FAIR NOTICE: Until we get our chat rooms, letters and essay sites going, we will be posting, in no particular order, articles and stories from various sources on solutions to the problems of taxation. In the meanwhile you can e-mail your thoughts to us and, God willing and the creek don't rise, we will do our best to post them in connection with the article you want to comment on.
Election year 2006 is well under way and we are again hearing the same old bullshit the politicians have been piling on us for decades. In this column you will read the hows, whys and wherefors of the game the politicians of both major parties have been playing, saying one thing in their campaign speeches and doing another just as soon as the election is over. In the area of taxation this scam is particularly acute as no one wants to pay taxes even under the best of conditions, but to be Rooked, Raped, Robbed, and Ridiculed by these Rascals is just too much to endure.
But facts are facts, and as you will see, the data is there. And the bottom line is that despite all the talk and promises, taxes have gotten higher and higher for people who work for a living and gotten lower and lower for those who live off their speculations and accumulated wealth invested in tax free, and guaranteed against inflation, government bonds. And both the Democrat and Republican parties have been playing this game for decades--just about the only thing these rascals have cooperated on, and for the same reason: payola. They reduce the taxes on the rich and then borrow money from the rich to run the government--and pass the burden onto the working people.
How do they get away with this highway robbery? Because they only need our votes every two, four, or six years, and get them by enormously expensive media campaigns, paid for by their wealthy constituents who directly and through their lawyers and lobbyists ply them with privileges and perks every day in the year, come rain, come shine.
AND THEY ALL DO IT,
EVEN IF ONLY A FEW GET CAUGHT.
AND WE LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT!
But why is Tax Reform so high on our list of priorities?
Well, we have listed some twelve problems of national, even global, urgency -- and there are a lot more -- and there is hardly one of them that can be solved without the expenditure of massive sums of money by our national government. Which is why they never get solved: people are fed up with taxes, so the politicians turn to borrowing. And the game goes on.
How long, oh Lord, how long must we endure this annual pillaging of our labors? How long must this wasteful, unfair, and incredibly flawed income tax system be laid upon our backs?
Not much longer, if we all get together, capture the attention of our politicians, and support the following program.
THE AUTOMATED PAYMENT
This is the simplest, least burdensome, and most productive tax reform proposal you've ever heard of. (See APTTax.com, proposed by University of Wisconsin economist Edgar L. Feige.) When fully in place, the APTTax will completely replace the Federal income tax.
I call this a three-fer solution because while the APTTax is introduced in stages, starting with the stock markets where the collection mechanism is already in place, the surpluses generated will be lock-boxed and applied to paying back the $3.7 trillion the politicians looted from our Security Fund. That done, the income from the APTTax will be applied to reducing the National Debt, which is now over $8 trillion. Which will free more revenues for useful purposes as the cost of "servicing" this debt, i.e., paying interest, is reduced.
This teeny weeny little tax of, say, .25% (one penny for ever four dollars) will be collected automatically by computer from every financial transaction of every nature whatsoever.
Like little drops of rain -- pennies from heaven -- this stream of revenue will turn into a mighty river that will make all other forms of taxation unnecessary. What you earn at the end of the day will be what you take home. It will be yours to spend or save, invest or gamble, as you like. It's your money. You worked for it. End of story.
If the politicians can't do their job on that stream of revenue, then they are brain dead; to hell with them. They can get out of politics and work for a living -- for a change. We'll find better men and women to represent us.
This is not a tax on people or corporations, which the Democrats like because, so they used to think, it allows them so soak the rich. Which didn't happen because the rich fought back and seized power by buying the politicians. Nor is it a tax on consumer goods, which the Republicans like., because it exempts from taxation all the money games they like to play: stock market and over- the-counter trades, casino and internet gambling, arbitraging, money laundering, commodities speculations, money lending -- you name it -- none of which is taxed today even though they are sales transactions in every sense of the term.
Rather the APTTax is a tax upon the flow of money as it circulates through the economy. Just like giving blood for the blood bank, only in much smaller drops.
Oh, the big money boys will cry their eyes out making believe they will be hurt. But that ain't so because the percentage taken by the APTTax in any given instance is far too small, just a fraction of a stock broker's commission for example.
But just the same, the lobbyists and the lawyers, the tax accountants and the "think tank" propagandists will complain and produce an endless litany of learned "studies" and "reasons" why it can't work.
Don't believe a word of it. They have vested interests in your money; the present system made them rich; they love it like a baby loves his mother. And don't feel sorry for them because they will be out of business; they are smart people and will find other ways to make money or retire on their wealth. I never heard of a poor lobbyist yet. Have you?
The APTTax doesn't tax people or corporations, and it doesn't exempt the rich and powerful from taxation either -- if they don't want to spend or invest or gamble their money, they can keep every nickel. But of course that isn't going to happen because what's the point in being rich if you can't spend it?
The APTTax just takes a small percentage out of every financial transaction whatsoever, the same for everyone -- perfect equality. And it does it all by computer, just like the SEC for the past half century has financed its stock market oversight activities.
When the economists get through with their calculations, the exact percentage will depend upon (a) the government's need for money and (b) the effect of the tax on the economy. But, for starters, .25% on each side of a transaction will work out fine and will pay off a lot of debt. Save Social Security even.
In the last analysis, the government's need for money is your responsibility. You gotta stop electing irresponsible big spenders and you gotta keep a sharp eye on them no matter who you elect. Remember our motto: In God We Trust. All others cash.
The second limit on the amount of the APTTax is practicality. Because if the tax is too high, particular economic activities may become prohibitively expensive -- which is fine for such bad practices international currency arbitraging, but otherwise can be counter-productive if it discourages legitimate economic activity.
So the upper limits of this tax --unlike the income tax -- don't depend upon the folly of politicians. If the tax is too high, the market will give the answer: the activity will simply stop. So the message to the politicians is: You don't want to kill the cow -- gotta keep old Bossie happy if you want her to keep giving milk.
As matters now stand with our feckless representatives, any real tax reform will be resisted by the financial elites and powerful business interests who are quite content with the present system. Sure, it costs them lots of money to pay off all those lobbyists and congressmen, and to maintain the propaganda mills which they call "think tanks." But it pays off!
It took them many years to set up the present income tax system, and to fend off the few elected representatives who protested their depredations, such as Democrat Representative Henry Gonzales of Texas, and, somewhat belatedly, Democrat Senator Daniel Moynihan of New York. Democrat Representative Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois gave the big money boys trouble for awhile, but he ended up in jail. Which makes you wonder if it pays to tangle with the financial elites, the real power behind the D.C. throne.
Do any of you remember the "good old days" when the politicians from President on down increased the Social Security tax even as they were cutting the taxes on the rich and famous? Which created the huge surpluses that used to be in the Social Security Fund. Which the same sticky-fingered politicians spent and replaced with government IOUs. Which George Bush now wants to get rid of altogether by "reforming" Social Security, by knocking it in the head.
Do you remember the Savings and Loan debacle which ended up making a mint for the commercial banks and the money lenders at large? The same people who have now squeezed every bit of equity out of the American Dream -- our own little home, the hedge against old age? Which our local tax collectors are again squeezing for whatever juice remains. Or the good old days under Jimmy Carter when the lid went off of interest rates and we had double digit inflation? The cost of living went sky high even if wages didn't.
But you probably don't remember when there generally was a 10% cap on interest rates -- usury, you know. Frowned upon by good Christians, at least in the Middle Ages. You know, maybe Jesus had it right when he drove the money lenders out of the Temple. But of course, it got him killed in the end.
Whatever, remember this: If you want to get rid of the Income Tax, you have to keep each and every politician in your eye because they are a pack of double-dealing, double-talking scallywags, owned body and soul by the big money boys who really run this country.