This week, we celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss as he is better known, was born on March 2, 1904 (yes, I’m a couple days late). If he were still alive, he’d be 110 years old.
For the last couple of years, I’ve mixed a little tax in with my Seuss. Last year, I crafted my own ode set to the popular Oh, the Places You’ll Go! In 2012, I tackled Green Eggs and Ham.
This year, One of his least quoted works, If I Ran the Circus, was published in 1956. It tells the story of Little Morris McGurk who plots to clean up the lot behind Mr. Sneelock’s store and replace it with his own Circus McGurkus. Enjoy!
“In all the whole country, the most wonderful spot
Is inside the Capitol – the tip of the top!
It’s just the right spot for my wonderful plan,”
Said young Newbie McGong, “…to clean up the land.”
“Now a fellow like me,” said young Newbie McGong,
“Could get rid of this junk and it wouldn’t take long.
I could pass some new laws. And take away the old guard.
And banish some old rules. It shouldn’t be that hard.
And then the whole place would be ready, you see…”
All ready to put new faces in my Congress.
I think I will call it the Congress McGongress.
The Congress McGongress! The World’s Greatest Show
On the face of the earth, or wherever you go!
The Congress McGongress! The cream of the cream!
The Congress McGongress! The Congress Supreme!
The Congress McGongress! Colossal! Stupendous!
Astounding! Fantastic! Terrific! Tremendous!
I’ll bring in my own folks, my computers and tools,
People who really study the laws and the rules,
And they’ll do what you tell them, that’s what they’ll do,
Because they’ll remember they’re working for you.
And I don’t suppose you taxpayers will pout,
When you suddenly have less to worry about.
After all, those in old Congress still are my friends.
They might even help out doing small odds and ends.
Doing little odd jobs, they could be of some aid…
So long as they don’t demand to be paid.
And if you flash a dollar right at them, they
Would never be ready for Opening Day!
What an Opening Day!
What to see!
What to say!
I’ll run up and down aisles! The crowds will crowd in!
And my Congress McGongress will promptly begin,
With a welcoming ring on my Welcoming Bell,
And those that have already been through a tough spell,
And are looking for someone with nothing to sell,
And they won’t need any bigger reason to rave,
‘Cause a breath of fresh air is something they crave.
This way! Step right in! This way, ladies and gents!
My Congress starts here with lots of good sense.
When you see what goes on, you’ll say no other Congress is
Half the great Congress the Congress McGongress is.
Here in aisles on the Democrat side
Is a sight most amazing – where worlds collide.
Who will talk on and on with the GOP side,
No cameras around! No one sat on a shelf.
It’s a marvelous trick, if I say do so myself.
And this is what we’ll do,
Here is something quite new!
Let’s try passing some bills
Those not packed full of frills
With purpose, to wit
Nothing stuffed to the gills
(No nods to the lobbies,
And no battle of wills.)
Of course gathering support is quite hard to collect
But on we will manage, somehow, I expect.
And some folks in old Congress still are my friends
And I’m sure they’ll help out doing small odds and ends.
And we’ll now pass reform! Remarkable reform,
Where simplicity can be considered the norm!
So taxpayers can figure their tax, it appears,
Instead of just blowing some smoke from their ears.
And throw out the Tax Code, try a wildly new scheme
Where things are exactly as they actually seem!
Where income is taxed at a more reasonable rate,
Where tax forms can be prepared by the due date!
We can come up with a plan I’m sure you won’t hate.
And we won’t be a Hoodwink
Who winks in his wink-hood.
Without a good wink-hood
A Hoodwink can’t wink good.
And, folks, let me tell you
That’s the old, old Congress
With wink-hooded Hoodwinks!
Not Congress McGongress!
The Bill of All Bills!
No other bill writer
Who’ll write a bill like a determined tax fighter!
The best bill writer who will sit on the Hill,
The world’s sharpest bill writer. Look at his bill!
There’s nary a pork barrel!
No nod to a PAC!
And the text all makes sense
Because it’s all fact!
And, then, there will be none of this scratching your head,
Trying to figure what was actually said.
And, now, come to this spot
Where the focus is hot
And you’ll see that the focus
Is certainly not
Who can juggle some stuff
Such as all that you’ve got…
Like those twenty-two question marks,
Which is a lot.
Also forty-four commas
And, also, one dot!
That’s the kind of a Congress McGongress I’ve got!
But that’s just the get go. A start. A beginning.
This way to the voting, you’ll find your head spinning.
Why, ladies and gentlemen, youngsters and oldsters,
Your heads will quite likely spin right off your shouldsters!
So hurry! Step lively! Quick, ladies and gents!
Hold onto your wallets and use common sense!
My really big, big deal is about to commence!
You’ll see individual rates flatten out just a bit,
Superfluous deductions take quite a hit,
With their wasteful take on cash and your time,
While spending every penny, nickel and dime,
That is super-Stoo-Pendus! Stoo-Mendus! Stoo-Roarus!
When I talk of savings, please join in the chorus.
Next to go are caps based on how much money you make,
After those are phased out, there’s not much left to take.
And pummeling the middle classes won’t do,
Everyone should pay their fair share of tax, too.
While, those at the very top of the income heap,
Will squawk mighty twangs about losing their sleep,
If we tweak tax preference bits like capital gain!
Shrinking those deductions will always cause you pain!
The truth is that no one is willing to pay!
More tax to fund our spend-y system today!
So get behind us, then,
While everyone stares
We’ll have to cut our spending
But do it in layers!
At first some off of the top,
Not too fast, we’ll go slow,
To get used to it all,
That’s how it will go.
And NOW comes an act of Enormous Enormance!
No former Congress has performed this performance!
This stunt is too grippingly, slopingly fright’ning!
Scarier than hail, thunder, earthquakes or lightning
We’ll delete home mortgage interest deductions,
And the job that it does on budget reductions,
No more tax breaks for buying a home, not a car
Or paying off credit or traveling far,
And we won’t even try to put it on a par…
With the plan
To remove
A clear bar most ferocious
That’s known far and wide
As completely atrocious
Requiring you show
High dollar deductions
That total a number
For further reductions
And you know that I mean the choice to itemize,
Which skews tax breaks to incomes of greater size
For medical deductions, other taxes paid,
Some job expenses and charitable gifts made.
Now I’ll leave deductions for a few minutes’ rest
And focus on corporate, you will see the best best
Of the world’s finest, fanciest of money that works!
Your Apples, Your Googles, Your Ciscos, Your Mercks,
Who never quite share, while they zoop and they zoom,
Where they do business or when or with whom,
Or if who will catch which by the what and just where,
Or just when and just how in which part of the air!
Ei! Ei! What a Congress! My Congress McGongress!
They can only do right. There’s no wrong among us!
We’ll work and we’ll work up so many surprises
You’d never see half if you had forty eyes!”
Again Congress!
Brave Congress is back,
Daring to say no to the offshore haven track,
While the big money floats all over the place,
And catching up to it all requires quite a chase,
Too long we’ve just lied there. Not one bit excited.
This time it’s different, you’ll be so delighted.
And here, in a contest of brute strength and muscle,
Our Congress, our champ-of-all-champs, will now tussle
And wrestle the beast called the offshore haven
Where many are thought to be tax evading,
But we can bring their dollars back with a new bill,
Taxpayers will love it! As will those on the Hill.
And while THAT goes on THERE, look at THIS go on HERE!
Have you heard of my “done with the hoops jumping fear” …
Taxpayers jump through hoops and do it pell-mell
To comply with all of those new tax rules, as well
As the same old hoops ALSO are being jumped through
By another who’s having HIS hoops jumped through, too,
Which I’m sure practically nobody else can do.
The whole country will ring with hoorays and wild shouts
When I say no longer, it’s not what it’s about!
First this should be simple, with an aim that aims true
That tax season should last merely a month or two!
No more clamoring about to get it all done
Over months and more months, then right back to square one!
And then forwards and backwards on year after year
With taxpayers freaking out from the fear
Wondering whether or not they’re all in the clear!
Then all of the taxpayers! Can file without fears!
No crying! No sighing! No more slurping of beers!
No swearing! No cheating! No lies! No more jeers!
Filing will be easy and while everyone cheers
Congress will focus on projects for new years!
And while all this wild ruckus-ing goes on below,
At the top of the Hill…look! The star of my show!
Refundable credits! Those most in dispute!
Will finally be fixed or be given the boot
And no longer treated as a pot of free loot!
Granted, the issue’s not so black or so white
Increasingly these credits are taking big bites,
As bureaucracy reaches incredible heights.
We’ll shake ourselves loose!
Of this crazy nose dive
So that our country
Can try to survive!
No more smiles as we fall
And no fear do we feel.
Our nerves are like iron,
Our muscles like steel.
No more plunges! Down! Down!
With our hair still combed neat
Four thousand, six hundred
And ninety-two feet!
Then we’ll land in a fish bowl.
We’ll manage just fine.
Don’t ask how we’ll manage.
That’s your job. Not mine.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

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