Congressional CPA CaucusPosted: September 15, 2011 | |
Sometimes as CPAs it is very frustrating to see what is going on in Washington these days. Whether you believe the answer is increasing taxes, reducing expenses or some combination of both, almost all CPAs recognize that the status quo is absolutely unsustainable. When you add the unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities, the total “debt” goes from $14 Trillion to over $50 Trillion. It is clear that these sacred cows, along with Defense spending all need to be part of the conversation on how to develop a sustainable path forward.
I will be the first to say I don’t have the magic answer. In fact, I’m not sure one exists. But I do know we had better start with the same facts. One fact I think congress needs to get straight is that a cut in the growth rate of spending is not a spending cut. I don’t care if the 8% increase was reduced to 2% increase; an INCREASE is an INCREASE in my book! The second fact we need to get straight is that Social Security is not some pension fund where people are putting away money to get back in the future. Nor is Social Security a government Ponzi scheme; Social Security is like many other government programs, it taxes individuals today to pay money to different individuals today. And if you agree with my second fact, then you also must be willing to include Social Security tax paid as well as income tax paid when deciding how many people actually pay tax to the Federal Government. The reality is that for many people, Social Security is the largest tax they pay and when you include Social Security taxes paid, the number of people who pay tax to the Federal government is a lot more then the roughly 50% you keep hearing bandied about back and forth on the radio these days.
The problems in Washington can make most CPAs shake their head in disbelief, but there are eight CPAs and two Accountants that are doing a little more than most when it comes to trying to change things in Washington. These ten people are members of the House and Senate.
Brad Sherman, D-California
Bill Flores, R-Texas
Michael Conaway, R-Texas
Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas
Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming
Steven Palazzo, R-Mississippi
Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin
Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota
John Campbell, R-California
James Renacci, R-Ohio
These ten CPAs and Accountants formed the first Congressional Caucus on CPAs and Accountants. Brad Sherman and Michael Conaway co-chair the House Caucus and Mike Enzi and Ron Johns are the co-chairs from the Senate. The goals of the caucus are two-fold. The first is to harness their unique professional skills to develop innovative policy approaches to issues that affect CPAs, including tax administration and compliance, and accounting and auditing standards. The second goal of the caucus is to provide input on issues being debated by Congress on which CPAs have particular expertise, including budgeting and fiscal issues.
I am proud that these CPAs have taken their professional obligation to serve the public all the way to congress. I only hope that they can be a voice of fact and solution for the country.