Posts Tagged ‘Fair Tax’

I expect that everyone would agree that in order for a country, state, or city to function it needs money.  For millenia these entities have obtained money, and still do, via a variety of charges imposed on the people in these locales. We usually call these charges “taxes”.  Over the centuries many types of taxes have been created: income taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, estate taxes, road use taxes, automobile taxes, boat taxes, sales taxes, poll taxes, Social Security taxes, value added taxes, financial transaction taxes, capital gains taxes, and so forth. There seems to be a semi-infinite list of the different types of taxes.  Why?

Indeed. Why do we need so many types of taxes? The fact is we don’t. The reason we have all these different types of taxes is that governments generally become corrupt and one special interest group or another gains an upper hand and uses their power to shift the tax burden to another, less powerful group of people. After a few centuries of this process we are left we a rat’s nest of taxes that manages to tax the some dollars over and over again, while other dollars never get taxed at all. There has never been a better demonstration of the power of special interests and oligarchs.

The solution is a single tax that is fair for all people and raises sufficient money so that the country, state, or city can perform its functions appropriately. The answer is not the so-called “Fair Tax” – a deliberate and viciously deceptive misnomer if there ever was one. That miserable concept is in fact one of the most unfair tax concepts ever created. It is simply another example of how the wealthy oligarchs of this country try to impose their merciless will upon the average person. The “Fair Tax” is nothing more than a national sales tax. The problem with this is that it taxes everything you buy: bread, milk, clothing, newspapers, gasoline, medical care, school supplies – everything you need to live – at the same rate as it taxes the playthings of the extraordinarily wealthy –  things like 10 carat diamonds, 100 foot yachts, thirty room mansions, and so forth. So what’s wrong with that? The problem is that even the fabulously wealthy don’t buy a lot of those items so these things don’t produce a lot of tax revenue.  Most of the budgetary needs of the cities and states have to be made up from the sales of bread and milk and so forth. In this way the poor and indigent, the vast numbers of people living paycheck to pay check, and the families struggling to just get by pay pretty much the same tax as the wealthiest billionaires on most days. It is, in fact, “The Unfair Tax”.

The fairest tax of all is the graduated income tax: it is a tax that taxes small incomes very lightly and massive incomes heavily. Those who can pay the most do so and those who cannot afford to pay anything don’t pay anything. Beyond being extraordinarily fair, the graduated income tax has another potential: it can, by itself, pay all the expenses of the budget of a state, city, or country. And that is a very good thing.

Consider our present situation. You have a job and maybe you make $1,000 a month. You pay $100 income tax per month. Then you take your money and you go out and by gas for you car. Suppose you buy $10 worth of gas. You only really get $9 worth of gas because the other dollar is for the gasoline tax – and really, it’s just a tax upon the money you have already paid an income tax upon! Then you go to the grocery store and buy food. Same thing. Then you buy clothes.  Same thing – you pay taxes on money that has already been taxed. Then you get your property tax bill in the mail. You’ve already paid for your house (with money that was taxed) and now you have to pay a tax again based upon how much you paid for the house. Your money that was already taxed is being taxed again – and it will be taxed again next year, and the year after, and the year after. Indefinitely.

Our entire system of commerce contains taxes upon money that has already been taxed at least once. It is the poor and middle class who suffer the most from this system because, proportionally, they have a much larger tax burden than the wealthy who have written all sorts of income tax, and other tax exemptions, for themselves into law and then pay only a small percentage of their income for the necessities of life – after all, they don’t worry about a sales tax on food because you can only eat so many hamburgers, even if you are a billionaire.

If the leadership of this country really wanted to give a boost to the economy they would scrap our present complex system of national, state, and local taxes and create a single, sole, nationally controlled graduated income tax – and then outlaw all other forms of taxation. The government would then distribute these tax dollars to various states and cities in a manner proportional to their population so they can perform their functions of government. Such a tax would be fair and useful for the common good.

But we will never do that because, despite the fact that we vote for senators and representatives, we live in an oligarchy. Even our now corrupt Supreme Court rules that wealthy, and inanimate, corporations have the same free speech rights as living people – a ruling that defies sanity but allows the wealthy owners of these corporations to drown out the voice of the individual citizen. We live in a society where lobbyists carry bags of money to our elected officials, and they, in turn, create legislation on demand – for a fee. We live in a society where the financial burden of paying for the expenses of the country is placed squarely upon the poor and the middle class while many of the most wealthy pay nothing – yes, nothing – in taxes. And our Congress likes it that way.

A single, fair, graduated income tax is all this nation needs to function. Furthermore, the lifting of all sales, excise, transaction, property and other taxes upon commerce would produce a gigantic stimulus for our economy. There is, however, only one problem with my dream of having only one truly fair tax for all.

It will never happen.

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It’s the “Fair Tax”.  Promoted by Mike Huckabee, a prominent Republican and former candidate for President, the “Fair Tax” is anything but fair.  That, of course, is the beauty of the whole idea.  It’s a classic Republican Party ploy, twisting the meaning of words, deceiving the people, and above all, always seeking to enrich the already wealthy at the expense of the middle class.  The proponents of this tax scheme (a millionaire’s dream) have their own website where they try to justify the idea claiming that this is the only tax we need. They say we can eliminate our income tax, estate tax, capital gains tax, and so forth. Basically we can get rid of all the taxes the wealthy people hate to pay.

So how does this work? We create a national sales tax – like the European Value Added Tax – and tax everything that is sold.  The theory is that when the billionaires buy their mansions and their yachts they will get socked with a massive tax while you will only pay a small tax because you are only being taxed on your pathetically small purchases of milk and eggs and such.  Sounds good, doesn’t it? It does at first until you realize that everybody eats food and the billionaire probably doesn’t eat any more pancakes than you do. However, you and the billionaire will pay the same tax on the food you eat.  Same with the tax on clothing, heat, gasoline, medical care, you name it. You will be taxed every time you turn around and so will the billionaire.  And that is what the billionaire wants.  As for the billionaire’s mansion and yacht – he already owns his mansion and yacht – there’s no tax for him there.

The wealthy man can play this game all day long and not feel a thing but you, who can hardly save a dime because you need to use everything you make just to pay your living expenses will now be taxed on every single financial transaction you make. Is that fair?  Is it fair that the fat cat millionaires will pay zero income tax? Is it fair that he will pay zero capital gains tax on all the money he makes on his stock investments?  Is it fair that the wealthy can pass on their accumulated wealth to their heirs, even it is $100 billion and pay absolutely no tax so that fortunes can stay in a particular family forever and never be taxed? What these people want is a return to feudal society where his lordship owns all the land and the money and never pays tax, except for the few things he buys in the marketplace, while you pay the entire burden of the cost of the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Social Security, and every other government department and expense based upon a nasty little tax on every single thing you ever buy.

And they, the Republicans, call this a “Fair Tax”.  And they have gullible, innocent people who are suckered into their handwaving, deceptive arguments. And one of the leaders is Mike Huckabee.  Mike Huckabee is an ordained Baptist minister.  Think about that for a minute.  A so-called Christian minister promoting a tax scheme that would cause unbearable suffering for the poor and middle class, but would greatly enrich the wealthiest people in the United States.

It isn’t a fair tax.  It is the unfairest tax you could possibly imagine.  It is a trick and a fraud that is meant to dupe the unsophisticated American voter into voting for legislation that would shift almost all the tax burden onto the lower class.  It is the “class warfare” that John McCain likes to talk about, except he only talks about “class warfare” when the wealthy have to pay their fair share by paying income tax, estate tax, and capital gains tax.

Don’t be fooled, the “Fair Tax” is a phony gimmick that would shift the vast burden of taxes to those who can least afford to pay.  As John McCain might say: it’s class warfare.

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