Are we all just moral hypocrites?


Happy tax day!  Thanks to Emancipation Day, the tax procrastinators of the Nation were given a couple extra days to file taxes this year.  April 15th fell on a Sunday so you would expect the deadline to move to Monday.  This year Monday is Emancipation Day so the deadline was pushed to Tuesday, April 17th. Emancipation Day, you ask?  It’s a local holiday in the District of Columbia and by law, District of Columbia holidays are treated like federal holidays when it comes to tax deadlines.  This really makes me wonder what other local holidays I’m missing out on.

Tax day also reminds me tax evasion is a national problem.  David Callahan, who heads the think tank DEMOS, estimates the government misses out on 15% of what it is owed every year by tax evaders.  This is from a combination of people who “fudge” on their taxes and people who make sophisticated steps to keep income from the government like setting up off shore bank accounts.  By the way, that 15% a year adds up to about 3 trillion dollars over the last 10 years.  Collecting the money would be a step in the right direction for cutting the federal deficit.

The IRS cut 5000 jobs this past year.  Does this mean we are going to see an increase in tax evasion?  The United States has a history of compliance.  Tax payers who do their part and pay their fair share do it because they believe it’s the right thing to do.  They believe it’s one of the things that makes this a great country.  I also believe there is a mix of people who don’t want to be the only person paying what they really owe because they know they are making up for all the people who are cheating.  As a result, they fudge a little themselves and are quick to point a finger at anyone else caught cheating.

This is where paying taxes and water conservation meets.  A previous post by Taylor Harris, Let’s Be Honest About How Much Water We Really Use, is a great example of the water savings dilemma.  We want to save water, but we also want to be sure we are not doing more than our fair share while others waste water away.  I also wrote a post last year, 1881 An Opportunity To Do The Right Thing, which discussed the new laws in California designed to promote more efficient landscape irrigation.  The biggest complaint I hear about the new laws is who is going to enforce it?

Unlike the IRS, who at least had 5000 jobs to cut, we in the water world don’t have that type of enforcement available today to cut. However, I continue to make the claim we don’t need the enforcement.  We are not all moral hypocrites.  Just like taxes, where I believe a large portion of people pay their fair share, I believe a large majority of people want to conserve.   We are experiencing a global movement for conservation and sustainability.  I expect the United States to lead the change.  After all,  it’s what makes this country great.

Richard Restuccia

Follow me on Twitter at H2oTrends


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Richard Restuccia

Richard Restuccia is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. As the Director for Water Management Solutions at ValleyCrest, Richard is our spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees including the Government and Regulatory Affairs Committee for the Irrigation Association, the San Diego Water Conservation Action Committee and was a founding member of the Central Control Users’ Group in the Central Valley of California.


  1. Tuesday, 8:43 MomGoH2O

    “moral hypocrites” – such a ponderous concept!
    cheater on taxes? squanderer of water? I hope not!

    IF I can be honest on my taxes when all around me people are being creative…
    IF I can conserve our vital water resource when others frequently let the faucet run too long
    (Caleb and Luke thought it was fun to try to fill the tub while their parents were downstairs!)
    IF I can be a positive example and role model without being pious
    THEN I will have done a drop of contribution toward our society being better off for my having been here.

    Sorry this rendition of “IF” doesn’t rhyme, the rhythm is defunct, and in general its form is lacking. Oh, the content can ride the wave of communicating about not being a “moral hypocrite” who cheats on taxes and who wastes water.

  2. Wednesday, 4:32 Richard Restuccia

    MomGoH2o, thanks for the great comments. I particularly like the part about IF I can be a positive example and role model without being pious. We all have the opportunity to lead the positive change. We need more leaders like you.

  3. Wednesday, 6:59 Ginny Shaffer

    Ill try to check this blog for water conservation ideas, along with some homespun humor!
    It sure was nice to meet u n your super wife. I’d really like to know her secret to getting u to smile when talkin about planting n unplanting! May u find some beautiful birds of paradise to bask in your wise water supply!

  4. Thursday, 8:25 Jeavonna Chapman

    Nice commentary, Richard. Lead by example. Always good advice.

  5. Friday, 2:03 Richard Restuccia

    Thanks Jeavonna, I know you are one of the leaders too!

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