Congress gets it right

Since it is tax day, I am going to highlight something that Congress got right.  Apparently a law was passed that if a tax preparer prepared more 10 returns or more, they were required to e-file.  For most this is a good thing, I get my e-filed return much faster, at least for Federal return.

I suspect that MN will push the limit on when they have to pay the refund to me like they did a few years back.  That is what happens when you have a governor (Tim “less than 50 cent” Pawlenty) against tax increases, and instead uses accounting tricks shifts to keep his purity for a national run.

Anyway, back on topic, our greatly diverse America includes those of the Amish faith, and they don’t use electricity which is the “e” in e-file.  So Rep. Peterson worked with other members of Congress, especially those with Amish communities in their districts, to create an exception.  This was a good common sense solution to an unintentional problem and it was a bipartisan solution.



How is this plan going to work?

I always wonder how Congress comes up with its idea of what motivates people or corporation to do things.  Now that Spirit Airlines is going to charge $45 for carry-on luggage that is stowed in the over head bin, Congress has come up with a solution that I think is pretty stupid.

Airlines currently pay 7.5 cents to the federal government for every dollar they collect in fares, but no tax is imposed on fees collected for nonessential services, the senators said. They said the Treasury Department last January ruled that carry-on bags are not essential for air travel.

“As a result, airlines can impose fees on these bags without paying any tax to the federal government on the revenues they collect,” the senators said. “This creates a tax incentive for airlines to try to bilk consumers in the form of fees rather than by increasing the fares.”

So the airline is not going to impose a fee of $45 now because the lose that extra $3.38 per item put in the overhead bin.  The airline will still gain $41.62 for each item in the bin.  If they drop the charge, which is the concept here, and just roll it into the fare, then everyone will assume they are paying extra if they don’t use the overhead bins.  It would make sense for Spirit to still collect the fee minus the $3.38 tax, because if they raised fares by $45, they would still have to pay that $3.38 tax.

The reality is that Congress should look to a smarter remedy to solve the problem of the fee happy airlines, legislate one free carry on in the overhead bin and one free checked bag.


Come on Congress, you can do some real work

We have high unemployment.  Right wingers are going nuts over everything–complaining a lot about government intrusion in to personal lives.  So in their infinite wisdom they decide to take on banning smokeless tobacco (chew) in Major League Baseball.

So we are wasting time, don’t think they won’t use this to complain about a lack of urgency on job issues, even though they vote against job stimulating legislation.  And it feeds right in to a central theme of the tea party folks complaint about government intrusion in personal life–not counting their wishes to tell gay and lesbian not to have sex, dictate their morals to everyone else, or bring prayer to their god into your children’s classroom.

Remember they have no shame, hypocrisy is like breathing air to these folks, and you just squirted lighter fluid on the fire.

Question of the Day – April 8, 2010

People who don’t like the health care reform bill call it Obamacare.  But since the law came from Congress, with not to much direction from the White House, why do they call it that?