Jason Chaffetz baits trap for Dem Senators

Thomas Lifson
Congratulations to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who had the wit to recognize an opportunity to help change the political narrative without relying on consultants, focus groups, or a hundred page report. Alex Pappas of The Daily Caller reports:

Citing figures indicating that more than 100,000 federal employees owe more than $1 billion in federal taxes, a House committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would require the firing of government workers who are "seriously tax delinquent."

The legislation, introduced by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, advanced through the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It now has to pass the full House to be implemented into law.

Assuming it passes, the bill forces Democrat senators, especially the seven up for re-election in states that voted for Romney, to choose between their financial and organizational dependence on government employee unions and voter sentiment back home in states like Alaska, South Dakota, Louisiana and Montana. The House Democrats have predictably opposed the measure:

Democrats on the committee opposed the bill. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on the committee, said the legislation "seeks to demonize federal employees rather than ensure their compliance with tax obligations."

"By requiring agencies to fire employees for not paying their taxes on time, the measure actually undermines the ability of the government to collect the unpaid taxes," Cummings said. "It is much, much, much more difficult to recoup the delinquent taxes from someone who is unemployed." (snip)

"In fact enactment of this legislation will increase costs to the taxpayers by requiring agencies to spend time and resources to review public records to find tax liens filed against current or prospective employees," he said.

Rep. Cummings is pretending that the real problem here is the amount of money currently owed, not a bureaucratic culture that tolerates such outrageous behavior. Any taxpayer knows that the real problem is the social contract between taxpayers and their government. We pay our taxes, painful though they are, and they get to enjoy fantastic privileges at work: medical benefits, lavish secure retirement, and job security, not to mention higher pay than in the private sector for all but the top levels. In return, we expect them do their jobs and to pay their damn taxes, just as we have to in order to survive.

The left has excelled at writing large scale narratives, with Republicans and cartoon versions of key constituencies as the villains. The religious right, the war on women, and GOP fat cats as the source of the 2008 crash, for instance. At last, the GOP is fighting back.

The fact is that the Democrats have become the government party, and it looks out for the power, perks, and welfare of government employees a lot more assiduously than it looks out for average Americans. And government bureaucrats are not popular. People resent pictures of lavish parties the bureaucrats throw for themselves in Vegas.

So the House should pass this bill and send it over to Harry Reid. Let the Democrats tell voters why well paid bureaucrats who think they are above paying their taxes ought to be able to keep their jobs and then retire to collect a pension the rest of us could only wish for.

Congratulations to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who had the wit to recognize an opportunity to help change the political narrative without relying on consultants, focus groups, or a hundred page report. Alex Pappas of The Daily Caller reports:

Citing figures indicating that more than 100,000 federal employees owe more than $1 billion in federal taxes, a House committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would require the firing of government workers who are "seriously tax delinquent."

The legislation, introduced by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, advanced through the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It now has to pass the full House to be implemented into law.

Assuming it passes, the bill forces Democrat senators, especially the seven up for re-election in states that voted for Romney, to choose between their financial and organizational dependence on government employee unions and voter sentiment back home in states like Alaska, South Dakota, Louisiana and Montana. The House Democrats have predictably opposed the measure:

Democrats on the committee opposed the bill. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on the committee, said the legislation "seeks to demonize federal employees rather than ensure their compliance with tax obligations."

"By requiring agencies to fire employees for not paying their taxes on time, the measure actually undermines the ability of the government to collect the unpaid taxes," Cummings said. "It is much, much, much more difficult to recoup the delinquent taxes from someone who is unemployed." (snip)

"In fact enactment of this legislation will increase costs to the taxpayers by requiring agencies to spend time and resources to review public records to find tax liens filed against current or prospective employees," he said.

Rep. Cummings is pretending that the real problem here is the amount of money currently owed, not a bureaucratic culture that tolerates such outrageous behavior. Any taxpayer knows that the real problem is the social contract between taxpayers and their government. We pay our taxes, painful though they are, and they get to enjoy fantastic privileges at work: medical benefits, lavish secure retirement, and job security, not to mention higher pay than in the private sector for all but the top levels. In return, we expect them do their jobs and to pay their damn taxes, just as we have to in order to survive.

The left has excelled at writing large scale narratives, with Republicans and cartoon versions of key constituencies as the villains. The religious right, the war on women, and GOP fat cats as the source of the 2008 crash, for instance. At last, the GOP is fighting back.

The fact is that the Democrats have become the government party, and it looks out for the power, perks, and welfare of government employees a lot more assiduously than it looks out for average Americans. And government bureaucrats are not popular. People resent pictures of lavish parties the bureaucrats throw for themselves in Vegas.

So the House should pass this bill and send it over to Harry Reid. Let the Democrats tell voters why well paid bureaucrats who think they are above paying their taxes ought to be able to keep their jobs and then retire to collect a pension the rest of us could only wish for.