Larry Tobin's Ups-n-Downs column in the Feb. 2, 2010, Tomahawk Leader:
I ran into a friend at the grocery store the other day. I use the term “friend” loosely – he’s as much a friend as you care to be with someone who played football wearing a leather helmet (no face guard) and wallowed around on a practice field covered in buffalo chips for four years.
Anyway, we had no more than said “hi” when he began his rant.
“I’ve been lied to!”
Okay, I’ll bite. “About what?”
“All my life I’ve been told I should pay all of my bills, especially my tax bills to the government. And I’ve always done just that. Now, I find out that you don’t have to!”
I thought he was talking about some of President Obama’s political appointees. He agreed that they were included but the ones he was really hot about were the ones who were advertised on TV.
As much as it pains me, I have to admit that old Bison Breath was right, and the matter angers me as much as it does him.
You just about can’t watch television without seeing the commercials.
“If you owe the IRS $10,000 or more in back taxes, call Friskem, Swiftly and Howe right away. We’ll get your tax debt slashed to pennies on the dollar!”
And then come the smiley faces of the testimonials:
“We owed the IRS over a million and a half dollars and Friskem, Swiftly and Howe got our tax debt settled for just ten thousand, three hundred dollars!”
I don’t know about you but those commercials leave me feeling cheated! The people on TV never say there was any disagreement with the IRS over the amount that was owed. That would be a legitimate discussion.
I know that the IRS can be wrong at times and the taxmen are just as often prone to being nitpicky. Furthermore, much of the tax code is subject to broad interpretation, depending on who does the interpreting.
But that’s not what the TV commercials indicate. The testimonials always state that “We owed” so much money and didn’t have to pay most of it.
Our government is in debt up to Dave Obey’s eyeballs and it’s getting in deeper every second. Still, we aren’t even collecting everything that appears to be legitimately owed.
Doesn’t it make you wonder just how much our own tax bills could be lowered if all the money was paid into the federal coffers that was owed?
The TV commercials don’t leave me with any sense of empathy toward the people who got their tax debt reduced. Instead they leave me outraged that some people may be cheating the rest of us, and they appear to be blatantly getting away with it!
I’m all for the government reducing taxes but that’s not exactly what I had in mind!
Larry Tobin writes a weekly column in the Tomahawk Leader. You can find the newspaper at the Leader office, various businesses and through our Online Edition via a link in the Paper Clips in the column to the left.