The government is going to screw you no matter what, so they may as well never get to learn your income. Dealing with severe levies for the privilege of getting compensated for doing your thing is the price we pay to do things together by force that nobody wants or needs.
But how about shifting the burden away from the source and to the point of purchase? Replacing the capricious, soul-killing income tax with a national sales tax would be the fairest and flattest means to give the feds their minimal cut. Former presidential candidate and one-time Burger King Herman Cain’s tax plan was a good start, although he’d probably make even weirder videos if he took the idea further.
All we’d have to figure is how little to take. Paul Ryan can figure out what low percentage would work best after consulting with the spirit of Jack Kemp through the Ouija board stored under the caviar crates in the sub-lair of the Republican headquarters on Mount Doom. The percentage’s particular lowness is a detail found within the big picture.
Being taxed only for buying things would be far preferable to the present confounding one that bestows special treatment for one’s field, relationship status, and relative lack of financial success. Even better, earners would finally be allowed to take home every dollar made; the only time the government would get a cut would when people added to their personal inventory of services and dry goods.
Everyone would pay a piece if consumption was taxed instead of income, investment, or savings, which would lead to blessedly uniform bitching. You’d get socked the same percentage when you bought sturgeon or White Castle sliders.
Additionally, there would be fewer dirty tricks employed on what is now tax day, plus all the others. No longer having to sulk through April 15 would merely serve as an additional benefit. Collecting a percentage of purchases would be the hardest tax to dodge. Taxpayers wouldn’t be able to shift around income or investments. Such a development that will please liberals who can’t stand these shifty billionaires and their supposed zero-tax-paying ways, right?
Critics might argue that people would be affected by the rate every time they make a purchase. Yeah, damn straight people would. You’d be ticked off by Uncle Sam’s take every time you made it to the register in lieu of never missing the money you earned that was withheld. The simple act of checking a bill would in turn create the greatest incentive for keeping the rate low, namely pissed-off taxpayers.
Holding the government accountable is a theoretical exercise until you notice your wallet getting thinner. People would be eager to battle useless federal spending if they saw how much of a percentage all this junk costs them on every receipt.
The guy who does your taxes can make money in a more exciting field. H&R Block is the one business that should be put out of business. With electronic tills doing all the accounting, there would be no more tax preparation outfits coming up with a different answer every single time for every person’s filing. Blame the crooked game, not the players.
As for someone who’s made a career out of running for president, Mitt Romney is best suited for endorsing a new kind of flat tax. He could emphasize the proportionally fair burden rich jerks like him would face for buying yachts and opera houses.
The counter-progress progressives who insist the Buffett Rule would increase revenue with no side effects still and will never get that human behavior responds to conditions. Taking money from the most successful among us and doing as the uproariously incompetent government wishes somehow never stimulates the economy, unless we now officially use the word in that Bizarro Obamaesque sense. By contrast, ending the income tax would spur growth in a manner that even curiously slow high-speed rail couldn’t.
Taking home the identical amount to what you make would more than compensate for the tax’s effects on commerce, not to mention how workers keeping their cash would put enough adrenaline in the economy to reduce the need for welfare. Dang, and this is just as the White House was finally de-stigmatizing food stamps.
By cutting off the spigot, government would find itself having to do more with less. It would be a change from the present system where it does little with so much. But that’s one consequence of letting people thrive enough to care for themselves.
If the feds were limited to taking what they could from a sales tax, they might have to stop buying us all this crap we don’t want or need. So, that’s fantastic. But that restriction doesn’t go far enough. We should also pester our wiser representatives until they approve of a sales tax on every purchase the government makes.
They should have to pay us back every time they buy something dumb. It’s time to sock it to this spendthrift feds who spend like they’ll never run out of your money.
The District should owe the people a percentage every time they, say, purchase a spectacularly clouded failure of a solar company that gives its executive putzes a raise. Don’t worry: this government is well-off enough that they can afford it. In fact, they fall within that diabolical one percent.
Unlike with people who actually earn money, tax policy should be used to punish the government and modify their behavior. We hate to use the tax code for social engineering. But socking it to politicians will be the only way they’d learn.
Anthony Bialy is a writer and “Red Eye” conservative in New York City. He tweets at http://twitter.com/AnthonyBialy.