In Uncorrected, a new weekly series, we hunt for the media’s recent misprints — and imagine the possibilities in a world where the errors are reality.
Obama recently pledged to raise taxes for only the top 2 percent of the nation’s earners. But a March 7 business article in the Washington Post on President Obama’s tax proposals incorrectly said that he had promised to tax only the top 2 percent.
The Obama administration announced a sweeping tax reform in March, a new policy that would tax only the top 2 percent of earners. Once the bill takes effect, for most taxpayers, April 15 will no longer elicit the same visceral associations with depression and death that it has since 1955. But a small — though well-funded — contingent of Americans is upset by this development.
So far, the measure has only been introduced in Congress. But as soon as senators and congresspeople realize that public service doesn’t pay nearly enough and that they’re in no danger of being in the top 2 percent, it will surely pass with minimal debate.
To address the surprise and confusion caused by the sudden announcement, President Obama held a press conference to explain his reasoning.
“It was mostly motivated by environmental concerns,” Obama said in response to questioning about the advisability of the plan. “The amount we get from the poor is negligible, so we figured we could save trees by cutting down on the paperwork,” he said.
The plan has achieved a political trifecta, a near impossibility, pleasing as it does libertarians who are opposed to taxes, the poor who are opposed to paying taxes, and conservatives who are opposed to helping the poor.
But there are those for whom the plan will cause complications.
“I spent decades diligently manipulating numbers to make it look like I made zillions of dollars for my investors when I really had nothing. Hiding even my real money from the government is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” said Bernie Madoff, whose Wall Street shenanigans became “the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person,” reported Wikipedia.
“Swiss banking just isn’t what it used to be,” Madoff said with a sigh.
While most devious multibillionaires have been perfecting their Ponzi schemes — or their ability to manufacture on-paper profit from nonexistent money — the new trend in financial fraud will most certainly be quite the opposite, according to Harry Houdini, a long-deceased magician and expert at making things disappear. A significant portion of the top 2 percent will remain unaffected, as they have never been particularly scrupulous about filing their taxes.
The law-abiding super-rich who haven’t committed suicide yet are the ones who are hardest hit.
“We’ve been sneakily driving some customers to our competition so that our profits fall and my net income gets into the top 2.01 percent range,” said Winston Blair Moneybags III, the CEO of Macintosh Investments, Ltd., the leading investor in delicious apples from Washington state.
Others affected by Obama’s plan include McDonald’s, which will no longer be able to run its 15 cent burger promotion on that day. “It was a joke, selling burgers for 15 cents on Tax Day — get it?” said Art A. Tack, the CEO of McDonald’s.
“But if April 15 is no longer Tax Day, it just won’t make sense. And the top 2 percent have never been our biggest customers. I’m really bummed. I loved puns,” he said.
Tax lawyers have been chattering up a storm on tax-lawyer blogs for the past two days, probably as they simultaneously billed their unsuspecting top-two-percenters at outrageous hourly rates. It’s estimated that the rate for tax services will climb to $314,159,265.35 per hour for the super rich.
The full scope of the fallout from this policy won’t be clear until the next tax cycle. Sources deep within the ranks of the two-percenters have spoken on condition of anonymity about a possible revolution financed by zillionaires.
“To develop their sophisticated class-warfare tactics, the rich have done a lot of research about the plight of the downtrodden. It’s conceivable that they’ll now take up the mantle of the oppressed to execute a violent revolution to empower themselves and reverse this unjust policy,” said Mountain Girl, a professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, who seems never to have left the 1960s and often wears tie-dye to class.