I'm Just Sayin': Taxes are a love/hate relationship - fourth in a seriesThis is the fourth column in a series about the “three-legged stool of government.” This column is part of the government leg of that stool and is a continuation of the previous column.
By: DuWayne Paul, Alexandria Echo Press
This is the fourth column in a series about the “three-legged stool of government.” This column is part of the government leg of that stool and is a continuation of the previous column.
It continues to astound me how many politicians and U.S. citizens feel the government should get more tax revenue – just not from them. Why do we typically want others to pay for benefits we receive? I guess it is part of the human condition called greed. In thinking of the Founding Fathers of our country and how they and others since them have sacrificed, I still believe in my heart that the American Spirit can prevail and the common good can result.
As noted in a previous column, there is no more contentious debate today than how much people pay in income taxes – especially the rich. You’ve heard the mantras – “tax the rich,” “take more from the 1 percent.” Well, just how are we going to do that? Put them in jail if they don’t cough up more money? Why? They are paying the legal amount they are obligated to pay. If the people who protest about the rich want to put someone in jail, how about those who pass the laws that create the U.S. tax code? The tax code is what creates the problem. The problem stems from too many decades of politicians using the tax code to benefit certain businesses, industries, ideologies and constituents. Today, we have an income tax code that essentially “picks winners and losers” when it comes to tax breaks and tax credits that are used to decrease taxable income. How else can you explain a General Electric that pays no taxes at all but in the meantime benefits from federal programs promoting their businesses? You may ask how does that happen? One simple answer – lobbyists and political influence.
Virtually every large business, organization, and special interest in this country has lobbyists in Washington, DC. Their sole job is to convince politicians of the need for special legislation or special tax breaks for the people who are paying them to lobby for their interests. That is the main reason we have a U.S. tax code that is more than 70,000 pages long. New additions and revisions are continually added to “pick the winners and losers.”
And now for the “elephant in the room.” The truth of the matter is that people who we call “the rich” have so much money that they can hire tax accountants and tax attorneys to avoid taxes (think GE). Then, since they pay a smaller percentage, the tax burden falls on the rest of us to pay the bills our legislators create. Ugh! It makes blood shoot out of my eyes!
When I look at this system and what is has become, I ask myself, “How can it be corrected? Is it too big a monster to deal with?” We should start all over and craft something that would be more in line with the Founding Fathers and the constitutional intent of taxation. That would be a system that is the same for all. To my thinking, a flat tax with deductions only for mortgage interest (one mortgage), health care, and education. Everyone pays the same rate. Those who earn more, pay more, but it is the same rate. Wow – would that create some hootin’ and hollerin’ from the lobbyists and tax preparation industries! Then they would be in the unemployment line.
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“When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.” – Plato
Next up – government budgets and debt. Until then – I’m just sayin’.
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