8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 16, 1998
Complex tax form confuses citizens
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON -- As the final crush of
Americans rushed yesterday to stuff mailboxes with
their 1997 tax returns, few forms were drawing more
anger and exasperation than Schedule D. the capital
gains form, whose labyrinthine steps would challenge
Theseus, the maze-conquering hero of Greek myth.
Taxpayers can thank the 1997 tax law for creating
the new Schedule D by establishing four - count
em, four -- tax rates for capital gains, which are the
profits from sale of stock, real estate and other assets.
The capital gains form, which has metastasized
from a one-page, 19-line form to a two-page, 54-step
Rube Goldberg machine of higher mathematics, is so
complex that even the people who wrote the law are
tossing up their hands. House Ways and Means
Committee Chairman Bill Archer (R-Texas), who
always.brags that he does his own taxes, for the first
time resorted to a computer program to prepare them
this year, his spokesperson said.
And unfortunately, a lot of people who should have
filed Schedule D didn't realize it. The Internal Revenue
Service is sending back more than 1 million returns
because they failed to include Schedule D. That's an
unusually hefty chunk of the 20 million or so people
who were expected to report capital gains this year.
Republicans around the country honored the feder-
al tax filing deadline yesterday with news conferences
and events to call for abolishing the tax code and
replacing it with a simpler, fairer system. But GOP
fingerprints are all over the 1997 tax law, which is
responsible for not only Schedule D but also a host of
other new complications in the tax code.
boost to economy
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Growth of Internet
reducing inflation, creating
Los Angeles 'l'imes
Computers and the Internet have dra-
matically transformed the U.S. econo-
my in the last five years, significantly
reducing inflation and creating 7.4 mil-
lion high-paying jobs, according to a
Commerce Department report released
The report marks the government's
most comprehensive look to date at the
growth of information technology, and
puts a dollar figure on the myriad of
advancements that have become a part
of everyday life.
" achnology is reshaping this econo-
my and transforming businesses- and
consumers," Commerce Secretary
William Daley said. "This is about
more than e-commerce, or e-mail, or e-
trades, or e-files. It is about the 'e' in in
From word processing and automat-
ed inventory controls to supermarket
scanners and online shopping, informa-
tion technology has boosted productiv-
ity for businesses and convenience for
The high-tech industry today
accounts for more than 8 percent of the
national output of goods and services,
with the computer and communications
sectors growing twice as fast as the rest
of the economy, the report notes.
But the benefit is hardly limited to
high-tech companies, according to the
report, titled "The Emerging Digital
Economy." Among the industries
investing most heavily in information
technology are real estate, radio and
television broadcasting, auto repair
services and motion picture produc-
Nationwide, investments in infor-
mation technology account for more
than 45 percent of all business equip-
ment investment, compared to only 3
percent in the 1960s. In select indus-
tries such as communications, insur-
ance and financial brokerage houses.
three out of every four equipment dol-
lars are spent on information technol-
ogy, Daley said in a speech to infor-
mation technology business people in
That investment is paying off in
terms of lower inflation, which would
have been 3.1 percent in 1997 instead
of the 2 percent rise that was actually
recorded, according to the report. In
addition, millions of information tech-
nology-related jobs pay just under
$46,000 per year, compared to an aver-
age of $28,000 for the private sector as
a whole, the report said.
The trend is poised to continue as
the Internet spreads to more office
desktops. Businesses are using the
global computer network to buy sup-
plies more cheaply, reduce invento-
ries, lower sales and marketing costs
and improve their customer service,
the report said.
Hewlett Packard, for example, has
increased productivity and reduced
costs by more than 5200 million a year
by linking more than 100.000 employ-
ees worldwide on an internal network
that allows workers to share files, said
spokesperson Ann McGrath.
Employees also can share information
on manufacturing defects and product
tests on more than 100 online discus-
sion groups, she said.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer
and equipment giant expects to save up
to 70 percent of the - sts associated
with paper forms by making personnel
policies and payroll forms available
online, McGrath said. Money saved
from administrative costs can be
plowed back into research and develop-
At Nike, the phone directory,
employee benefits forms, cafeteria
menu and conference room schedule
are available on Swooshnet, as the com-
pany's internal network is known.
When an Internet hoax advertised that
customers could send in an old pair of
smelly sneakers in exchange for a new
pair of athletic shoes, Nike diffused the
rumor by posting correct information
on its World Wide Web site.
BENNINGTON. Vt. (AP) -Two
wooden crates that arrived unexpect-
edly at the Bennington Museum
were found to contain seven
Grandma Moses paintings that were
stolen 14 years ago.
Where the artworks have been all
this time - and exactly who sent
them back and why - are still a mys-
"It was someone who honestly
loved them and wanted to own them
and enjoy them," museum curator
Deborah Federhen said. "If they
wanted to sell them, they would have
broken them up and not kept them as
a set of seven but tried to dispose of
them one by one."
The brightly colored New England
landscapes were stolen in 1984 from
the Rose Valley, Pa., home of
Margaret Carr shortly after the
woman's death. She had bequeathed
the paintings to the private
The artworks - whose combined
value was estimated by the
Bennington museum at $250,000 to
S500,000 - were not seen again until
they arrived at the museum in
February in good shape, still in their
original, two-tone painted wooden
Each crate contained a cryptic com-
puter note in bright purple ink and a
hard-to-read typeface. Each tote,
inexplicably signed "Ring Sar," lists
the names and dates of the pairings
and says: "Please send the attached
following for a seven-year anonymous
loan" - a reference, perhaps, o the
seven-year statute of limitatiois for
prosecuting the transportatici of
stolen property across state lines
The museum contacted the FEI, the
Pennsylvania State Police and an
international registry of lost at in
New York City. The New York ga'ery
that handles Grandma Moses' etate
helped identify the works.
The Pennsylvania State Police
have reopened the investigation. But
the museum's attempts to trae the
shipper have been unsuccessfil. The
packages were sent by a slpping
company from Quakertown, Ia., but
the receipt contained a phonr com-
pany name and a false fax nunber.
After two months in a safb,and 14
years in a place only few crow of,
the paintings finally hand on the
walls of the Bennington Mseum.
"They took the sceni route,
Grandma Moses, born Atia Mary
Robertson, took up paintig in her
late 70s and lived in Eagli Bridge,
N.Y., near Bennington. Ms.Carr and
her sister became friends with the
artist and used to visit her
Seven paintings by Anna Mary Robertson Moses, a.k.a. Grandma Moses,
stolen in 1984,were anonymously returned to a Vermont museum yesterday.
Mosese e pitise
deivered to museum
1 F STUDY ABROAD
COMING TO YOUR CAMPUS!
Dr. Jim Buschman is available to discuss study
abroad through Syracuse University. Visit his
table at Michigan Union (lower level) Friday,
April 17, 11-3 pm. Or call 800-235-3472 to schedule
an appointment between 3-5 pm.
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