Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Genius v. Stupidity? Genius Has Its Limits

 

Today’s lesson is about what the newly-elected members of Congress from the 6th and 14th Districts of Illinois don’t know about their jobs.

It begins with a headline in the Northwest Herald that says: “Underwood, Casten Call for IRS to Help With Local Tax Burden.” The article goes on to say:

“Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, and Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, are urging the IRS to address what they call the disproportionate tax burden on Illinois taxpayers because of the changes in the law, which limit the state and local tax deduction.”

The pair wrote a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig expressing their concerns about IRS efforts to alleviate the burden of the new rules as being “insufficient”:

“We are concerned that the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) current efforts may be insufficient to alleviate these burdens…Illinoisans are already facing higher federal taxes due to the Republican tax law, which places a uniquely large burden on middle-class families in the Illinois 6th and 14th Congressional Districts. Working families are being unfairly double-taxed, This law limited the state and local tax (SALT) deduction to just $10,000 for individuals and families—a devastating financial blow to many of the nearly two million Illinois households that claim the deduction. SALT taxes allow our communities to pay law enforcement and first responders, offer high-quality public education, and provide a multitude of other services that contribute to the well-being of our communities. We urge your attention to this important matter and request an update in writing on the IRS’s actions to address these burdens on Illinois taxpayers no later than February 12, 2019,”

The fundamental ignorance on display in the letter these two sent beggars the imagination. If they don’t understand that the IRS is simply an administrative body empowered to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and has no authority whatsoever to “address the disproportionate tax burden on Illinois taxpayers because of the changes in the law” then what else don’t they know about the responsibilities of the office to which they’ve been elected?

It says right there in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, that document they swore an oath to uphold, but probably haven’t taken the time to read:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States…”

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that members of Congress can run to the IRS, of all places, to “alleviate the burden placed on the citizens of Illinois by limiting the deduction for state and local taxes.” If they don’t like the tax bill that was passed in the last Congress, the proper remedy for what they’re trying to do is (wait for it!): pass a law! It’s in all the civics books, or at least it used to be.

Of course, they aren’t the only Democrats trying to alleviate the tax burden of the very people they’re generally busy trying to gouge. Last year we had a group in the Illinois legislature that tried to change taxes into charitable contributions so as to get around the SALT limitation. That idiotic scheme met the same fate as the appeal to the IRS will have.

So, class, this is what you should take away from today’s lesson:

If you live in the 6th or 14th Congressional Districts of Illinois and you voted for Sean Casten or Lauren Underwood as a way to send a message to Donald Trump, you brought this vacuous nonsense upon yourselves, but unfortunately you brought it upon the rest of us, as well.

There are 17 comments.

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  1. PHCheese Member

    I had a professor of economics that started every class with “ remember the government has no money,it only has what it takes from taxpayers”. This episode certainly should conjure up thoughts of a flat tax. Everyone would have skin in the game.

    • #1
    • February 3, 2019, at 6:20 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  2. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The voters of IL 6th and 14th get what they deserve:

    The voters had every reason to know who Casten and Underwood were before they pulled the (D) lever and voted for them anyway.

    Famous Ed Koch quote: “The people have spoken … and they must be punished.”

    • #2
    • February 3, 2019, at 6:31 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  3. Illiniguy Member
    Illiniguy Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):

    Famous Ed Koch quote: “The people have spoken … and they must be punished.”

    Thanks for reminding me of that. I’ve updated my blog post to include it. You can’t go wrong quoting the classics.

    • #3
    • February 3, 2019, at 7:04 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Randy Webster Member

    What’s the income tax rate in Illinois? I can’t imagine that it’s high enough that someone paying more than $10k is middle class. Is it? My sympathy is limited anyway. Tennessee has no income tax, and the feds did away with the deductibility of sales taxes years ago.

    • #4
    • February 3, 2019, at 7:58 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  5. Doug Watt Moderator

    Legislators, like the those that you have highlighted in your post aren’t really stupid. They realize the dangers that a tax cut really means to their own state. Rather than reducing the local tax burden so the good residents of Illinois can take advantage of keeping more of the money they earn they want other states to share in the pain by spreading the misery to the rest of the country.

    It may come as a surprise to some in the Illinois legislature the residents of Arizona, a low tax state, is that we have no desire to subsidize the State of Illinois by giving up a Federal tax break.

    The appeal to the IRS is very revealing. Believing that unelected Federal officials have the power to implement policies, and bypass the responsibilities of elected officials, as Obama stated in the other 55 states, is somewhat humorous, but not too surprising. 

    • #5
    • February 3, 2019, at 8:05 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A much needed newspaper headline:

    Illinois State Dems: Stop Us Before We Tax Again

    • #6
    • February 3, 2019, at 8:32 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  7. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    At this point, does anybody still believe the IRS does not selectively enforce its rules based on its political whims? It is a Democrat organization ran by Democrats, it does what the Democrats want it too.

    • #7
    • February 3, 2019, at 8:43 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The letter isn’t really addressed to the IRS; it’s for their constituents, to show their “concern” for the local taxpayers. 

    They aren’t so much ignorant as they are relying on the gullibility of their constituents.

    • #8
    • February 3, 2019, at 10:37 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  9. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    If you don’t put yourself in situation where someone closely approximating a reporter might ask “Isn’t it Congress’s job, your job, to create the laws, not the IRS, in select cases that only impact the districts you’re elected from?”, then you can be as massively stupid as you want.

    And we still pay them their congressional salaries.

    • #9
    • February 3, 2019, at 10:42 AM PST
    • 1 like
  10. OldPhil Coolidge

    I hear the same kind of whining from residents of my former state (Maryland). I moved a few years ago, and my property taxes went from $8,000/year to about $3,400. 

    • #10
    • February 3, 2019, at 12:43 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  11. Full Size Tabby Member

    We seem to have an epidemic of elected officials who do not understand the basic structures of US government. The Speaker of the US House of Representatives thinks Congress has to pass a bill before anyone can know what is in the bill. US Senator from New York Charles Schumer thinks the US President can write immigration laws on his own. Various Congress-critters don’t even know what the parts of the US government are. 

    • #11
    • February 3, 2019, at 8:05 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    We seem to have an epidemic of elected officials who do not understand the basic structures of US government. The Speaker of the US House of Representatives thinks Congress has to pass a bill before anyone can know what is in the bill. US Senator from New York Charles Schumer thinks the US President can write immigration laws on his own. Various Congress-critters don’t even know what the parts of the US government are.

    Do we? There was a point where I would have said you were right but as I get older it seems that it is all basically that power does what power wants and the rest is just window dressing, justifications for powers exercise of power.

    • #12
    • February 3, 2019, at 9:02 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    We seem to have an epidemic of elected officials who do not understand the basic structures of US government. The Speaker of the US House of Representatives thinks Congress has to pass a bill before anyone can know what is in the bill. US Senator from New York Charles Schumer thinks the US President can write immigration laws on his own. Various Congress-critters don’t even know what the parts of the US government are.

    Do we? There was a point where I would have said you were right but as I get older it seems that it is all basically that power does what power wants and the rest is just window dressing, justifications for powers exercise of power.

    As you say, it could be all by design. Whatever creates or enhances their own power structures is by definition the form of government they want.

    • #13
    • February 4, 2019, at 3:38 AM PST
    • Like
  14. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    The letter isn’t really addressed to the IRS; it’s for their constituents, to show their “concern” for the local taxpayers.

    They aren’t so much ignorant as they are relying on the gullibility of their constituents.

    Who are all shaking their heads going, “yeah, the Congressman is right!. Mean old Republicans!”…..

    People in Illinois and the other Blue Hell Holes deserve everything they get.

    • #14
    • February 4, 2019, at 5:11 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. PHCheese Member

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I hear the same kind of whining from residents of my former state (Maryland). I moved a few years ago, and my property taxes went from $8,000/year to about $3,400.

    I live in SC where the property tax’s are a digit lower than Illinois. My next door neighbor moved from there. His taxes on a similar home were $15,000 a year, here 1,500. He is a Democrat and started on me about the difference in school test sores SC vs Illinois. He made some vague reference to not minding paying the higher tax for better schools. I reminded him there was not a thing stopping him from taking a $13,500 check down to the school board. He shut right the hell up. I didn’t go into the reason for our lower scores. He couldn’t handle it.

    • #15
    • February 4, 2019, at 4:16 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I hear the same kind of whining from residents of my former state (Maryland). I moved a few years ago, and my property taxes went from $8,000/year to about $3,400.

    I live in SC where the property tax’s are a digit lower than Illinois. My next door neighbor moved from there. His taxes on a similar home were $15,000 a year, here 1,500. He is a Democrat and started on me about the difference in school test sores SC vs Illinois. He made some vague reference to not minding paying the higher tax for better schools. I reminded him there was not a thing stopping him from taking a $13,500 check down to the school board. He shut right the hell up. I didn’t go into the reason for our lower scores. He couldn’t handle it.

    You could pass this article on to your neighbor, about how phony many of the rankings are that compare the states in education. The upshot of it is that a lot of assumptions are built into how many organizations calculate their rankings. Rather than just looking at test results and drop-out rates, many organizations also count things that they assume lead to better education, such as volume of money spent. It turns out that when you just look at results and not inputs, South Carolina ranks better than Illinois, both in education quality and in bang for the buck. After reading it, ask him if he wants actual results, or adherence to formulas that someone assumes will lead to favorable results.

    • #16
    • February 7, 2019, at 3:53 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Illiniguy: “Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, and Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, are urging the IRS to address what they call the disproportionate tax burden on Illinois taxpayers because of the changes in the law, which limit the state and local tax deduction.”

    Yeah, that’s the ticket. It’s not the fault of the Illinois legislature that Illinois taxpayers have a heavier tax burden than most other people. It’s that damn IRS that is to blame (for making them pay the same amount of federal tax as someone with the same income living in South Dakota). 

    • #17
    • February 7, 2019, at 3:58 PM PST
    • 1 like

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