The issue foremost on Americans’ minds this week was taxes. Each year, tax day serves as a harsh reminder of our broken tax code and the punitive nature of our tax system. In fact, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study recently found that Americans spend $107 billion a year just to make sure they are in compliance with the tax code and IRS rules. The process of filling out tax returns is simply too complicated and acts as a tax in its own right. What’s worse, the tax code as a whole is unpredictable and uncertain because so many elements of it expire on a regular basis. This makes it extremely difficult for families and businesses to budget for the years ahead because they don’t know whether a certain tax credit or deduction will be available or if tax rates are going to go up, down or stay the same from one year to the next. This simply isn’t fair to taxpayers, and it has a significant impact on economic growth if families and businesses feel uncertain about what they will owe Uncle Sam this year and how much of their income they will have leftover to put back into the economy.
A show vote on the so-called “Buffett Rule” did little to ease Americans’ frustrations as they completed their returns this week. If anything, it only made Americans more cynical about their government and their future. I think what Americans want is a tax code that is fair, simple, and minimizes the burden on our economic growth. I believe tax reform that simplifies our tax code would make our income tax system more transparent, because a tax code that is simple is very hard to game. Also, by eliminating the holes in our tax code, we would be able to lower rates for everybody, easing the burden on families, small business and our economy. Politicians need to stop throwing up distractions that only serve to politicize our tax code. Instead, we need to engage in an honest, open effort to bring true reform to what we all agree is a broken, unfair, and unreasonably complicated tax system.
Final North Carolina Flight of Honor
I was proud to receive the last Triangle Flight of Honor from North Carolina on Wednesday morning. That means that every World War Two veteran - regardless of where they live in our state - who expressed an interest in coming to D.C. to see the memorial erected in honor of their sacrifice has now been flown to Washington. These men and women made enormous sacrifices for the good of our country, and it is thanks to them that I have the privilege to serve in the United States Senate today. Many brave men and women continue to make those sacrifices today, and I saw many of them on Wednesday night when I kicked off the Wounded Warrior bike ride. Future generations will look at the sacrifices made by these courageous citizens today, and our liberties and our freedoms will be in tact because of their efforts.
In case you missed it, read this great article on North Carolina's final Triangle Flight of Honor for World War Two veteranshere. Also, be sure to check out these photos of our nation’s veterans visiting the World War Two Memorial.
|World War Two Veterans at Memorial |
PATIENTS’ FDA ACT
On Tuesday, I, along with Senator Coburn, introduced the Promoting Accountability, Transparency, Innovation, Efficiency and Timeliness at FDA (PATIENTS’ FDA) Act, a bill to help make sure that the FDA fulfills its mission of ensuring that patients have access to cutting-edge, life-saving drugs and devices as quickly as possible.
Patients deserve access to the latest, most effective life-saving treatments. This bill will ensure that Congress and the American people hold the FDA accountable for meeting its performance goals so that cutting-edge medical therapies approved by the FDA reach patients as quickly as possible. Government red-tape at the FDA is stifling scientific investment and innovation, which is a disservice to North Carolina’s medical innovators and, even worse, delays patients’ access to medical therapies. Our bill will help identify areas where the FDA needs to do better and will help keep medical innovation and job creation from going overseas.
You can read more about the bill in this press release.
Gold Star Wives Day Resolution Passes Senate
I am happy that a resolution I introduced designating April 5, 2012 as “Gold Star Wives Day” passed the Senate. This day provides an opportunity to honor the members of Gold Star Wives of America, a volunteer organization that has assisted widows and survivors of fallen military members since it was founded in 1945, and thank them for their untiring efforts and support.
The qualities of Gold Star Wives – their strength, selflessness and kindness towards others – reflect those of one of the organization’s founders, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Out of love and duty to their country, members of Gold Star Wives have volunteered to take on responsibilities that consume significant amounts of time and energy. By marking this day, we can offer a small token of appreciation for their patriotism and sacrifice.
To learn more about the Gold Star Wives of America, please visit their website.
Radio Interview with Jerri Jameson
Yesterday, I had the chance to catch up with Jerri Jameson on WWNC. We talked about Israel, Syria, Afghanistan and more. In case you missed it, you may listen to the full interview or readthe full transcript.