This Politician Controls Your Tax Agenda – Be Very Afraid

September 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Fools of Finance

Don’t let the jovial, goofy face fool you.  This man – Charles Rangel (D. NY) – is scary.

Let me explain.  As specified in Article I, Section 7, of the U.S. Constitution, all laws for raising revenue (e.g., taxation) must originate in the House of Representatives.  House rules extend initial jurisdiction over new tax bills to the House Ways and Means Committee.  Charlie Rangel (age 78) is Chairman of the Committee.  As Chairman, Rangel controls the committee agenda and calendar.  This means that, when it comes to taking money from your pocket and giving it to the government in the form of income taxes, Charlie Rangel is a very powerful man.

(Photo: kptyson)

Now that we know the hard truth about Charlie Rangel’s power over your wallet, let’s examine some recent revelations about his character and financial acumen.

Rangel “Forgot” to Report and Pay Taxes on his Beach House Rental Income

Charlie Rangel has owned a beach home in the Dominican Republic for 20 of the 38 years he has been in Congress. The Rangel Beach House is in a rental program, earning him in excess of $75,000.00.  The press and government investigators recently discovered that Rangel neglected to report his rental income or pay taxes on it.  Rangel’s explanation: “I forgot.”  Does that not remind you of that old Steve Martin joke about how to make a million dollars and not pay taxes?  Two little words:  I forgot.  Charlie, I don’t believe that Mr. Martin intended for you to take that suggestion seriously.

Rangel Had “No Clue” that his Beach House Mortgage Lender Didn’t Charge Him Interest – for 18 Years!

While Rangel was forgetting to pay taxes, he was paying for his beach house with a mortgage from the developer – interest free – for 18 years.  When asked whether it was more than coincidence that the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee would receive an interest free loan from a real estate developer, Charlie responded that he had “no clue” that he wasn’t paying interest.  Not a problem Charlie.  It happens with our interest-free mortgages all the time.

So let’s summarize our findings so far:  The politician who controls your income tax agenda has no memory and is clueless about matters of income, taxes, and special benefits extended by special interests.

But wait – there’s more:

Rangel Occupied FOUR Rent-Controlled Apartments in NYC at Below Market Rates

Because collecting and forgetting to pay taxes on $75,000 in beach house rental income is a costly endeavor, particularly when combined with an interest-free mortgage, Charlie has had to cut corners.  Accordingly, Charlie took advantage of New York’s generous rent-control laws and lived in a rent-controlled apartment in a luxury high rise.  Wait – I misspoke.  Rangel actually occupied FOUR rent controlled luxury apartments.  OK, if you want to be technical about it, he used one of the four apartments as an office.  Apparently, he “forgot” that state and city regulations require that rent-controlled apartments be occupied as a principal residence.  Maybe Charlie can argue that he sleeps at his desk a lot.  I could actually believe that one.  Either way, Charlie’s clever (and unlawful) housing strategies netted him rent-controlled savings of $3000-$4000 per month.

Rangel Procured Millions in Government Earmarks to fund his “Monument to Me.”

It seems that Rangel’s rent-controlled office isn’t big enough for him.  To cure that problem, he used his Committee power to procure $2 million of our tax dollars to re-furbish a NYC building to house the “Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service”, the “Rangel Conference Center”, and an office for himself in the center.  I am hoping they might rename the building the “Rangel Remember to Pay Your Taxes Center” but I won’t hold my breath.

Rangel Used Committee Stationery to Solicit Money for his “Monument to Me.”

Although Rangel snagged another $695,000 in federal funds from HUD, he wasn’t able to build his “monument to me” entirely with taxpayer dollars.  Instead, he used House Ways and Means Committee stationery to solicit corporate donations.  Surely the businesses that received “give me money” letters from the man who can tax them without mercy didn’t feel any pressure to contribute.

By this time you may be thinking, who cares, Rangel is just one of many politicians who know nothing of economics and instead concentrate on taking care of themselves.  To that I say, Mr. Rangel has big plans for you and your money.

The Rangel “Mother of All Tax Bills”

Although Charlie has been quite busy sleeping at his rent-controlled desk, forgetting to pay taxes, and building his “monument to me”, all is not lost.  He has reserved enough of his genius to prepare what he has called the Mother of All Tax Bills.  He plans on introducing the bill if Obama is elected.

The bill is so frightening I can’t bring myself to discuss all of it.  Let’s just say that it will raise taxes by a total of $3.5 trillion over 10 years.  You read that correctly.  $3.5 trillion.  That exceeds the sum total of all of the Bush tax cuts by $2 trillion.  In case you are wondering where these taxes are coming from, I can report that Charlie intends on moving the top marginal tax rate to 48%.  Payback is hell, isn’t it?

A Plea to New Yorkers

Let me get right to the point.  Charlie Rangel scares me.  He wants my money – a lot of it.  He is forgetful.  He doesn’t pay his taxes.  He spends our money on monuments to himself.  New Yorkers, please vote this man out of office.  Send him out of town.  I hear the Dominican Republic is nice.

Is anyone else afraid of this guy?

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7 Responses to “This Politician Controls Your Tax Agenda – Be Very Afraid”
  1. Hey The DR is my retirement location… don’t be sending him there!!!

    Nice post – I’ve seen this guy and his shenanigans on the news multiple times but really hadn’t put it together in a 1 page resume.

  2. Matt: He is already there – with his beach house anyway.

    Are you really retirement bound to the DR?

  3. Yea, that’s the plan anyway… I’ve got about 20-30 years to go. I spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico (east of The DR) working in the pharma biz, and met up with a few guys who convinced me it’s the place to be. My Spanish is horrible from what it once was, but some areas are English speaking. Never hurts to learn new things.

    I’ve also considered Belize or areas of Mexico on the northern tip of the Yucatan peninsula.

  4. MasterPo says:

    Rangel will never be voted out of office.

    Thank Heavens at least Hilary is off the ballot. The two were like Frick&Frack.

  5. MasterPo – Your response tells me that Rangel’s constituents don’t pay a lot of taxes and receive so much in earmark benefits that they can overlook the man’s deep character flaws. It’s the typical “he may be a scoundrel but at least he’s our scoundrel.”

  6. Evan says:

    The same constituency that said it was ok to vote back in Marion Barry (and care about who he endorses) and voted in Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (and continue to support him). It has nothing to do with race, but the idea that it is ok to be, dare I say A DIRTBAG. Soundrel is too light of a word for these people.

    I don’t call them dirtbags because of the deeds they do, but rather how they portray themselves and hold themself unaccountable for their actions. Mayor Kilpatrick was defiant even at his trial. Marion Barry thought he was set up because he was black, and Rangel feels he is above the law while degrading our current President.

    As you can imagine, if you ever read my comments here (and/or my blog), Constitutional Law II (affirmative action) was a dangerous time for me! lol

  7. MasterPo says:

    Rangel has his job for life. It won’t change. Something may happen that he can’t work anymore but he will never be defeated from office. His constiuency loves him. He keeps the government checks coming every month and fights tooth&nail any attempt to get them off the government payroll (and I don’t mean work rolls).

    Can’t put it any more plainly than that w/o sounding racist. But the truth is truth.

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