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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Great Argument for a Flat Tax

If you need a good reason to support a flat tax, today's Washington Post has a really good article on some interesting tax dodges used by rich folks of both political stripes.

I've always favored either a flat, or very limited curve tax code, with much less BS, and more substance in it. The guys in the article above shielded hundreds of millions of dollars in earnings, and taxes, in what their tax advisors claim are perfectly legal schemes.

I'd even figured out the three brackets needed a few years back (though that computer is down right now, so I don't have them) to completely replace the current tax code, and increase revenues based on IRS figures from 2003. The beauty was that it wouldn't require anyone single making under $30k or married making under $45k to pay a dime in federal taxes.

The problem with implementing a flat tax, or the "Fair Tax" (national sales tax) that some advocate is there is a ton of money tied up in the current ponzi scheme that is our tax code. Look at the lawyers names in the Post article, they make millions advising people how to save millions in taxes. A changed code with a one page form would ruin them. H&R Block, TurboTax, etc, would all be unneccessary, and they don't like the idea. Dont' even get me started on the mortgage, tuition and other deductions that have become sacred cows of the tax code.

The problem is that there are too many spinmeisters out there when anyone tries to fix the tax code, or even tinker with it a little. Bill Clinton gave the rich one of their biggest tax breaks in years, while socking it to the little guys with a big increase, and George Bush took 15 million working poor off the tax rolls, but you'd be hard pressed to find those truths anywhere without sifting through IRS data. Which I did for a quite while, damn I'm weird.

Who knows, maybe some day we'll elect a bunch of folks with some common sense who want to make the tax code make sense, instead of having it make lawyers millions showing folks how to skate around it.

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10Comments:

Blogger Patty said...

I have written to all my reps and the president for a flat tax fat lot of good that did.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

This reminds me of that comic showing a tax payer with a bunch of little screws twisted through him and then another picture of him after tax simplification with just one big screw through the middle.

Anyway, great article. I like your kind of weird. Keep it up and we'll sneak you into the White House while nobody's looking and have you straighten a few things out.

8:23 AM  
Blogger LargeBill said...

CP,

You hit the nail on the head. Anyone with any sense understands the current system is broke. All the lying politicians who claim to be looking out for the little guy realize the tax code is nuanced enough to favor those rich enough to exploit the loop holes. Too many people have been fooled into thinking they are getting some benefit from the current tax code to get a concensus for change. Steve Forbes talked about change (flat tax I think) during his failed presidential campaign and got no where. A push for real change will require a politician with lots of courage and sufficient charisma and public speaking ability to explain the problems with the system well enough so average (and below average) voters could understand. I'm not hopefull that such a politician is out there.

9:20 AM  
Blogger asacan said...

I also think it's ironic that two of the biggest advocates of the death tax, namely Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, have both shielded a large portion of the fortunes from the death tax into the Gates' Foundation. It's okay for them to decide where their money is spent, but not okay for the rest of us to do the same?

We've spoken about this, and I was one of the people who was taken off the federal tax rolls by Bush. And then, this last year, I was "refunded" more than I paid (that's not a refund). While I have two kids and am in the military, I am by no means hurting or poor. They needed to give the money to the people who earned it, not me.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Look at the lawyers names in the Post article, they make millions advising people how to save millions in taxes. A changed code with a one page form would ruin them.

So it would be bad for the economy is what you are saying.

3:49 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Ronald Reagan hit the nail right on the head when he said liberals want a very simple tax code.

Line 1 How much did you make last year?

Line 2 Please attach for amount on line one.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Shoprat, you are correct, that would be there tax code... As long as Kennedy could keep his trusts in Bermuda and the Cayman's shielded (he won't pay any estate tax)

Praguetwin, no, just their bottom line.

Ascan, you should feel guilty about not only not paying your fair share, but taking some of my (more than) fair share without earning it. Drop me an e-mail and I'll tell you where to send the check.

Bill, I'm afraid, unfortunately, that someone with charisma, brains, and the bankroll to win an election is also smart enough to not want to be in public office :(

LP, I've had a number of people make comments about me and the White House. Unfortunately I've got enough skeltons to fill LOTS of closets, and don't need them dragged out.

Gayle, keep writing, maybe some day they'll listen.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Maricopa Mark said...

How to pay zero taxes (legally):

1) Become a corporation.

2) Take every deduction possible.

This is what the tax law allows. If you have a moral obligation to pay your "fair share" then I'm OK with that but don't expect anyone else to follow your lead. The US tax code is a legal document, not a moral one.

Just my opinion.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

We are in a higher tax bracket, and no, we don't get any breaks. I'm sickened four times a year when I have to send in those estimated payments knowing that the government will most likely squander that money.

I favor 'consumption tax'. That way everyone conducting business under the table has to pay too. I think that's the only way it can really be fair.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Stacy, I've always liked the "idea" of a consumption tax. The implementation has never, in any country, worked as advertised though. Every European country (and Canada) was going to completely replace their income taxes with the VAT's they implemented. Instead, both rates have continued to go up continually.

The only way I'd like to see that kind of tax in the US is by a constitutional amendment implementing it, and repealing the income tax at the same time.

1:21 PM  

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