorite son, Joe McCarthy (Houdini was from there also, by-the-way) properly carried out his responsibilities to America and we can only hope that our Fort Wayne Tea Partiers can provide such help to right our local government.

Interestingly, Jim picked on Barry Goldwater as a "purger." The 1964 election was indeed a watershed for conservative politics going forward and Goldwater received incredible support from Phyllis Schlafly's short pamphlet called " A Choice Not  An Echo" and Ronald Reagan's monumental speech, "A Time For Choosing." Indeed the Old Guard was on the way out but we had to wait for Dutch in 1980 because of a little girl picking a daisy.

Back to the Jim Sack diatribe, it seems that he doesn't like our State Treasurer, Richard Mourdock who wants to unseat RINO octogenarian Dick Lugar (who, left to his own devices, most likely would get lost on Indiana roads after 35+ years in Washington). Now Mourdock actually ran a coal company and he doesn't believe that life-giving carbon dioxide endangers our planet, so you can readily see that Richard is a denier.  Rhodes Scholar Lugar is an AGW true-believer who wanted to ruin our economy with fake Cap n'Trade legislation. I could go on but I will never convince Jim that we can do without Obama's favorite Senator. Funny thing is that Jim says Dicky is a moderate who votes with the opposition but the Senator says he is a conservative -- and he always has been. Jim and I must be reading different scenarios about the Senate race, because he implies that Mourdock's "divide and conquer rhetoric" belittles Dick Lugar - but conservatives see the same battlefield with eyes of the underdog.

Now Jim has a friend, certainly a good thing, who works for a "conservative" German Chancellor but that puzzles people who know that Merkel is.not.conservative. Anyway, his friend tells him, in German I suppose, since Jim spricht Deutsch, “you Americans can not get anything done because you have stopped talking with each other, instead you are shouting at each other.”  Now my response to that observation would have been that it takes two to tango. but what do I know, since I am not a dancer -- and certainly not a tiny one. Now lets compare how well the parties talked to each other. We know that for the first two years of the Obama regime that Republicans were ignored in Congress because the Dems controlled both houses.  Does anyone remember, in the same situation, when Trent Lott agreed to power sharing with the Senate Dems in 2001? Well, we then got screwed by Tom Daschle's ungrateful libs, so Lott got forceably removed in 2002 (yeah, there we go again - conservatives just cannot get into the rhythm of lockstep).

Now Jim will correct me if I am wrong, but the gist of his article settles down to the politics of "get along." If the likes of Dick Lugar (who you believe has reliably served for 36 years) and local Republican politicians such as Commissioner Nelson Peters and County Council candidates (and local bigwigs) Bill Brown and Roy Buskirk can engage in conversations without ranting and blaming our Democrat Mayor or Senate or Incompetent President for the ills that have befallen us, then that is the bright line we all should follow.  In other words: "Why can't we all just get along?"

Indeed we can all be Moderates and maybe live together happily ever after. Mr, Sack probably will not agree with  the problem with Moderates as described by Ayn Rand, but here goes:
When people call themselves moderates, ask yourself: “Moderate—about what?” Since the basic question today is freedom versus statism, or individual rights versus government controls, to be a moderate is to advocate a moderate amount of statism, a moderate amount of injustice, a moderate amount of infringement of individual rights. Surely, nobody would call that a virtue.
Oh, and Jim, please lay off John McGauley.  He has every right to run for whatever office he chooses and against any current officeholder running for reelection. Besides, he wants to reduce the cost of county government by eliminating the very office that he is running for!  Wow, what a concept! But then again, you have to willing to accept that competent John McGauley is not a Moderate. Funny how conservative thought is so readily excluded in our politically correct society.