Labels, Labels and More Labels for Political Arguments

Although I shouldn’t be surprised about individuals using labels to argue politics, it nonetheless makes me laugh when people ascribe a label to me just to argue that my point of view on a political issue is wrong. I’ve been labelled an “idiot,” an “illegal alien,” and even been defined as a “Democrat” or a “Republican” many times by readers arguing about how wrong I am about an issue. Many times, the labels are fundamentally wrong because the one attaching the latest label to me hasn’t bothered to understand me at all. This is especially true of those who label me either a Democrat or a Republican completely ignorant of my inability to vote in U.S. elections, thus any U.S. party affiliation is impossible for me.

The latest person to label me is an accountant, a CPA, who was responding to one of my reader’s question about whether my math “was correct” in my analysis of the proposed tax reform package making its way around Congress. When I found out my reader was asking a CPA if my tax analysis was correct I was looking forward to an accountant’s repudiation of my analysis or an acknowledgment that I was correct. At least that was what I expected, but I should have known that in politics analytical analysis devolves into party politics.

The CPA labelled me as someone who is “a Champagne Democrat or Socialist.”

Ha! “Champagne Democrat” was a new one for me, even after almost 20 years of blogging about politics. The absurdity of it made me laugh. I’ve been called a socialist before and it still boggles my mind how I can be labelled a socialist when I’m clear that I’m a capitalist, especially when I live off my businesses. But in political discussions, it is almost always about illusions rather than in the facts.

But I was still curious as to what a CPA had to say about my tax analysis.

Their response did not start out well, “I understand his argument but…he can deduct almost anything that resembles business whereas you and I without a small business cannot do.” The accountant went on, “the average joe [sic] has two deductions, home and kids.” Before we look at what else the accountant had to say about my tax reform analysis, we need to understand an important thing, the legal way to do things and the illegal way to it. This is obviously important to those that argue that immigrants are “breaking the law.”

The accountant wrote that as a business owner I can “deduct almost anything.”

That is wrong.

The accountant is correct in that I can deduct business expenses, like office space and the use of my automobile. But the law is clear about how and what I deduct. For example, my business delivers it products via the internet and my client base is all over the world. I rarely, if ever drive to see a client. Therefore, I use my car to drive to and from work each day. Just like many of you. I cannot deduct the mileage for using my car to drive to and from work, just like many of you. The tax code does not allow for that, and guess what, that’s how it should be.

If I drive somewhere to provide a service or meet a client, then I should be able to deduct that as an expense. Most of you would be reimbursed for mileage by your work place, if you drove your personal vehicle to provide a service, deliver goods or meet with a client. But none of you are reimbursed for driving to and from work. Likewise, business owners should not deduct driving expenses for going to and from home to work. To do so is illegal and wrong.

The point of my article was that too many people are fixated on the taxes on income for corporations, when the real issue is what it means to you and me, as taxpayers. Not all business owners are large corporations able to afford accountants like the one opining about me. Much less game the tax code, as the CPA was assuming I would.

I do not know whether the accountant was encouraging me to break the law by taking deductions by lying or if that is what the accountant helps his clients do, but his next comments about my analysis may help readers make their own conclusions.

The accountant went on:

“Small business can and will write off all they want without too much challenges. At the end of the day he can write off his car, rooms in is house, business expenses and even his wife if he wants too.” [emphasis mine]

FYI: My wife isn’t too happy about being labelled as something that I can deduct as a business expense.

But all kidding aside, an accountant is articulating what I was trying to get readers to understand, the tax code is the problem when it emphasizes looking for ways to game the system to reduce the tax burden rather than encouraging compliance by simplifying the tax code to keep everyone honest.

Therein lies the problem with tax reform from which ever party it comes from. The accountant wants to keep their job, so they like complex tax codes that they can then charge you to lessen your burden. Not many of you can afford to pay the accountant to do this, so you end up paying more than your fair share while those that can afford accountants file tax returns that border on illegal deductions are criminally justifying deductions to pay less taxes.

I’m sure some you want to know what this accountant really thinks of my analysis of the tax reform package making its way through Congress, so I’ll share these comments he made about me with you:

“He condemns a system, Capitalism which has made him wealthy. Those who cannot appreciate America usually bitch or write cockamamie a post.”

Wealthy? Better not let my wife see this because not only will she be mad that I can write her off as business expense, but she’ll demand to know why I’ve been keeping the “wealth” from her!

I understand the need to label people in politics. It is either the result of an inability to articulate an opposite argument to mine, or because the labeler sees politics along party lines, anyone against their party ideology must be from the opposite party.

Unfortunately, like the latest person who labelled me, using a label on me does nothing to prove my point of view as wrong, rather it bolsters my argument by the fact that the person who labelled me was unable to offer a counter argument. As a matter of fact, I hope you noted how the accountant started out his response; “I understand his argument…” In other words, this accountant agrees with my assessment of the tax reform legislation making the rounds through Congress.

As a result, when I’m labelled, I just laugh at the absurdity of it and celebrate another victory in the endless battle to correct the distorted political arguments of the country.

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