Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) has introduced one of those bills that just makes a person scratch their head. The bill in question is one he recently filed that he”s calling the “Rangel Rule” (H.R. 735). From The Weekly Standard blog:
Carter, a former longtime Texas judge, today introduced the Rangel Rule Act of 2009, HR 735, which would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from charging penalties and interest on back taxes against U.S. citizens. Under the proposed law, any taxpayer who wrote “Rangel Rule” on their return when paying back taxes would be immune from penalties and interest.
“We must show the American people that Congress is following the same law, and the same legal process as we expect them to follow,” says Carter. “That has not been done in the ongoing case against Chairman Rangel, nor in the instance of our new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. If we don’t hold our highest elected officials to the same standards as regular working folks, we owe it to our constituents to change those standards so everyone is abiding by the same law. Americans believe in blind justice, which shows no favoritism to the wealthy or powerful.”
That “judge” Carter wants to make a rule letting all tax cheats off without penalty because Charles Rangel (D-New York), is backwards. What Carter, and all other Americans, should be for is holding Rangel accountable – have him pay for his mistakes like everyone else. In other words, two wrongs don’t make a right, Judge.
But Carter probably knows this bill has no chance of passing, since it has been filed in the committee that Rangel chairs. This is pure political grandstanding. Rangel was part of Lawrence Lessig’s keynote address at Netroots Nation last Summer, and part of the impetus for starting Change Congress. Read more about Rangel, and others, and how to bring about change here, Hope + Lessig = Change.
Carter appears to be trying to use a piece of legislation to score political points. That Congress is not trusted by the American people and needs to reform is not news, (see Lessig above). Carter’s law, if passed, would allow every American to fudge on their income tax with impunity. It’s likely a backhanded slap at the IRS as well. It’s not hard to see that Carter is not trying to right a wrong, or bring about justice, but he’s trying to make doing wrong right. It’s just more of the same, not the change we voted for in Novmeber.