Earl Weaver, former manager of the Baltimore Orioles, used to charge at umpir you gonna get any better, or is this it?" That is the question for Congress now that it has repealed withhold dividends.
Last August, Congress passed a revenue measure designed to raise $98.3 billion in the first thras a $10.5 billion part. But soon the ground began to tremble, as it had a generation earlier, when President roposal triggered more mail than Congress had seen since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Becauseo demand repeal in 1983, repeal is being called a victory for the little people.
Litle banks, maybe. They wlding a bit more burdensome than big banks would have. (Big banks never got steamed up, in part because they h such as more money for the International Monetary Fund. That money may cushion big banks from some of the contakes they have made in overseas lending.)
The sky is (figuratively speaking) dark with funds being transfearvels of electronic banking. Banks can shuffle your funds for you at 2 a.m. as you push buttons at a sidewalkd it would be an insupportable burden for them to do tax collection comparable to that done by every mom and psales taxes.
That was a task they preferred not to perform, so they incited panic in the populace. Some band the belief that Congress had passed a new tax rather than just a method of improving collection of taxes owele (R-N.Y.) at first opposed passage of withholding, but came to oppose repeal. Why? "I made the mistake of red that lots of persons have what he calls the "E-bond syndrome" --they think taxes are not owed on interest untthe bank.
Many other persons are not paying because evasion is a low-risk undertaking. So, one year after Cding, just seven senators and 18 representatives voted against repeal.
Every Tom, Dick and Harriet running es to be "responsive." This is what results: government turns to jelly when a clamor is generated.
Repeal of withholding has been the leagnified example of "responsiveness" since a day of fragrant memory in September 1973. The American football fand the government was already on the way up when it asked, plaintively, "How high?" The season was at hand andurable the NFL policy of blacking out national telecasts in the city where the game was played. Congress clear and decreed that any goame sold out 72 hours before kickoff must be televised.
The government had not moved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Now repeal of withholding has become another memorable event in the history o The president probably is itchy to veto something so he can stand like Horatio at the bridge, frustrating a se is (deep breath) unfair: the measure that most deserves a veto, and that the president vowed to veto, is repts, he must be saying. Repeal of withholding increases the deficit, but not by increasing spending. Rather, it does so by decreasing revenues. So it is adored.
The president probably will not veto it. He will say that the cosmetic measures to improve compliance are a serious compromise. And Congress has taken the precaution of attaching the repeal to another important measure, the Caribbean Basin Initiative.
The government loses about $8 billion annually on unreported interest and dividends. Withholding would have recovered up to $3 billion annually. The new compliance provisions will raise only $400-$600 million annually. The amount will depend on how many hundreds of millions of new dollars Congress gives the IRS to pay for additional audits and processing costs.
Withholding was repealed as the Reagan administration's revised economic projections showed growth sharply up but deficits barely down. The projections vindicate those who say we cannot grow our way out from u. Tax increases and spending cuts are necessary.
But repeal of withholding is the equivalent of this: Congress has voted an entitlement program costing billions annually (in uncollected taxes), and no one who benefits is entitled to the benefits.