By Augusta Chronicle (GA) April 15, 2014
Today is Tax Day, the deadline for Americans to file and send their federal income tax forms. For all the headaches it causes, it might as well be called National Aspirin Day, too.
It all could be so much simpler and fairer.
Imagine this scenario:
Imagine that America always has had a national sales tax. The amount of your paycheck is the money you actually take home, with no deductions. To offset your sales-tax spending, the government sends you a monthly “prebate” check. Everybody gets that check, but it’s geared to offer relief to lower-income families.
Oh, and in this scenario, the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t exist.
Now imagine that a politician comes forward with a new approach to paying and collecting taxes. Instead of paying just one tax, this plan calls for paying several. There will be taxes on Social Security, Medicare, capital gains, estates of the deceased and, of course, personal income. And that’s just for openers.
That all sounds like a lot of work. It is, this politician says — which is why we need to grow the federal government to make this new system operate. To support this new taxation system, America will have to hire almost 90,000 employees and give them a budget of more than $11 billion. It also will require thousands of pages of laws and rules to anticipate and accommodate every conceivable scenario for levying taxes.
And since our nation is changing every day, the rule book for this new tax agency will keep growing bigger each year, making it more difficult to keep track of all the rules.
Former radio show host Neal Boortz once posed a similar version of this scenario to listeners, then basically asked: Why on Earth would anyone choose the bigger, more complicated tax system?
Would it shock you if we told you that the U.S. Internal Revenue Code was 14,000 pages long? Well, here’s the real shocking part — we say “was” because that figure actually is from 1954. The most recent page count, by one estimate, is a sprawling 73,954 pages — cluttered with loopholes, adjustments, exclusions, exemptions and miscellaneous bureaucratic chicanery.
The national sales tax idea has been floated for a number of years as the Fair Tax. It’s worth taking a look at. But even a flat tax would be preferable to the red-tape nightmare Americans have to relive every April 15.
Comment: Just a few minutes ago there was a discussion concerning who was paying the Taxes. Put together 100 individuals in a room, then pick 20 of them and put them in a corner. Those in the corner are paying the taxes for all the others. 20 paying for 80. Unfair? Yes! What is the definition of a host.
Integrity in Leadership