Following President Obama’s first formal address to Congress where he called for a rebuilding of America, members of the profession as well as GOP lawmakers offered mixed reactions to his budget priorities as well as the stimulus package.
Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa and ranking member of the Committee on Finance, noted that much is being asked of taxpayers in the plans that were outlined.
“Taxpayers are being asked for a lot right now, and there’s danger that the excesses of Washington will match, or even out-do, the excesses of Wall Street,” he said. “The current administration inherited a $1 trillion deficit, and in its first month added another $1 trillion to the debt with its economic stimulus bill. The bill included new and expanded entitlement programs, and if they’re made permanent, they’ll add at least another $2 trillion to the deficit.”
“He emphasized how important it is that we be hard working and take on responsibility,” said David Lifson, chair of the New York State Society of CPAs Committee on Reform of Tax System and a current member of the IRS Advisory Council.
“I couldn’t agree more with that, but he characterized it with something I found fascinating— that we haven’t always been honest with ourselves. I believe that’s because our economy was opaque and we have been blinded by short-term things we could see and lost sight of our vision for the future,” he said. “Both the economy and what drives our economy -- the tax system -- are emblematic of our short sightedness. We pass laws to make things happen and then never measure the efficacy of what we did, we just move on to the next change.”
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