I am surprised sometimes by which outrages coming out of Washington right now still manage to outrage me. I am livid about yesterday’s vote in the House Ways & Means Committee. I had hoped Representative Pascrell’s letter invoking the Revenue Act of 1924 would inspire his colleagues to behave like reasonable lawmakers and take a careful look at financial documents thus far hidden from the view of American people, our media, and our government officials.
Instead, given an opportunity to have the committee with “the responsibility for raising the revenue required to finance the Federal Government” privately review ten years’ of the current president’s tax returns, this committee spinelessly, wantonly, partisan-ly, voted to NOT EVEN TAKE A LOOK. Why not find out whether the alleged billionaire now serving as president pays his fair share for first responders and more? What are they afraid of learning? How did these Republicans forget who they work for? This vote has made me angry at the Republican party, because the committee voted on party lines to defend the ‘privacy’ of a public servant, over the right of our country to know if there are investments, debts, or other financial relationships between our current president and foreign entities.
Here are the Republican Representatives who don’t even want to know whether the current president paid taxes, nor to whom he may be indebted. LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.
Regardless of the usual caveat that Representatives only listen to feedback from their own constituents, in this case these are the only House members who had the power to look and see if there was anything we the people needed to know. Why did these Republicans choose country over party?
The Revenue Act of 1924 specifically enables the publication of names and tax information, showing Americans what fellow citizens are contributing to the national coffers. My father taught me that while paying taxes is not exactly a pleasure, it is a privilege. He told me to be grateful if and when I owed taxes, since it meant I was earning income – for that I should be appreciative. I remembered his lesson in the years I made too little money to owe taxes, and in the years I made enough to owe. It is the duty of we who make a relatively comfortable income to contribute wages to our policemen, firemen, teachers, soldiers, schools, and care for our hungry and needy, among other line items.
There may even be more to the Act that offers a path toward transparency, if an IRS commissioner and a Treasury secretary would pursue SEC. 205: “Whenever in the opinion of the Commissioner the use of inventories is necessary in order clearly to determine the income of any taxpayer, inventories shall be taken by such taxpayer upon such basis as the Commissioner, with the approval of the Secretary, may prescribe as conforming as nearly as may be to the best accounting practice in the trade or business and as most clearly reflecting the income.”
In the meantime, let the partisan Republicans (see above) on the House Ways & Means Committee know how much we resent their elevation of party welfare over the national interest, and let the patriotic Democrats on the Committee know how much we appreciate their efforts to inquire about financial entanglements of the leader of our government’s executive branch.
Keep the faith. Make the Calls. Rock the Vote.