Previously, we looked at what has been cut. Now let’s look at what wasn't.
Of course, Congressional pay and benefits weren’t even discussed. Congress did grant a 1% salary increase to both Federal employees and active duty military personnel. But, with a 2% cost of living increase projected for 2014 that still translates to a cut of 1%.
There is no arguing the fact that the United States Government is broke. We are so broke we are struggling to meet the interest payments on all the money the government has borrowed. From other countries. Notably, China. Given that, cuts have to be made somewhere. So, here are a few suggestions, some of which have already been formed into bills to be addressed in the next legislative session. The number one reason for finding other areas to cut is to fund the restoration of those military pensions.
Congressmen across the country are beginning to feel the heat. Though less than one half of one percent of the population currently serves in the military, because more and more Americans seem to be remembering we are a Nation at war and have been for more than a decade, breaking faith with those we sent to fight has generated a backlash out of proportion to the mere number our veterans represent. And this is a good thing.
One of the first, and from the outcry, most acceptable compromises thus far suggested has been in regards to those cheating our tax system. Arguments for and against various corporate tax loop holes will be long winded and entangled with special interests. However, there really is no defense for not closing the Additional Child Tax Credit loophole that currently gapes like a ravenous maw.
It has been perennially proposed to require a social security number for each and every child claimed for this tax. And for the parent filing the claim.
That needs to be restated and kept in mind. People who do not have a social security number have a mechanism by which they can claim, and receive, a cash payment from the IRS.
So, the proposal that will satisfy all sides, except for the liars and cheaters and those who defend those who lie, cheat and scam our system is to merely require a social security number in order to claim the ACTC.
How does someone without a social security number file for and receive this credit? Simply, they file using an ITIN, or Individual Tax Identification Number.
The ITIN is an important taxing tool. It was designed and intended for foreign investors to have a mechanism to pay tax on their US investments without a social security number. Somehow, the IRS has allowed individuals, working and residing in this country illegally, to get one of these numbers and use it to file for, and receive refunds in the form of child tax credits. But the IRS is not solely to blame. This is how the credit was designed by the lawmakers.
Most every working parent is aware of, and has probably taken advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit. That check box helps reduce the overall tax liability of parents. But it is not designed to translate directly into cash payments. In addition, in order to qualify for it, a social security number is required for both the parent and any children claimed.
The Additional Child Tax Credit, however, is different. It does not reduce the tax liability in that even those who owe or have paid no taxes at all can get a check from the IRS. For the lowest income families, this can translate into thousands of dollars. It's detractors have called it a welfare payment that doesn’t come out of the welfare coffers.
In addition to it being different from the EITC by the way it works, it also has a separate set of qualifications. Or lack thereof. While the EITC does function as a refund for lower income families by reducing the overall tax liability, it is tied to the social security number. Meaning it is only available to those who qualify for a social security number – legal, resident aliens and natural born citizens. Those who file with an ITIN, for themselves or the children claimed are specifically prohibited from qualifying. By not requiring a social security number, the ACTC is open to anyone who files with an ITIN. And that is by design. It has been called, and rightly so, a welfare payment to illegal aliens.
As bad as all that is, there is a side note of interest here, something that after understanding this issue carries very different implications.
Several years ago I was sending money to my son when he had once again lost his ATM card. It took several weeks to get a replacement, and in the meantime, he didn’t have easy access to his money. So, I would transfer money from his account to mine, then send it to him via Western Union.
There was one time when there was a significant delay. The person at the Currency Exchange explained that the system was overloaded because of the very high volume of money being sent internationally. It was the middle of April, tax season, and lots of people were sending all or large parts of their refunds to their families ‘back home’.
The IRS has acknowledged mailing out $4.2 billion dollars under the ACTC to those who filed with an ITIN. It must be remembered, there is no reason someone legally able to work in the US would have or use an ITIN to file. If you file with an ITIN, you cannot receive any other refund you may be due. And if you work and qualify for the ACTC, you would also qualify for other tax credits, notably the EITC and receive a check for those amounts as well.
As bad as the number $4.2 billion is, the IRS is expected to hand out $7 billion dollars over the next ten years to those who have filed for the ACTC with an ITIN. Seven billion dollars. To those who, by their presence in our country are felons. Those who are cheating and scamming our system by fraudulently getting and using an ITIN.
This is while the projected savings by reducing the COLA for our military retirees is expected to save $6.2 billion over the same time frame. Again, I’m not an economist but I think that $7 billion spent is more than $6.2 billion saved but you can correct me if I’m wrong. Perhaps in that alternate universe in which it is good and right and just to reward felons numbers are no longer sequential.
As previously noted, there are several proposals being put forth that will repeal the military retiree pension cut. Closing this loophole is just one.
I would sincerely love to hear the argument behind finding it acceptable to give cash payments to felons while decreasing the pensions of our Nation’s heroes. If you would like to as well, contact your legislators. Below is a sample letter which you can send to your elected representatives. Simply copy and paste, then click on the links below for the contact information for your Representatives and Senators.
At the very least, I implore each and every one of you to pay very close attention to which of our elected officials, those persons who swore an oath to uphold and defend our Constitution and our laws, defend maintaining this felon reward system at the expense of our military retirees. You know, that other group of individuals who took an oath to uphold and defend our Constitution.
Dear Sir or Madam (replace with the actual name-it is more effective) –
I am a resident of your district and I’d like to know your position on the following.
It has come to my attention that illegal aliens in this country have received $4.2 billion dollars in payments from the IRS, though they are not legally able to reside or work in this country. These monies are paid out in the form of the Additional Child Tax Credits, filed under an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). All that is required to stop this is to require a social security number, for both the parent(s) and the child(ren).
This dollar amount is expected to be $7 billion over the next ten years. At the same time, the current budget cut to retired military pensions is estimated to save $6.2 billion over the same time period.
I find this unacceptable and look forward to hearing which bill that corrects this injustice you will be introducing, co-sponsoring or voting for. I will regard any other course of action as a breach of the contract we have all made with our military, and a support of the violation of the intent and the letter of our laws. Under no circumstances can support of illegal immigrants, tax cheats and scammers, i.e., those who cannot or will not follow our laws, supersede the needs those who have insured our way of life with their service to our country.
(your name here),
A Voting Constituent
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