What A Week It Has Been

It is only Wednesday, but, boy, what a week of news it has been. First, we had more information about Rush Limbaugh’s flaccid member than I ever wanted (and I am not talking about Bo Snerdley), and now this:

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is hoping to stamp out the sex trade by taxing pimps and prostitutes, then jailing them when they don’t pay.

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning on the pimp tax. The bill also calls for more jail time for sex workers.

If passed, the provision will authorize at least $2 million toward the establishment of an office in the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation unit to prosecute unlawful sex workers for violations of tax laws.

“Recent headlines have focused on sex trafficking in connection with the World Cup in Germany,” Grassley said. “This vile crime is under our noses in the United States, and it’s a no-brainer to have the IRS go after sex traffickers. Prosecuting these tax code violations can get these guys off the street and yank from their grasp the girls and women they exploit.”

Grassley said the problem is “especially horrible” when underage girls are involved.

I am assuming ‘especially horrible’ is to horrible in much the same way ‘double-secret probation’ is to probation. Suffice it to say, it is the editorial postion of Balloon Juice that having minors (both male and female, Sen. Grassley) involved in the sex trade is horrible, and what consenting adults do is simply none of Grassley’s god damned business.






34 replies
  1. 1
    Steve says:

    The lesson is that you shouldn’t overcharge a Senator, because they have ways of getting back at you.

  2. 2
    bs23 says:

    I believe the post title you were looking for is “what a week i’m having!”

  3. 3
    Pb says:

    I thought taxes were *bad*! O NOES!

    Incidentally, does anyone else find the concept of taxing illegal activity a bit strange? That’s how they went after marijuana too–although that act was found to be unconstitutional in 1969. Not that that stopped them or anything, they just passed a new law.

  4. 4
    Jim Allen says:

    No worries, this will never pass.

    Once the Congresscritters realize that the taxes paid will cut into the amount of money lobbyists have available for them, this bill will be quietly pulled.

  5. 5
    Marcus Wellby says:

    Make it legal, and tax the shit out of it. Same with drugs. The tax on weed sales alone could cut a healthy chunk out of the defecit.

  6. 6

    I wonder if this new taxation will cover the cost of Congress’ latest pay raise.

  7. 7
    Jill says:

    Yes the pay raise Congress wants for itself but voted down a pay raise for the minimum wage earners. I’ll bet more Republicans voted down the minimum wage raise than Democrats. I’ll be more Republicans will vote to raise their own salaries than Democrats.

  8. 8
    Crazy C says:

    under Grassley’s proposal, a pimp could get up to 10 years in prison for each prostitute for whom the pimp hasn’t filed a W-2,

    There’s something very funny about the whole thing, I just hope it goes on the books called the “Pimp Tax”…

    The lobbyists will just get 501c(Pimp) corporations created – then they’ll be able to take tax deductions for “charity”

  9. 9
    srv says:

    Army raises enlistment age to 42.

    Max Boot declares we don’t have enough troops in Iraq:

    The administration may think it doesn’t have any more troops to send. It’s true that the armed forces are overstretched and need to be enlarged, but there are still just 150,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq out of 2.6 million in the active-duty ranks, reserves and National Guard. More soldiers could be found to police Baghdad if this were deemed a top priority.

    Can you believe these guys? Don, please send some who have already sacrificed so much back so we don’t lose this war that I originally said didn’t require so many troops…

  10. 10
    Jill says:

    WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER.
    WORST. HUMAN. EVER.

  11. 11
    Punchy says:

    Okay….I’m not getting this. How does one pay an income tax on something that is illegal? Are money launderers and fencers supposed to file a Dub-2 as well? Isn’t the mere filing of said forms an admission of a crime? And if so….they expect…hold on, laughing too hard to type…pimps to DO THIS???

    Pimpin’ ain’t easy.

  12. 12
    Don says:

    How does one pay an income tax on something that is illegal

    The same way one pays tax on something that is. Fill out the form, send it in.

    And of course they don’t expect them to do this; that’s the point. However it’s all grandstanding, unnecessary, and likely wouldn’t hold up anyway. Where’s the equal protection if someone gets X years for not paying taxes on their lobbying business but 4X for not paying it on whoring (insert your own joke on the parallels here)?

    We managed to nab Capone on tax issues w/o specialized legislation, dunno why this is necessary.

  13. 13
    Pb says:

    Don,

    The problem in the case I cited was the inherent self-incrimination of it all. Not sure if that’s still an issue, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be.

  14. 14
    zzyzx says:

    Some states do this with drug taxes and a few people just buy the stickers anyway with cash so it can’t be traced.

    This is different because you have to fill out forms.

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    This is friggin’ insane! Why not just require a tax for “corpse dumping”, so that everyone caught 86’ing another without paying the surcharge for proper corpse removal gets hit with a million dollar fine and mandatory execution?

    Why not just tax every crime imaginable, so that regardless of the actual sentence, the local gov’t makes a shitload of scratch?

  16. 16
    Perry Como says:

    We managed to nab Capone on tax issues w/o specialized legislation, dunno why this is necessary.

    Because more laws solve more problems. It’s the conservative way.

  17. 17
    Jim Allen says:

    Some states do this with drug taxes and a few people just buy the stickers anyway with cash so it can’t be traced.

    This is different because you have to fill out forms.

    And then there’s that problem of where to put the stickers.

  18. 18
    KC says:

    Now, would Grassely tax after the “act” or before it? Just curious.

  19. 19
    Crazy C says:

    Why not just require a tax for “corpse dumping”, so that everyone caught 86’ing another without paying the surcharge for proper corpse removal gets hit with a million dollar fine and mandatory execution?

    Because then there wouldn’t be any soundbites about how you’re trying to stop sex-trafficing of young girls?

    Either that or these guys are all in the pockets of the liquor companies and trying to make us drink more at their stupidity…

  20. 20
    RSA says:

    “Recent headlines have focused on sex trafficking in connection with the World Cup in Germany,” Grassley said.

    My understanding is that this concern is largely overblown. Google turns up headlines that are mainly about warning Germany that bad things could happen, not that they are actually happening.

    Looking around the Web, I found something called the Trafficking in Persons Report, from the U.S. State Department. The description of Germany included this:

    Germany has legalized prostitution. The U.S. Government opposes prostitution and any related activities, including pimping, pandering, and/or maintaining brothels as contributing to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. These activities are inherently harmful and dehumanizing. The U.S. Government’s position is that these activities should not be regulated as a legitimate form of work for any human being.

    So when can we expect Grassley to take on the state of Nevada? Deny them federal funding perhaps?

  21. 21
    Richard 23 says:

    Simply write “Management” or some other euphemism on your pimpin W2 form. Your bitches write “Entertainer” or “Dancer” or “Tour Guide” or something on their W2 ho forms. Done and done.

  22. 22
    Jack Roy says:

    Yeah, I think this is really weird. Americans are already obligated to pay taxes on their income, including this. So if the government wanted to hit a sex trafficker with violations of both (a) the Mann Act and (b) failure to pay taxes, they could already, without new legislation.

    But if Grassley doesn’t think the penalties for trafficking are high enough, why not just increase the penalties? Assessing taxes that (obviously) aren’t going to be paid, as payment of the taxes would be admission of guilt, really only has the function of adding an additional offense to be charged.

    More symbolic victories from Washington. Can’t say I’m surprised.

  23. 23
    Tax Analyst says:

    Yeah, this is more “Stupid-Assed Grandstanding” by the GOP (consider that a “Technical Term” from an “Expert”). So what else is new? As to the Tax implications – For a Pimp to issue W-2 forms to a prostitute working for him/her the Pimp would first have to obtain an EIN# (Employer Identification Number). However, depending on the conditions of the employment relationship he/she might decide to categorize the prostitute as an “Independent Contractor” instead and issue them a 1099-Misc form to report the income. As an Employer the Pimp would be required to withhold Federal Income Tax (a percentage of earnings based on income levels), Social Security (6.2% on wages up to $90,000 for Tax Year 2005, $94,200 in 2006) and Medicare Tax (1.45%, no ceiling on wage amount for Tax Year’s 2005-2006) and also pay in a matching share of Social Security and Medicare Tax. If he/she pays with a 1099-Misc then they do not withhold or match any of these Taxes. The “Independent Contractor” (prostitute) would then be responsible for BOTH shares of Social Security and Medicare (15.3% total) minus 7.65% of that calculation. Simple, huh? Now, whether one is an “Employee” or “Independent Contractor” is another issue, but it mostly comes down to “control”. Does the earner control working conditions, hours, how the job is done, what “tools” are required, etc., or are the preponderance of these conditions **dictated by the payer. If the payer sets all or most of these conditions than that earner is generally an “Employee”. Yes, there are penalties for intentionally mis-classifying “Employees” as “Contractors” to avoid paying Employer Taxes on the income. Also, as a “Contractor” the prostitute would file a Schedule C on their return and be able to deduct more expense items than a W-2 Employee would. So, I hope this clarifies…and perhaps allows you to muse and then use your nimble minds to produce some clever double-entendres, puns or word-plays on my comment. ** – possible pun-placement tip

  24. 24
    The Pirate says:

    Wait, they’re not raising the minimum wage AND they’re taxing prostitution? The working man can’t catch a break.

  25. 25
    Tax Analyst says:

    OH, a small addendum…Legally speaking the IRS is not SUPPOSED to share Income Tax Return information with other Government Agencies. They USED to be fairly strict about this, so in THEORY a Pimp could file a 1040 with a Schedule C stating his business accurately as “Pimp” or “Agent” or whatever, accurately report Income and Expenses and pay his/her proper share of the Taxes on that and have no trouble whatsoever with other Authorities busting him/her. Same would apply for the “Prostitute/Hostess/Escort/Professional Mattress Polo Player” or whatever the hooker wanted to call themselves for Tax Filing purposes. I don’t know how closely these rules are followed anymore…judging from the high regard the current Administration has for the Law I wouldn’t want to turn in my “Get Out Of Jail Free” card if I were filing that Tax Return.

  26. 26
    srv says:

    Legally speaking the IRS is not SUPPOSED to share Income Tax Return information with other Government Agencies.

    Yeah, who knows now. But in another life (20 years ago) with the IRS, I’d see occassional returns with other income of “drug sales”, “escort income”, etc.

    No processes then for reporting it at our level. Boss said audit didn’t care either. Sammy was just happy they were paying.

    My favorite moment was seeing the return filed on the back of a cut-out T-shirt. Guy knew what he was doing, the regs say as long as it had the required lines, perjury statement and signature, it was good to go.

  27. 27
    Mean Gene says:

    Every look at the people in our government–the President, the Vice-President, the Senate, the House–and think that we as a nation are Totally Fucked? Is this the best that we as a society can come up with to govern? I mean, my God, who did these people LOSE TO? Show me an orangutan in a zoo and it’s 50-50 I’d pick the orang over a random member of Congress to provide my representation. Look at the subjects that have occupied Washington’s attention the last few weeks. Gay marriage. Flag burning. Taxing pimps. Hey, what war? What deficit?

    There will be no maurauding Visigoths to end the American Experiment. We’ll do it to ourselves. And when you consider that path we’ve followed the last six years and the quality of person currently occupying the highest offices in the land, we’re well on the way to being Totally Fucked.

  28. 28
    Jim Allen says:

    Damn, Tax Analyst, it really is hard out there for a pimp.

  29. 29
    MrSnrub says:

    Just another example of government red tape interfering with small business.

  30. 30
    Jim Allen says:

    BREAKING NEWS: The Supreme Court ruled this morning that President Bush overstepped his authority in creating military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies.

    Why does the Supreme Court hate America? I’m sure Republican Congresscritters are busy drafting legislation that will bar the Supremes from attending Dear Leader’s State of the Union address.

  31. 31
    Punchy says:

    Why does the Supreme Court hate America?

    1) They’re all activist judges
    2) They’re all Clinton appointees (yes, facts be dammed)
    3) Judgeship makes one liberal, that’s why
    4) Stevens hasn’t kicked it yet

    Seriously, who’s going to enforce this ruling? Who? Congress? Uh huh. Sure.

  32. 32
    Mac Buckets says:

    Suffice it to say, it is the editorial postion of Balloon Juice that having minors (both male and female, Sen. Grassley) involved in the sex trade is horrible

    Young males involved in the sex trade, JC? Riiiight. All a woman who wants to have sex with a young guy needs to do these days is to become a public schoolteacher. Sure, like a woman would ever need to buy a male prost–

    Oh. Never mind.

  33. 33
    Tax Analyst says:

    Yeah, Jim…I’d say it’s a Bitch being a Pimp – but I think that’s the whore, not the Pimp…at least in most cases. srv – well, glad to hear the IRS was following the law back then. Uh…does it make any sense to say it restores some of my faith and confidence in the people who are no longer running things? Good story about the “T-Shirt Tax Return”. So what form did he file, “1040-TS”? Was it a “Short(sleeve)Form” or “Long(sleeve”? Tax puns, sorry…I love ’em. OH…Hell – one more and I’m through for now: On that “T-Shirt” filing – did anyone at your office say, “This return just doesn’t wash”? I’m really trying to say something serious here, but when I think of the topic, well, I just can’t. So, veering slightly off the specific topic I’ll just ask that you repeat slowly after me…The people who are running our goverment at this very moment and for at least the near future are by and largely just self-interested and indifferent hacks & clowns. For at least the last month and probably longer our Congress has been throwing absolute twaddle at the wall and then posturing and grandstanding to keep it stuck there. While there is some blame for both sides you cannot escape the point that the GOP is responsible for calling this tune, since as the Majority their Leaders get to decide the issues that come to the floor. OK…was that serious enough for ya’?

  34. 34
    bud says:

    RSA quoted this:

    Germany has legalized prostitution. The U.S. Government opposes prostitution and any related activities, including pimping, pandering, and/or maintaining brothels as contributing to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. These activities are inherently harmful and dehumanizing. The U.S. Government’s position is that these activities should not be regulated as a legitimate form of work for any human being.

    One question: When does Nevada lose statehood?

    Some (not many) “entertainers” actually fill out quarterlies and pay taxes on their income; these are usually the girls who are working (no pun intended) toward a particular financial goal.

    Sen Grassley’s holier-than-thou attitude is rather strange, since the only time I have been blantently solicited in the bar of major chain motel was in Des Moines. Maybe he’s trying to get some gravy for the locals; is there a provision for states to get a cut?

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