Two Worlds, Two Sets Of Rules

The Washington Post has done some good reporting on the amount of taxes owed by Capitol Hill staffers, White House aides, and other government employees.  All told, federal employees owe $1 billion and Capitol Hill employees owe $9.3 million.  In the Obama Administration White House, 41 aides owe $831,000 — or about $20,000 per person.

I recognize that there are lots of Americans who owe taxes — but they aren’t getting paid by other taxpayers, nor do they have a hand in establishing and enforcing federal law.  The Post story linked above notes that a Republican Congressman has proposed legislation requiring that any federal employees who owe back taxes be fired unless they enter into a payment plan (and presumably comply with it).  Surprisingly, only eight Republicans have co-sponsored the bill, and no Democrats have done so.  Why not?  Is it really so unreasonable to insist that employees who get paid from the federal till meet their obligations to pay their taxes to the federal government?

This is the kind of story that drives the average American crazy.  We hear so many politicians talk about raising taxes, or expanding the number of IRS agents to increase tax collections, and then we learn that congressional staffers and other federal employees are ignoring their own obligations.  Before Washington looks to us for more money, let’s collect the $1 billion owed by the folks drawing a federal paycheck.

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