Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

EVERYBODY should pay taxes.

I'm sure this post is going to make me a lot of enemies, but before anyone blows a blood vessel, read what I have to say, and think about it.

Right now, about a third of all Americans DON'T pay Federal income tax. You have to pass a magic ceiling before you begin to pay, and then you pay - and pay - and pay, because all those others don't.

That's wrong. Here are a host of reasons:

  1. Everybody in our nation is supposed to share equally in the works of Congress.

    • We all use the same money.
    • We all use the same government-funded highways, rivers, canals, bridges, and so forth for transportation.
    • We all are protected by the same military from foreign agression.
    • We're all equally protected from unscrupulous business practices, unsafe working conditions, frauds, shoddy manufacturing, and all the other measures our government enact to increase our safety and security at home.
    • We all face equal protection in our legal system.

  2. We all have an equal right to vote for the candidate of our choice, and we all get one vote, regardless of how much we depend upon, or support, our government.

    • The rich don't get extra votes.
    • The poor aren't restricted from voting.
    • Whether we vote or not doesn't change how we're effected by the laws that are passed.

  3. The very right to earn a income is guaranteed by our government. There are no special privileges just for those that pay taxes, or have a certain level of education, or any other limits IMPOSED BY GOVERNMENT. Businesses are pretty well free to hire the best-qualified candidate, and pay them either what the business thinks they're worth, or the minimum demanded by our government "in order to make things fair".
  4. There are no special privileges given to people just for paying taxes. Everything our government does is supposed to affect each and every one of us equally. There are no privileged classes, no legal "underclass", no "targeted minority group" that's legally treated differently, either by exclusion or inclusion.

We have one government, and it's for everyone living legally within the boundaries of our country and its territories. Period. Full stop.

There's a scientifically supported principle that shows that a person's interest in something is equal to how much it costs them personally. If "government" is "free", the only reason to pay any attention to it is to see how much MORE "free" stuff we can get from it. After all, if you're not paying taxes, you're not paying for any of this, right?

Unfortunately, no, that's NOT right. All it does is move the costs from one pocket to another, and in the process, hide a lot of them from sight. Once that begins to happen, all that "equality" rhetoric becomes just that - rhetoric - with little behind it.

We need to change that. We need to get everyone DEEPLY involved in government. The only way to do that is to make them pay for it.

There have been hundreds of ideas floated about "flat taxes" and a "national sales tax", and all other kinds of tax schemes, but EVERY SINGLE ONE of them makes provisions for some excluded class, or some "breaks" that excuse a portion of our population for paying for our government. That's been one of the major activities that have led to our current morass of tax codes, "endowments", "set-asides", and all the other things that make our tax code not only overly-complicated, but also totally unequal, and thus unconstitutional.

Here's my idea. Think about it. Think about it HARD. Compare it with what's going on today, and understand the very fundamental differences I propose:

Everybody pays taxes on income, and ONLY on income. It doesn't matter where that income comes from, if it's income, you pay taxes on it.

Because the amount of income you have affects how much any tax you pay limits what you have left to meet other expenses, a graduated tax is essential to be fair to all.

Income levels should be broken into ten divisions, based here on a strictly arbitrary scale, with an associated tax bill and other data based on the MAXIMUM income in that range:

IncomeTax %Tax-Amt($)After-tax income
$1,250,001 - up10.00$125,000$1,125,001

The bottom line, of course, shows the MINIMUM income tax, since there's no maximum figure. If a person were to make, say, $2,764,521, their taxes would be 10% of that, or $276,452, still leaving them amost $2.5 million in after-tax income. The rich pay a subsequently higher percentage of their income, but still have far more after-tax income to spend. The poor pay very little in taxes, but a subsequently larger percentage of what it costs them to live. This could be offset by non-income subsidies, such as reduced-cost or no-cost subsidies for medical care, education, and so forth. With all that, they STILL have a vested interest - in the form of taxes paid - to ensure that government works as efficienty as possible, so their tax dollars are spent wisely.

The rich pay more, but let's face it - the richer you are, the more everything in life is accessible to you. A $10 movie ticket is more of a luxury for someone making $25,000 a year than a $90 opera ticket is for someone making $80,000 a year. Government has to expend more money to provide for the needs of the rich than it does for the poor, simply because the rich has more to protect, and therefore, more to lose should government fail.

There are two other aspects of my tax plan, both of which will have adherents and opponents:

  1. Businesses will be taxed at either a 2% flat rate or a 5% flat rate, depending on gross income: those making more than $250 million a year in gross income (sales, royalties, etc. - REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY WERE ACQUIRED) will pay 5% of their gross income in taxes. Busineses making less than $250 million in gross income would pay the 2% rate.
  2. There will be NO "allowable deductions" for personal income, and only direct costs for business income. PERIOD.

I'm not an economist. I also have a problem with numbers - I can do higher math, but adding and subtracting give me more problems than reading does for dyslexics. I'd like to see some feedback from a certified mathematician as to how these numbers would impact our treasury. Of course, if the government ONLY spent money on what it's actually SUPPOSED to, we could probably cut the income tax figures by 70%.


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