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Letter to the Editor

 

The Washington Times

 

GIVE NANNIES THEIR DUE

By Niger Innis

 

Friday June 5, 2009  - Washington, DC

 

          Among the many stories of the fledgling Obama administration has been the failure of many of the president's appointees to pay their taxes. This trend began in 1993 when President Clinton was forced to withdraw from consideration attorney general nominee Zoe E. Baird because of her failure to pay taxes related to her domestic help - often called the "nanny tax."

 

          The failure of high-level nominees to pay into the Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance accounts of their nannies, housekeepers, maids, elder care workers and other domestic workers has encouraged all domestic employers to do the same. It is estimated that the government fails to collect more than $5 billion in "nanny taxes" each year. 

 

          This failure of employers to pay the taxes owed for nannies and other domestic workers is too important to be left to politicians. It does real harm to some of the most vulnerable people in our country - domestic workers. That is why the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is calling upon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to push the Treasury Department to increase efforts to collect these taxes.

 

          Failure to pay the employment taxes for nannies, housekeepers and other domestic workers means those who are trusted to care for our children, our elderly and our homes are cheated from the full protections of America's social safety net. Many of these workers are minorities. When a domestic worker's unemployment tax is not paid, the worker will have trouble collecting unemployment insurance benefits if he or she is laid off. If the tax is not paid for a domestic worker who serves a family for his or her entire lifetime, the worker cannot collect full Social Security and Medicare benefits in retirement. It is sad that a person entrusted to raise children or care for the aged would be left unprotected and vulnerable because of ignorance or greed.

 

          Since 2005, CORE has been engaged in a campaign for Financial Literacy, Choice and Awareness (FLCA) for working-class Americans. We recently held our second in a series of nationwide FLCA seminars in Nevada.

 

          Just this week, CORE, in partnership with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), held several meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill. Among the issues discussed were CORE's FLCA campaign goals. Primary among them is ensuring that the safety nets to which workers are entitled not be pulled away from the most economically vulnerable and exposed in our society.

 

          By abandoning their "nanny tax" responsibilities, the rich and powerful leave the working poor to pay the price. It's Robin Hood in reverse.

 

          NIGER INNIS is the National spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

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