Why not a flat tax?
The U.S. tax code is gargantuan and convoluted beyond all human comprehension. According to the Tax Foundation, if you count the actual tax laws, you end up with over 2,600 pages. But if you add the IRS regulations and clarifications, you get another roughly 9,000 pages. Finally, if you then add tax case law, you get 70,000 more pages.
Considering such vast complexity, it doesn't really matter what basic tax rates are. There is a widespread and legitimate feeling that people who can afford shrewd attorneys will always find loopholes, and therefore nothing much will change. This alone does not engender among the populace any sense that our tax code is just and equitable.
And now the Biden administration wants to require all banks to report financial information to the IRS on any customer whose total account inflow and/or outflow exceeds $600 in a year. Perhaps a few childhood lemonade stands would be exempt from such invasive IRS snooping, but that's about all.
Meanwhile, Lil' Sandy wants to "Tax the Rich," as long as it doesn't impact her and her friends and their ability to attend $35,000 galas wearing gowns created by a rich designer who is herself a tax delinquent. You just can't make this stuff up!
And, oddly enough, the truly, breathtakingly rich tend to support and vote for such liberals. They know there will be sufficient loopholes created such that their wallets won't be damaged much at all. It's empty virtue-signaling on their part and nothing else.
Well, it seems to me there's a ready solution to the whole mess — to the issues of both citizen distrust in and suspicion of the tax system, as well as constant government probing based on the assumption that we citizens are not sacrificing enough of our hard-earned money. The solution? A simple flat tax.
Under such a program, every individual simply pays "X" percent of net income, regardless of how rich or poor the individual is. This would include immigrants who earn money in our country. If you want to reduce the percentage rate for those Americans who truly live under the official poverty line, I'd be okay with that. But no one pays zero percent. Even those below the poverty line pay a couple of percent in taxes. Everyone simply must have some degree of skin in the game. No one gets to vote on candidates and government policy as a 100% recipient of government largesse.
There would be no tax credits, deductions, or shelters of any kind. In other words, there would be much less complexity. If you choose to marry or not to marry, you still pay the same "X" percent. Basically, every individual files a tax return, married or not. Spouses who have no income simply enter a zero on the income line, and they're done. If you choose to have six children, that's your free-will choice, for which you bear responsibility. So you pay the same percent as the person who has no children.
And no, I'm not naïve enough to believe that sharp businessmen won't find a way to increase their overhead and decrease their profits — at least on paper. Under a flat tax system, the IRS and its audits won't simply disappear. Tax attorneys and CPAs won't find themselves in breadlines. Well, some might have to seek actual meaningful and productive employment, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
If the Democrats really truly wanted to tax the rich, a flat tax would be the ideal approach. The rich would pay their "X" percent like everyone else, with precious little opportunity to do an end-run around taxes via slick attorneys using obscure loopholes.
I realize that a flat tax system is not perfect. No tax system is perfect. But I believe that a flat tax system is the simplest option with the most benefit. I think its time has come.
Image: Abby flat-coat.
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