Friday, April 25, 2003

Then again, they probably didn't vote for Bush. Mary Williams Walsh has a truly sickening story on the front page of today's New York Times. George W. Bush's IRS is cracking down on the earned-income tax credit, or EITC, the principal means by which the Clinton administration helped low-income working families.

It seems that there may be some fraud going on, and no, fraud isn't good. But Walsh shows that the IRS is demanding a level of proof that almost no one will be able to comply with.

Meanwhile, the most mind-blowing detail comes near the end of her story:

An I.R.S. briefing paper ... states that in 1999 the Treasury lost $8.5 billion to $9.9 billion by paying earned-income tax credits to filers who should not have received them. A separate analysis, by two Treasury Department specialists, says subsequent measures may have reduced these erroneous payments by $2 billion.

By comparison, corporations managed to sidestep as much as $54 billion in 1998, by hiding about $155 billion in profits in tax shelters, according to a study by a Harvard economist, Mihir A. Desai.

Guess which type of fraud the Bushies are more pissed off about? As my father used to say, it is enough to gag a maggot.

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