The obligation to pay taxes is one of life’s irritating necessities. It is the ease with which government allows the pilfering of hard-earned dollars that drives Americans to pay their taxes with a scowl. As the White House champions a colossal, $6 trillion budget for fiscal 2022, tens of billions are disappearing out the back door. If President Biden hopes to win voters’ approval, he must put a stop to the fakery and fraud that undermines trust in leadership upon which the republic stands.
As The Washington Times detailed earlier this week, the amount of money cheaters have swiped from government-provided COVID-19 relief funds is stupendous. The Small Business Administration has identified more than $79 billion in potentially fraudulent economic injury disaster loans dispensed during the pandemic. An additional $90 billion has been doled out to individuals falsely claiming eligibility for enhanced COVID-19-related unemployment benefits, according to Labor Department estimates. Taken together, the lost funds nearly equal the annual budget of Argentina.
Washington has made the process of applying online for government coronavirus funds — using proper or bogus personal information — nearly as easy as ordering products from Amazon. Federal investigators are busy catching up with abusers, but funds acquired through fraud and already spent may never be returned to the U.S. Treasury.
Mr. Biden’s initial budget builds on proposals outlined in his twin American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, and it calls for wide-ranging infrastructure improvements that include modernizing highways and bridges, seaports and airports, broadband and electrical grids. It also plans to spend freely on the American citizen’s ability to earn a 21st century livelihood. That means broadening the social safety net to include universal pre-kindergarten and two years of free community college, and more money for public health and welfare.
“Where we choose to invest speaks to what we value as a Nation,” read Mr. Biden’s budget message, released Friday. Billions wasted on fraud, sadly, is also indicative of what his administration fails to value — tax dollars.
Nevertheless, the president wants more, more, more. Those earning at least $400,000 are explicitly targeted for higher taxes. If the president allows the Trump-era Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to expire, though, the 13 percent tax savings U.S. families of average income have enjoyed would disappear, according to Americans for Tax Reform.
Moreover, Mr. Biden wants to double the capital gains tax rate to 29 percent. With 53 percent of U.S. households invested in the stock market, Americans from every tax bracket would be forced to pay a heavy tax for access to their money. Additionally, a 33 percent hike in the Biden corporate tax rate would raise the price consumers pay for most goods and services.
Before demanding families pay more for to fund his pledge to “build back better,” Mr. Biden should justify their trust by redoubling efforts to halt the hemorrhaging of billions in wasted and looted dollars.