Third Party & Independents Archives

December 28, 2004

The Bush Tax Plan: 1

The Washington Post reports Bush’s desire to reform tax policy by the end of 2005 has been pushed back a year. Apparently, with his economists working on killing Social Security as we know it, and the need to cut Bush’s highest budget deficit ever in half over the next 4 (or 5) years, while continuing to move the national debt toward the expected 10 Trillion dollars by decade’s end, there just isn’t enough brain power to do taxes as well.

It is just as well. Putting off tax reform reminds me of Arlo Guthrie's joke about Reagan sleeping in the Oval Office. Guthrie said, "the more he sleeps, the safer we are". The more reforms President Bush push's off to the future, the better off we may well be. It appears from the Washington Post article that the Whitehouse has decided to adopt the same strategy as with Social Security, an incremental approach. The big question is, incremental toward what end? The President knows a complete overhaul of the tax system in one piece of legislation, will not pass Congressional muster, which begs the question: Why should the public buy an incremental approach?

There are three approaches to tax reform. One is a regressive tax system that places a large part of the burden on consumers as in the national sales tax proposal. The second is retaining a progressive tax system like the one we have currently (the more you make, the more tax you can afford to pay) which is broke because of inefficiency and loop holes and exceptions and a very high cost to administer. The third is a more neutral system some argue, like the flat tax system.

To date, the President has not ruled out a sales tax approach. Critics of this system cite not only its regressive nature but, its inability to produce additional revenues during economic downturns, since downturns reduce sales. The regressive nature is often debated on the basis that sales tax constitutes a far greater percentage of a poor person's total income than a wealthier person. This is compounded when the wealthy have discretionary income with which to invest and earn interest on, while the working poor have no means to offset the sales taxes they pay on each and every purchase. A sales tax system proposal will endure a tremendous amount of opposition by consumer groups, state's governor's who will see state revenues drop for a time in reaction to vastly increased consumer retail prices, as well as large interest groups supporting the poor and retired living on a fixed income.

The problem with a progressive tax system is that those with the wealth stand to pay more. This in turn gives them incentive to use some of that wealth to hire lawyers, accountants, and even lobbyists to find or create loopholes which will reduce their tax burden. The wealthy are also capable of immense personal influence over politicians who write and pass the tax laws in a very disproportionate representation of their views over less wealthy working persons. One need look no further than the upcoming 80 million dollar inauguration of the President for evidence of their potential disproportionate influence. The costs to the tax payers is large just to defend its tax laws in courts against wealthy litigants both individual and corporate, given the volume of such cases and the additional courtrooms and court staff required, not to mention case preparation, research and investigation. A progressive tax system is arguably the most fair in a nation with wide disparity of incomes and standards of quality of life. But, over time, progressive systems favor the wealthy, become exception riddled, and the tax codes become so voluminous as to render them unenforceable for all intents and purposes, across the board.

The flat tax system too is not without valid critical arguments. First among these is the purist's argument. To be fair, a flat tax must be equally and uniformly applied to everyone. The purists argue if it applies to everyone, it acts as a motivator to all entering the work force to work very hard to increase their salary, which, in turn will increase their net income. Critics argue to do so is inherently unfair. They argue there is a threshold of income under which flat tax should not apply since below that cutoff point of income, the tax serves only to push citizen's into poverty and for some, even out of the work force. Critics of the purist argument argue for a poverty threshold below which the flat tax should not apply.

On the opposite side of the flat tax argument, other critics argue for the flat tax to be assessed on wealth, not income. They argue that the economy and the nation depend upon a wide distribution of wealth sufficient to insure against wide spread poverty and an erosion of the consumerism which is still today, the mainstay of the American economy. The argument goes that America's total wealth is finite, and if wealth distribution through lowering of wages and quality of life standards concentrates into too few hands, the supply of wealth available to consumers to keep productivity up will be threatened as will the economy as a whole. They argue if accumulation of the nation's wealth continues to concentrate into a very small percentage of the population, enterprises will gradually lose customers until one day, large sections of the middle class may find themselves unable to purchase their lifestyle and fall into the lower middle class or under the poverty threshold.

One thing is clear. Any tax system inherently has wealth distribution as one of its cornerstones. A simple example is the military. All citizens pay into the government a portion of their income (or wealth) to pay for national protective services by the military. The beneficiaries of that revenue distribution are the military personnel themselves who are provided jobs and careers and varying degrees of financial security, as well as the host of support companies, corporations, and government agencies personnel who also profit from the redistribution of tax revenues. Only a true anarchist can make the valid argument that all tax systems should be done away with on the basis of their objections to wealth redistribution.

Another cornerstone of any tax system is its promise to produce a net benefit to the stability, continuance, and general welfare of the society as a whole. Proponents of all tax systems argue theirs will reap a greater benefit to our society. However, close scrutiny is required here, since; there is a mathematical certainty to some of the comparisons of net benefit of differing tax systems. There is a finite limit to the nation's wealth.

While that limit may change over time, it always remains finite. Hence, varying tax proposals must be assessed for their impact on which direction it moves the finite limit, up or down. Tax systems which reduce the nation's productivity over protracted periods of time are rightly to be viewed as inferior to other systems that will maintain or increase the nation's productivity. And consumerism is fundamental to productivity. Production must slow if consumer demand drops. Thus taxes can have a dramatic effect upon the nation's economic health.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP - the sum of all goods and services produced by a nation) is often referred to as the barometer of the nation's health. If GDP is going up, it is generally agreed the nation is economically healthy. If the GDP is stalling or going down, consensus says the nation's economy is faltering. Tax systems, as well as many other variables, can have a dramatic effect upon GDP. GDP growth usually means increased jobs and upward pressure on wages which is a positive for the nation's work force and their dependents. So, to the extent that tax reform will maintain or increase GDP growth, increases in employer's demand for workers, and increases in worker wages, that tax reform will generally be agreed to be a viable and worthy reform measure. And these will be the ultimate benchmarks by which tax reforms debated by the President and Congress shall be assessed and compared to the current system.

Beware the short term benefits. Like the Titanic approaching the ice berg, an economic system is neither easily, nor quickly, steered. Some proponents of various tax reforms will be making arguments based on short term benefits to GDP or fairness, others on long term benefits, and still others on both the short and long term. But a fair assessment of any tax reform must be measured on its long term effects (meaning decades) upon the economy and its citizens. Tax reform will be one of the most contentious and difficult pieces of legislation to change with any real national consensus. Once done, it will be extremely difficult to undo at a later point as the cost of reform both in the short and long term, economically, and in terms of the legislative process and political capital is high.

Posted by David R. Remer at December 28, 2004 10:00 PM
Comments
Comment #39539

I think your treatment of a national sales tax approach is a little unfair. Switching to a sales tax merely changes the method of tax collection, it does not automatically ensure a regressive system.

Many states exempt necessity items such as food and clothing to ease the burden on the less affluent. Other proposals, such as the Fairtax advocate some kind of national rebate, in essence a refund in advance of fees on the first $XXX dollars of expenditure. Finally, your comment regarding investment seems incomplete. Why couldn’t a sales tax be levied on investment trades, the same as other services?

I think the biggest advantage of a national sales tax is the incentive to save (something Americans have long been criticized for not doing enough of) If money is only taxed when spent, all investments could become the equivalent of a tax-sheltered IRA or 529 plan. Taxing the act of trading could help slow churn and discourage speculation, funneling more money into productive channels.

While no proposal is perfect, I think the success of companies like HR Block assisting taxpayers through the bizarre rules, twists, and turns of following policy points to the need of reform. How fair is a system whose rules are so complex that only experts understand how to follow them?

Posted by: Jason Shao at December 29, 2004 02:17 AM
Comment #39543

Jason, thank you for the feedback. There is merit to what you are saying. A national sales tax can be made more fair and less regressive than a flat across the board sales tax plan, and it can have stimulative effects upon the economy.

The math however, is not going to be easy to sell due to its complexity. In fact, explaining the complexity of a national sales tax which is both fair and economically stimulative to voters is going to be quite difficult. In the end, the American public will have to take it on faith that the politicians who are in the hip pockets of wealthy campaign donors are offering a plan that will benefit them and their progeny.

An example: How does one explain the benefit to a minimum wage worker who falls below the poverty line and pays no income tax, that their cost of living under a sales tax federal revenue plan is going to jump by as much as 10 or 15%? The NY Times ran an article last week indicating a person in America needs to make $15 per hour in a full time job in order to afford the average apartment rent in America. Do we exempt housing? Do we exempt all housing, including Bill Gates, or just modest housing?

When was the last time you heard anyone argue about the inflationary pressures of hidden sales taxes in gasoline prices, phone use taxes, airline ticket costs? Chances are you haven’t, precisely because sales tax is semi-hidden. I mean people know they pay federal sales tax on gasoline, but, how many know what the amount is, how many increases in it have taken place? How many voters were notified of the last increase in gasoline tax revenues proposal in a bill before Congress?

A sales tax strategy has the potential of becoming a means by which Congress can raise taxes without much public notice or debate, precisely because of the capacity to incrementalize tax increases and aggregate them over many years, eliminating public uproar over ever upward moving taxing hikes. For fiscal conservatives and libertarians, a national sales tax should be the least appealing of the options being discussed.

Can such negatives inherent in a sales tax plan be compensated for? Possibly, but then, are we not talking about doing to the tax code of a national sales tax the same kind of voluminous exception and special interest writing as we currently experience under the progressive income tax code? The more exceptions and loopholes, the less enforceable, less fair, and more costly the tax code becomes to enforce and administer, doesn’t it?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 08:11 AM
Comment #39554

David,

Great article, and a very complex issue to debate. Anything changed to make the system more fair means someone pays more or something in government must be cut.
One thing I would start with is taking a meat ax to some of the business expence write offs.

Why should someone making 100k+ get an extra 10 -20K in untaxed freebies like expencive lunches, free company cars, ect.?
Joe lunchbucket buys his own lunch, car, gas ect. and is taxed on the money he bought it with!
( I had an expence account when I worked)

No taxes of any kind on overtime pay for hourly workers, meaning if you work 50 hrs., you are taxed for the 50, not the 5 hr. bonus pay.
If someone is working their ass off to support their family, or to get ahead they shouldn’t be taxed on it.
Some would say that saleryied persons would “work” the system by claiming hourly statis, fine, let them punch the same clock as the hourly people and be subject to the same rules!
I would start there but it would be by no means the end of reforms if I were King!

Posted by: Beagle at December 29, 2004 10:39 AM
Comment #39555

Beagle, thanks for the comments. Your issues are irksome to me as well. Personally, I am in favor of a flat tax on wealth. Some conservatives argue taxing wealth harms the economy by cutting off capital investment and low cost capital to enterprise. I always find that amusing since they ignore the other half of the economic equation - the Consumer. Isn’t taxing paychecks of working people also taxing wealth? And doesn’t taxing the working people cut consumer spending? And doesn’t cutting consumer spending eat into revenues of enterprise thus reducing their profitability? Yes, to all questions. Taxing wealth of the wealthy or the working poor and middle class both act as a constraint on the economy. So, the taxing wealth argument I find to be an empty argument.

That btw, is a great idea I would sign onto, about not taxing overtime premiums of hourly wage earners. But, only after the minimum wage is raised to a lower middle class living wage.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 10:54 AM
Comment #39557

I’m not sure I could go along with the min. wage thing, I think it would put poor people out of work.
Would you really want to pay a teenage babysetter $15 an hour for watching TV, eating all your munchies, and inviteing her boyfriend over to get spots on your couch ?

(just kidding)

Posted by: Beagle at December 29, 2004 11:08 AM
Comment #39558

babysitters are independent contractors, not subject to hourly minimum wage rules. Problem solved.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 11:12 AM
Comment #39559

Your use of the term finite is correct, but not useful. When people use the word finite, they usually mean that there is a set amount that doesn’t change. You talk about GDP rising or falling, which indicates it is not finite in the usual way we use the term. This makes a big difference. If some amount is finite, it means to most people that the game is zero sum – if you get more I lose.

Actually the economy is growing sum. We can all get more in absolute terms. It is only finite in relative terms, which makes much less difference in a situation like this. It is like saying that the number of stars in the visible universe is finite. This is a true statement, but the visible universe expands constantly as our ability to investigate it improves.

The competing assumptions that the economy is predominately a zero sum or growing sum situation is at the heart of many liberal-conservative disagreements. That is why pointing it out is so important.

If we stipulate a zero sum environment, we must fight over every crumb. The zero sum environment, however, is not the one we live in.

We have to produce something before we can redistribute it. Different tax and economic policies produce different amounts of growth. They are not neutral, as you point out, and policies that produce more growth or encourage a better allocation of resources are better than those that don’t. If a policy allows means a person with $10,000 of purchasing power can now purchase $12,000, it is a good policy. If it raises the whole economy, maybe it also allows a person with $100,000 to move to $120,000. In other words the rich guy gets $18,000 more than the poor guy.

That brings me to the use of the term redistributive. Again you are correct in the use, but it is a politically loaded term. Taking equal amounts or equal percentages from all citizens in order to build roads, deliver the mail and defend the county’s borders is redistributive, but that is not what people usually mean when they use the term. Redistributive tax policies – to most people – means doing something to equalize incomes. In the example immediately above, if we charged both wage earners 10% of their incomes, the rich guy would pay a lot more, but we generally would not call the system redistributive. Only if we charged the rich guy a greater percentage and used some of the proceeds to take some of the burden off the poor guy would it be redistributive.

Almost all systems of taxation benefit the poor more than the rich in real terms. Even with a flat tax of 10% in the example above the rich guy pays $12,000.00 while the poor guy pays only $1200. The question is how much more should the rich pay. The question has to be answered in both moral and economic terms. Morally, we may want to rich to pay a lot more, but if we do that we cripple the economy and make everyone, rich and poor, worse off. Conversely, if we don’t make them pay enough, the poor are driven to poverty and become unproductive or criminal. This also leads to everyone being worse off. It is a hard question.

Posted by: Jack at December 29, 2004 11:25 AM
Comment #39560

David,

Why would a sales tax have to be hidden? If anything, I would think a tax that was open and added at the bottom of every bill would make people more aware of how much they were paying to the government, since it would be on every receipt they paid every day. I think the problem with taxes like gas, liquor, tobacco, etc. is that they are hidden, folded into the price of goods consumers buy.

Again, I think a proposal like Fair tax or other similar proposals would neutralize any differences for very low income people through rebate checks for portions of taxes up to the poverty level for all Americans. While not generally a huge fan of government registration, I could see keeping an up to date registry of individuals and a way to reach them as being both useful (for items like voter registration, census, etc.) while not seeming excessively burdensome.

As far as exempting independent contractors — what’s to stop ANY position from being classified as an independent contractor? Good way to get rid of those pesky benefits & vacation time as well.

While tax reform is an interesting debate, truthfully, I think we’d get further looking at health care in America. As a society, we already pay to insure the poor & old (e.g. those who cost a lot because they can’t pay, or because they use lots of services). It seems like the marginal cost to extend coverage to all individuals would be relatively low, while tremendously aiding individuals and families, particularly in an employment situation with as much churn as seems likely for the near future.

Posted by: Jason Shao at December 29, 2004 11:27 AM
Comment #39561

David,

Min. wage is another issue seperate from taxes that a good writer, and clever fellow like yourself could start another thread on. (not telling you what to do).

Seriously, if the min. wage is raised too fast, automation becomes more viable and people lose their job.
The poor sap that used to count bottles and cans for deposit refunds, has been replaced by a machine, the semi-retarded person that used to bag your grocerys is now gone.
Its a great topic for debate, but one that you really have to think about.
I would raise it some, but be carefull not to “price out” some workers that that can do nothing else.

Posted by: Beagle at December 29, 2004 11:39 AM
Comment #39562

Jack, defining terms like GDP and economic resources as finite is crucial to any debate about taxation. To work with an infinite definition leads to infinite taxation, much like the Bush administration is currently following with statements like, ‘national debt is a good thing’ and ‘there is no need to worry about growing national debt as long as GDP is growing’. It is crucial that this debate be founded on reality, and there is a finite limit to economic resources, GDP growth within a time frame, as well as sustainable debt and taxation levels.

That brings me to the use of the term redistributive. Again you are correct in the use, but it is a politically loaded term.

I agree, which is why I tried to dispel the myths that are sure to come forth in the debate that one proposal is redistributive and another is not. ALL tax plans are redistributive. It is time to dispel the credibility of that kind of argument and replace it with one over whom are to be the primary and secondary beneficiaries of tax policy redistribution and in what proportions. That is the substantial difference argued between supply side and consumer side theories of economics and of acute interest to voters.

I absolutely agree with your summary paragraph. Very well said.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 12:02 PM
Comment #39564

Jason, fed. sales tax is posted on every pump. It is still a hidden tax, because increases to it are not subject to wide public review and debate in Congress. Too often such increases are hidden in omnibus spending bills or tacked on as amendments to some other bill with much higher headline value. Posting the amount does not unhide sales taxes nor their increases.

I agree with your statements about health care costs being as or more important that tax policy. One of the seeds of demise of modern civiliazation is its immense complexity which portends a future in which too many problems face too few solutions. It remains to be seen if those seeds will grow into a full blown meltdown, but, a number of possible scenarios are not difficult to imagine anymore, the loss of cheap oil converging with dramatic climate changes being one of the easiest to imagine.

We are just one species, and millions have come and gone before us. I always find that thought somewhat comforting, though why, is beyond me.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 12:11 PM
Comment #39566

Beagle, good comments on the minimum wage issue. I have put it on my topics to do list. Thanks.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 12:22 PM
Comment #39572

David-

I’m almost a sales tax fan and Walter Williams makes some good points on it.

Click Here

He’s probably right that it will never pass though; asking our government to to the right thing is always a losing proposition.

Posted by: George at December 29, 2004 02:28 PM
Comment #39580

George, thanks for the link. Rep. Williams however is awfully short on details. For example, he states enforcement costs would be cut as much as 90%. It would appear he has not considered the humongous incentive that a national sales tax would offer to black market and cash only transactions. Beating the tax system could easily become a national pasttime by circumventing conventional retail and wholesale vendors. To avoid this, one would have to go to a value added tax which would be paid through the distribution chain from manufacturer through wholesaler, forcing their sales prices to reflect the tax up front. That step however vastly increases the cost of administration, enforcement, and accounting research.

Second, he makes enforcement sound easy. The above argument aside, is the federal government really going to leave its funding up to state politicians? And if not, do we have to pay an enforcement agency to become trained in somewhere between 20 and 50 different state implementations of their sales tax collection, accounting, and reporting procedures?

Finally, Williams does not address the regressive nature of the plan as a percentage individual income.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 04:17 PM
Comment #39583

Presumably the rich consume more than the poor and would pay more in consumption taxes. If the poor are consuming more than the rich, you have to ask yourself about what it means to be rich versus poor in these United States.

A sales tax could exempt basics like food and clothing, but it is dangerous to get to precise. The power to tax is the power to destroy. We need to exempt Bill Gates’ food as well as that of the poor widow. Bill can eat only so much anyway.

Posted by: Jack at December 29, 2004 04:30 PM
Comment #39584

Jack, the wealthy consumer far more services as well. One of the first exemptions we are likely to see in a national sales tax plan is exemption for services. Everything from maids to chauffeurs to tax accountants and legal services, all exempt.

I just don’t see a realistic way that a sales tax plan could pass while remaining fair and equitable across income strata and personal wealth strata.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 04:36 PM
Comment #39590

David-

Williams writes a editorial that is carried in many papers, so I’m sure it has to be short.


But my main agreement with Williams is that a VAT or sales tax won’t pass. It would take too much power away from the people who cherish power the most……

Posted by: George at December 29, 2004 04:53 PM
Comment #39594

So many issues, so little time.

1) Flat taxes are not neutral; the low wage earners pay disproportionately to their disposable income.

2) Sales taxes are regressive, not because poor people pay more, but pay proportionately more (see #1).

3) The wealthy should pay disproportionately because they benefit disproportionately: Bill Gates could not have started Microsoft in Cameroon, you see, because there is not an educated, motivated, healthy populace, a stable infrastructure for manufacturing and delivery, or the myriad of government services necessary to grow and sustain such a large, complex enterprise. Now Bill only provided the sweat equity and savvy to create the products, hire the people, and guide the company. The rest, by the far the greatest share, was created by you and me and our predecessors. To ensure the existence of this fertile capitalist bed, the winners such as Bill should pay disproportionately, since they gained disproportionately. In my humble opinion.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 29, 2004 05:40 PM
Comment #39601

Mental Whimp and others, each tax plan has positives and negatives the others don’t have. So, backing one plan over another without crunching the numbers to see which plan is going to be the most fair both for individuals and the economy both over the short and long term, is not going to result in a rational decision as to what is going to be best for our nation.

If we depend upon Bush to do our number crunching for us, we may very well end up with a reform committment that will not be in the best interest of the most citizens over the short and long term. That is why it is incumbent for as many Americans as possible to separate this issue from political parties or economic theories, and evaluate the different plans based on the numbers as put out and compared by think tanks, the Congressional Budget Office, consumer and special interest groups. Only by comparing and contrasting different plan’s actual numbers, will Americans be in a position to offer feedback to the President and Congress as to what is going to be in their and their children’s best interest.

Tax reform and health care reform are going to have huge long term effects on our society, either for good or ill. It is vital that Americans do their own homework on these two issues, as tough as they may be to learn about. If they don’t, they will get the plan that will benefit the few who pass it in Congress. Awareness is the best defense against political and financial expedience and special interest on these issues which will cost all Americans some or a lot.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2004 11:03 PM
Comment #39611

A perception check. This is not a rhetorical question. I am interested in people’s perceptions – not statistical “facts.”

What is rich and what is poor?

Given the median income is around $44,000 a year, how much does a person have to make before you think he is rich and how low does he have to sink to be poor?

I will start with sharing my own idea. I know costs of livings vary remarkably over the U.S., so we have to take that into account. In the Washington metro area (which is pretty expensive) my guess (prejudice) is that someone making less than $40,000 a year would have a really hard time and would be poor. A reasonable wage would be around $70,000 and a person would start being rich at $150,000.

I know people who make more than $150,000 who think they are poor, which proves the old saying, “some people have too much money, but nobody has enough.”

Posted by: Jack at December 30, 2004 08:46 AM
Comment #39639

I would rather see a flat tax on everything over, say, 20k. No deductions for anything!
Single, married, 12 kids or none, same rate.
Whatever the rate it should include the state income tax also, the fed can kick it back to the approperate state , in whatever % deemed fair.
Same rate nation wide, if it costs more to live in one area, move or deal with it.

How about 15% fed, 5% state, and 5% SS?

Thats for indiv. taxes, business taxes would be a little more complex, but not to the point of driving them offshore.

Posted by: Beagle at December 30, 2004 12:10 PM
Comment #39677

Beagle, setting percentages across the board will never work, let alone pass. Different states have different needs requiring vastly different budgets. You could not expect to run N.Y. State on Wyoming’s budget.

I assume when you say flat tax you are talking about sales tax. Flat tax applies to either income or assets, not sales.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2004 06:12 PM
Comment #39966

David my friend,

When I said “flat tax” , I meant income tax.

A low populas state needs less money to provide services for the persons of that state, a more populas state needs much more, but has more people to draw from.
A system based on flat-tax for everyone,(in some form), should work.

(off topic, totally a side note)…

This is a topic I love to debate, I have been absent for a while here…
My son is in the Hospital in intensive care, very sick, I may have no friends here, but , If I do, and you are a praying person, please say a prayer for him, His name is Kenneth J. ******.

Very respectfully, Beagle

Posted by: Beagle at January 3, 2005 01:19 PM
Comment #39982

Beagle, You have my best hopes and wishes for Kenneth J.

My apology for misunderstanding about reference to a flat income tax. But, my objection still holds true. The average income of folks in Rhode Island is higher than the average income of folks in Wyoming. And the infrastructure needs for roads and public services is much higher per capita in Wyoming than in Rhode Island, due to distances. This is prima facia not an equitable tax revenue distribution system.

Hence, all states should and are constitutionally guaranteed the right to tax their citizens independently from the federal government. Where I agree with you (largely) is a flat income tax which is the same for all income recipients including corporations, small businesses, churches, and individuals with only one exception, those whose income falls below a poverty line.

Posted by: David R Remer at January 3, 2005 03:27 PM
Comment #40131

David,

Thank you for your good wishes for my son, he has improved somewhat, but He’s still in intensive care. (spinal meningitas) (sp ?).

On taxes, I just want it to be fair to everyone,a flat tax could be fair if it was done right.

With the internet and all the commerse over statelines, state sales taxes nolonger work very well.
A state could still have an income tax if they wish, it would just be payed to the fed. on one simple form, the fed. would just kick it back to that state in whatever % they choose.
I’m just tired of a system with so many loopholes and people being charged for services they will never use.
Property taxes are destroying all the rural land, those taxes should be based on the useage, not on what it is worth to build condo’s on.

I’m sick of all the unfair taxes, and just want something based useage.

Posted by: Beagle at January 4, 2005 02:32 PM
Comment #40204

Beagle, I agree that the flat tax has the greatest promise for fairness, and sustainability of our econmic foundation. Any tax system must however, be designed to insure that it does not drive full time working people into poverty. Given that: there should be only one tax rate, and it should apply to all income earners, profit and non-profit corporations alike, given the caveat that the tax assessment should not be applied to those who working full time would otherwise be moved into poverty, meaning loss of job, housing, and basic sustenance and utilities.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 4, 2005 07:46 PM