Here’s An Easy Way To Give Amtrak All the Money It Needs.
This past Sunday, the New York Times had an interesting editorial which was based on a report appearing a week ago in the Washington Post.
The editorial pointed out that the Internal Revenue Service has had its budget cut by 14 percent and, as a direct consequence, the agency’s ability to audit taxpayers has been severely curtailed. Why is that a problem? Well, here are just two consequences from this budget-slashing the IRS has gone through:
* More than three-quarters of all taxpayers earning $10 million a year or more are not being audited.
* The estimated amount of tax revenue that goes uncollected because the IRS is so understaffed is — Are you ready? — $385 billion. And that’s the total for one year!
But here’s what infuriates me: The people who have been gutting the IRS are the very same ones that shake their heads and scold the Amtrak executives when they come before the Congressional committees — hat in hand and ever so polite — asking for a measly $1.5 billion to keep our national passenger rail system limping along for one more year.
Think about that the next time you’re on an Amtrak train sitting in a rail car that’s 40 years old … or your dining car menu has five choices for dinner and it used to have eight … or you can’t get a roomette on Southwest Chief on the day you need to travel because Amtrak doesn’t have any extra sleeping cars … and no money to order more.
Who’s to blame? It’s the Republicans in Congress… people like John Mica, congressman from Florida. Or Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona. It’s all of those people, including a handful of Democrats, who don’t get it — who refuse to get it. Well, we need to do our best to make sure they do get it. And if they don’t listen … if they won’t listen, we’ll have to get them … at the polls.