The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 May 2005

Moving the pickpocket to the front

Rep. John N. Hostettler (R-IN) sent this out [link is to a Microsoft Word document] last month in an effort to line up sponsors for an unusual piece of legislation:

Dear Colleague:

I ask you to join me in opening our constituents' eyes by repealing the federal government's ability to withhold taxes from the paychecks of our hard-working constituents. The Federal Tax Withholding Repeal Act of 2005 would repeal the 62-year-old law allowing the federal government to withhold federal income taxes and social security taxes. Instead, this bill would implement a system in which employees would make quarterly payments to the federal government.

When this blindfold is lifted from the eyes of the taxpayer and they realize the staggering amount of money the federal government takes from their paycheck, taxpayers will demand a smaller and more efficient government. This is an important act to help taxpayers understand the magnitude the federal government plays in their financial lives.

Actually, I know how much Washington takes from me, and cutting them a check for a couple thousand dollars every three months is far more reminder than I need, but "staggering" is still the right word.

Withholding, you'll remember, was originally implemented as an emergency wartime measure — during World War II. And this isn't the first attempt to get rid of it: Rep. Ron Paul proposed switching to monthly tax payments in 2001.

I doubt that Hostettler's bill will be any more successful than Paul's was, but I'd like to propose an alternative in its absence: require the Feds to pay interest on the tax money withheld. After all, they're preventing the owners of the money from getting any return on it.

(Via Kim du Toit.)

Posted at 12:00 PM to Political Science Fiction