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Saturday, March 28, 2009

If We Were to Ever Start from Scratch, Taxes Ought to Be ...

I've been doing some work on my federal taxes here. Is it just me or do taxes keep getting more and more complicated and incomprehensible every year?

My thoughts turned to why there is such a thick morass of tax rules and regulations. I'm not talking about the need for taxing us to do some things that the state and federal governments must do. But how in the world it got to be the maze of legalese that it is.

It is of course an accumulation of decades worth of politicking.

The flip side is that politicians love to also talk about simplifying the tax system, though that seems to be an impossible dream when it comes down to it.

Here's a dream sequence for you ...

Something massive happens to the USA. The people come out of it demanding realistically minimalist, manageable, accountable government. They want to be able to afford the services they are provided and they want it to be based on fairness--not on welfare-ism or socialism or cronyism, etc. Everyone is responsible and pulls their own weight.

I know, I know, but remember--this is a dream.

So what IS the most fair basis for taxing a population? I believe a majority of people would say a straight income tax--a given percentage based on actual income. But how fair is that really? You still have some people working harder than others to make more income and thus pay more taxes (with the less motivated or unaccomplished piggybacking on the achievements of those who are already leading the way in terms of being employers, technological innovators, etc.) .

OK--yes, that WOULD be huge improvement over what we have now. But what if instead, there was a straight tax levied against a household based solely on the number of people in that household? Each person responsible for their own exact share of their ownership of their country.

Radical? Brutal? Scary? Simplistic?

I don't know. It seems to me that if the tax laws were that simple and straightforward--citizens across the board, each liable for one consistent fraction of the governmental budget, would be far more likely to willingly do their part to ensure the government is responsible in how it manages its tasks. Also, those who choose to work hard would not be penalized for doing so, to get ahead. In fact, they would be rewarded more directly than they are now under the current system.

And those who choose to sandbag would quickly be found lacking and perhaps they would need to be finding a new homeland better suited to their limitations.

Sure, that would be hard on some, but I think simple can be better; and in an arrangement like that, families would be taking care of their own, working hard together to get ahead, not scheming to beat the system, since headcounts would be pretty easy to verify.

(Mmmm ... let me doze a bit longer before my wakeup call, OK?)
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