The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent.
I guess we've all paid - or avoided paying - our taxes by now and it feels good to have it over with. It didn't hurt much, did it? I made more money last year than I made the year before, but of course my taxes were higher too - the most I ever paid.
To tell you the truth, I have a feeling I paid more than my share of taxes. I guess everyone feels that way.
I have an idea how the IRS could get more money out of the tax cheaters and it wouldn't cost the government a nickel: they would make tax records open to all of us. The figures would be available to anyone who wanted to look them up. This would be a good way to get everyone to pay what they owe. I'd be willing to do it if everyone else did it.
Some people wouldn't dream of cheating anywhere else but they don't worry about cheating on their tax returns if they think they could get away with it.
I've always thought that Uncle Sam goes about trying to get us to pay our taxes the wrong way.
The IRS never appeals to us as patriotic Americans. I think what everyone pays should be public information. Americans would be happier to pay their income tax if they thought that everyone was paying what they were supposed to pay.
Maybe people would be proud of what they pay instead of hiding their income.
I don't know why our tax returns are secret, anyway. What we earn isn't usually much of a secret to anyone who knows us or to anyone who wants to find out what we make.
About 45 percent of what the federal government gets comes from individual income taxes.
Forbes magazine did a piece that said that rich people hide more of their income than poor people hide. Well, of course they have more to hide but generally speaking I think Americans are willing to pay their income taxes. They just want to be damn sure they paid their share - not their share and part of someone else's.
Written by Andy Rooney
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