Darel Rex Finley in 888

The Ultimate, Simple, Fair Tax

2017.09.19   prev     next

WHAT’S the fairest, simplest, cheapest, and least troublesome way for the federal government to tax the people? Is it a 15%, “flat tax,” with just one, standard deduction? Nope. This is way simpler and fairer than that.

The federal government should just print money (or create it electronically in government bank accounts) to pay for everything it does. That’s it!

No one can avoid this tax. No one can cheat. Everyone indirectly pays it. Foreign companies that do business with the U.S. will be paying it. Even people in secret, illegal businesses will be paying it. The rich in-effect will pay more, just because they have more money. Extremely poor people will pay virtually nothing. No enforcement scheme is necessary. No IRS, no tax courts, no property forfeitures/auctions, no dehumanizing incarcerations. All that sick, abusive shit — with psychological impact equivalent to millions per affected individual (how much would you want to be paid to stay even one year in prison?) — just goes away. No need for it.

Q: Hasn’t printing money been tried in various nations, and didn’t it always cause runaway super-inflation, that wrecked the economy?

A: I don’t think so. I think if you examine the cases where that happened, what you’ll actually find is that they were printing money, to pay for new government spending, on top of their existing federal tax system. What I’m proposing here is to replace that system with the printing of new money.

Q: But the creation of new money has got to cause inflation, doesn’t it?

A: Other things being equal, sure. That’s the tax. But it doesn’t have to be any economically harder to bear than the taxes we’re paying now.

Q: Won’t this be a license for the federal government to go crazy with spending, since they just create the cash to spend whatever amount they want, and wouldn’t that wreck the e­con­o­my?

A: Indeed it would. But we already have that today: we call it “deficit spending.” The tax collection system doesn’t do a damn thing to stop it. Our federal government already must voluntarily control how much it spends (and on what), or else wreck the economy (with consequent voting-booth backlash). The necessity of our government to refrain from destructive spending will remain, yes. This new system will not alleviate that necessity.

Q: Does this new system benefit the poor, like the current (progressive) tax system does?

A: For the sake of the argument, let’s say that the current, “progressive,” tax system really does benefit the poor. Alright. For one thing, this new system already taxes persons less, the less money they have. But if that’s not sufficient — if you consider it equivalent to a “flat” (fixed-percentage) tax, and therefore not progressive enough — then OK: cut every household an annual check for say, $5,000. That would be only a sixth of the current budget, and would make a big difference to the poor, but almost no difference to the rich. And the government wouldn’t need to figure out anyone’s income (prosecute liars, etc.) — just pay everyone $5K, without exception. If that sounds crazy, keep in mind that it couldn’t be any more economically disruptive than the progressive tax scale we have now, and who thinks that’s crazy, other than a few libertarian purists? If it puts us all at ease to assist the poor this way, then we should do it. (Also keep in mind that the poor would still benefit from whatever government programs are being paid for with the rest of the budget, just as they do now.)

Q: If it all somehow comes out about the same, why do it?

It’s not all the same:

  • No big bucks spent by the government to find and prosecute cheaters.

  • No traumatic punishment of caught cheaters. No intimidation of the taxpaying public by the threat of such punishment.

  • No successful cheaters (those who take the risk and don’t get caught). No cheaters at all! Not even hidden, illicit businesses will be able to avoid this tax.

  • No IRS. (Its budget alone is about $90 per U.S. house­hold.)

  • No annual hassle/expense of filing federal taxes.

  • No worrying that you might be underpaying, and so might suddenly owe big bucks that you can’t pay, plus interest, penalties, and worse.

  • No worrying that you might be overpaying like a chump, getting no interest on the overpayment (the IRS just pockets it), and maybe not even getting all the overpayment back, if you don’t understand the tax code well enough to know you should be asking for it, much less exactly how and exactly how much.

  • No more using the tax code to manipulate individuals’ personal lifestyle choices. If the federal government wants people to do something, it can just pass a law telling them to do it. If the government wants to give a special break to some deserving group (e.g. veterans), it can just cut them a check.

I’m betting this list could be considerably longer. Our tax system has been a steadily snarling mess for a very long time. Something dead-simple is long overdue.

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Hear, hear

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