Take the Money and Run…for office.

I just listened to this great podcast on This American Life which ran on NPR stations this weekend.

It is called Take the Money and Run for Office.

I highly recommend it to you.

“For anyone who has ever heard the term “Washington insider” and felt outside — we are with you. So this week, we go inside the rooms where the deals get made, to the actual moment that the checks change hands — and we ask the people writing and receiving the checks what, exactly, is the money buying?”

I will tell what the money isn’t buying, and that is influence in Congress for our citizenship taxation issues.  Money is power in DC, and as a scattered diaspora, we don’t have what it takes to exert any power in Congress. We have no SuperPacs with millions to get a Congressman’s attention. As I see it, all we can do is take self help corrective action to minimize the damage on us and warn others how to stay out of harms way.


15 thoughts on “Take the Money and Run…for office.

  1. @just me
    just listened to it. sounds like you can’t even be the mud on some congressman’s boot without a contribution. apparently there’s a typo in the constitution: for the people, BUY the people.

  2. Well, I guess either the podcast is too long, or no one has the interest in the subject.

    If someone is reading here, and is interested more in how Money is corrupting our Tax system, and has the time for a listen, here are a few more links to the stories on Planet Money that went into making up the “This American Life” program. They expand on the subject.

    A Former Lobbyist Tells All

    Jack Abramhoff on Lobbying

    Inside Washington Money Machine

    Forget Stocks Or Bonds, Invest In A Lobbyist

    If these stories don’t explain what is wrong with our Tax System, and why it has become sooo complicated, nothing does. 🙂

  3. @bubblebustin “Buy” is right! You “BUY” your exception or loophole, and let the complexity of the Statute hit the little guy who can’t afford his special provision or relief.

  4. I think that a lot of people here don’t need any further convincing that the system is broken. After all, our treatment is a prime example of a system that’s failed its people.

  5. @bubblebustin… I am sure what you say is true, however, I don’t think folks like WhoaitsSteve understand it, or newbies may not be aware of how our convoluted Tax system came to be, and why the task of reforming it might be next to impossible. I

  6. @justme, I love knowledge, because well, the alternative is ignorance. As a fellow OVDian, I appreciate how you took the time to document your experience (just don’t quiz me on it) and appreciate you as a pioneer in this area. I think that our experience will be quite different from each others because of circumstances but nonetheless no less traumatic for either of us. As far as the US tax system goes, I don’t know how much I really want to invest in learning about it as I am seriously considering exiting it, however that being said, it is fascinating and revolting at the same time. Like watching a train wreck.

  7. @bubblebustin… Fellow Ovdian. I like that term, I think. It is a very select group!

    I understand not wanting to invest time in the US tax code. I have never had an interest, but you have to understand how corrupted the sausage making has become to figure out why it is as it is, and see if there is a way to influence it. Probably not.

    As I paint today, I have been listening to the old Planet Money podcasts again. I just finished the one on Abramoff again. This idea, that Corporations with their lobbying dollars can “buy their tax rate” gives lie to the crys of the tax table rate being too high. They of course, never pay it. They just buy it lower. Cynically, if it wasn’t high, Congress wouldn’t be able to sell the loop hole for the Corporation’s offshore tax reduction needs, and the Politician wouldn’t have the funds for political campaigning.

    It is a toxic co-dependency. It is indeed fascinating and revolting at the same time, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. At some point, the whole thing has to come crashing down.

  8. Dave Camp, Chairman of Committee on Ways and Means is going to clean up this year.

    The US takes more from employers than any other country

    A key component of the House Republican tax reform plan is shifting away from our current “worldwide” system of taxation – which double taxes American companies when they attempt to compete with foreign companies in overseas markets – to a more competitive “territorial” tax system that puts American companies on a level playing field with our foreign competitors.

  9. @omghesstillanamerican
    Well, put me in the skeptical camp that these Republicans will apply a territorial system to mere mortals and not just those super citizens, called Corporations… I would be happy if they would, but the Corporations have the lobby money, and he, as a Chairmen, gets the benefit of all that political money directed his way. We as expats have nothing to add to the campaign funds, and so really get marginal seats at the table. ACA does get an ear, but I am sure they can’t compete with money like the Corps can.

  10. @Just Me, Yes but those corporations have employees who are affected by this meaning the corporations have to pay much higher wages under the worldwide system for their American citizens who accept overseas posts.

    I’m not usually an optimist but I think the nightmare could be over for us mere mortals too early next year if the Republicans win.

  11. @omghesstillanamerican

    Listen to the story on Abramoff (above) and listen to how much money and effort he exerted on Grassley to get a tax provision favorable for his client. That is what we are up against. You buy your loophole or exemption these days. We have the best tax system money can buy.

  12. About “the best tax system money can buy” : http://www.mises.ca/posts/blog/where-will-u-s-treasury-secretary-geithner-end-up/

    Where Will U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner End Up?
    Thursday, March 15th, 2012 by James E. Miller
    “Barry Ritholtz recently did a reader poll over at his popular financial blog The Big Picture on where current U.S. Treasury Secretary and Turbo Tax expert Timothy Geithner will end up after his term as the head of the government’s checkbook finally ends come 2013. For those who understand the insidious, revolving door nature of the federal government and Wall Street, the obvious choice is everyone’s favorite banking squid known as Goldman Sachs. ” Ritholtz concurs:

    Goldman Sachs
    Big Bank (BAC/Merrill, Morgan Stanley)
    Bond shop (PIMCO)
    Big Hedge Fund
    Private Equity/Venture Capital”

    ……………………”the secret that the hinges to the door between Wall Street and Washington is lubed to the nines with campaign donations and the prospect of cashing out big after “serving the public,”

    and also see;
    “Goldman hires ex-Geithner aide as top spokesman”
    By Lauren Tara LaCapra
    March 13 (Reuters)

  13. Just saw this movie Trailer, and almost thought I should make a post for it. However, since I have not seen it, I really can not recommend it other than to say, on the surface, it really resonates with me!

    It explains in the most basic and simple terms why we get FATCA. They are too busy dialing for dollars (as told in the podcast I have encouraged you to listen to) to be bothered with the most basic requirement of knowing what they are voting for. They vote, like most people read headlines. If its characterization fits your bias, you click the “like” button and move to the next headline.

    No one reads the bills! Dems or Reps…

    The Fools on the Hill

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