It’s almost April 15th, which is time for my annual tax rant.
I was just kidding about the rant. People have enough problems at tax time and I’m not one to rub salt in the wounds. Besides, the tax filing deadline is a day to give thanks for living in the greatest nation in the world. It’s a time to remember how this country started as a plucky little colony and became a world superpower. It’s a time to be proud of the nation we have built and the opportunity it has created for millions of people. And, it’s a time to reflect on how much money we made last year and to wonder where it all went.
Why we Need a Flat Tax Rate
Here on Hope to Prosper, I attempt to present solutions to our most difficult financial problems. This year, I propose we replace our existing tax system, with a flat-rate income tax. Let’s get rid of the credits, the deductions, the line numbered forms and the flow charts. I say, eliminate the AMT, nuke the schedules and pare it down to a couple of forms.
We should have three tax brackets and make people pay those rates. If everyone had to pay, we could lower the rates and still collect more in taxes. If you are a corporation, you pay your taxes. If you are an individual, you pay your taxes. If you moved last year, have a mortgage and donated to a charity, you pay your taxes. Even if you have a blind dog or convert your car to run on bio-diesel, you still have to pay your taxes.
We must eliminate the ability of the connected and the wealthy to game the system to avoid paying taxes. And, we should require everyone over the poverty line to pay taxes, regardless of the number of dependents. Everyone uses our Government resources and everyone should pay their share. The free lunch mentality is bad for America. So are the corporations who think they are too big to pay. We need to put a stop to it.
Why Our Current System is Broken
I wrote this post is because of an article I read in CNN Money.
In 2009, roughly 47% of households, or 71 million, will not owe any federal income tax, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
It is mind-boggling to expect the other 53% of households to fund the entire Government. I’m all for a progressive tax system, but way too many people are getting a free ride. And, it’s well known that many corporations don’t pay any income tax. So, the tax burden falls increasingly on the middle-class employees and their families. Our income tax system is complex, confusing and unfair. It is unsustainable and it has to change.
Another problem is that our tax code has become a mechanism to encourage or discourage certain behaviors. It’s wrong for the Government to reward or penalize people, based on their personal decisions. And, it’s wrong for special interest groups to receive tax breaks after they contribute to a politician’s campaign. In my opinion, this is legalized corruption.
New Taxes Coming Soon
Since the Federal Government is spending our country into ruin and raising income taxes during a recession isn’t very popular, the next surprise may be new taxes and fees. There are already rumblings around Washington about a European style VAT (Value Added Tax). This would allow the Government to tax the things we buy, much like a sales tax. The Value Added part of this tax is questionable. Most states already have a sales tax and this hasn’t solved any of their financial problems. It only encourages more wasteful spending.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that it’s time to sunset the tax code, lay off the auditors and close down the IRS. There are much more efficient ways to assess and collect income taxes. We should be spending our precious tax revenue for bridges and roads, instead of wasting it on auditors and field offices.
“If Congress were to pass a ‘flat’ tax, you’d simply pay a fixed percentage of your income, and you wouldn’t have to fill out any complicated forms, and there would be no loopholes for politically connected groups, and normal people would actually understand the tax laws, and giant talking broccoli stalks would come around and mow your lawn for free, because Congress is NOT going to pass a flat tax, you pathetic fool.”
Dave Barry – American Author & Columnist
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