As a follow-up to Friday’s post about the futility of alternate tax structures, I thought I’d provide some linkage to this Plastic.com discussion about a variety of such schemes. The back-and-forth between the various posters regarding the competing merits of the flat tax, the value-added tax, the consumption tax, and all the assorted combinations thereof is exactly the point I’m trying to make about calls to “simplify the tax code.” Every one of them has what s/he believes is the best idea, and maybe all that’s needed for it to be implemented and work is… say… an exemption on the first $20K of income.
It’s a bit past 6:30pm here on the east coast, and I’m listening to Marketplace on the local NPR station. Presumably because it’s April 15th, they have some lunatic from the Cato Institute going on about how we should switch to a flat tax. The idea is that rather than the crazy system of variable tax rates, exemptions, loopholes, massive paperwork that we currently have, we should switch to a tax system wherein everyone is taxed at the same rate across the board.
It never ceases to amaze me that the President and Congressional Republicans continue to get away with their laughable claims that the permanent repeal of the estate tax is a means of giving Hard-Working Americans® the money that they have earned. Of course, the politically brilliant strategy of calling it “the death tax” has gone a long way toward promoting this claptrap. Having an army of on-message pundits and other stooges flood the media with the agreed-upon phraseology doesn’t hurt either.