I used to believe there could be little tolerance for those who complain about having to pay taxes. After all, how else is this great country supposed to fund itself? I also used to believe, there could be even less tolerance for those who don’t pay taxes at all. However, it has come to my attention that the taxation system in this country is so flawed that many people have a right to be upset – and therefore, the right to complain. Ironically, so far the status quo has been that the citizens who complain the loudest, fight the hardest, and pay the least are the citizens who have the most. The taxation system in the United States of America has become so complex that its efficacy is sorely waning. It’s like the U.S. government is robbing the poor to further feed the rich. What we need is to start taxing the rich to feed the poor – and hopefully restore the middle class.
There is no question that a tax is necessary to support the infrastructure of this great and enormous nation. Unfortunately the massive bureaucracy that has become the infrastructure of this country has somehow found it wise to shoot itself in the foot. The government is taxing more and more the citizens who can’t afford it. All the while, that same government is reducing the patriotic-fiscal-responsibility (tax) of those who have so much. In fact, they have so much surplus money they can squander countless dollars – by way of attorneys and lobbyists – in order to find ways to pay even less. Something is very wrong with this scenario.
There was a once great idea for a progressive tax. A progressive tax means that your rate of taxation (the percentage at which you are taxed) goes up as your disposable income goes up. For instance: if you make $10,000 a year, you are taxed 5%; if you make $100,000 a year, you are taxed 10%; and if you make $1,000,000 a year, you are taxed 15%. Personally, I think this is a brilliant way to tax a population. And, believe it or not, this is the current American tax system (using different values, of course). However, that once great idea has been perverted to such a degree, that the wealthy portion of this nation pays very little taxes to support the aforementioned infrastructure. The wealthy have been given so many tax shelters, credits, write-offs, exemptions, exclusions, deductions, and countless other loopholes, that the government has been forced to consistently raise the taxes of the middle and lower class peoples. They do this to compensate for the great financial losses suffered by letting the wealthy off the hook.
The United States of America is a geographically large country home to some three hundred million people. Of those many millions 1% are unfathomably wealthy; 9% are much wealthier beyond their needs; 78% are making it by – some comfortably, some not; and, according to the 2005 census, just over 12% are stricken with poverty. One has to ask themselves how can it be that the people at the top – of political power, that is – decided one day that the best way to finance their extremely expensive spending habits was to suck the taxes from the lower income of the nation? The answer to that question is stemmed from many roots, some of which being political corruption, a larger target, and a lack of resistance from the little guy. But the fact of the matter remains, this is wrong.
The government, admitting it wants more money and avidly trying to get it from somewhere – realizing you can’t get blood from a turnip – has implemented an alternative tax which, according to the New York Times, has failed to accomplish the goal of taxing the wealthy. This was a tax designed to get money from the rich; however, of those that were forced to pay it only 3% were millionaires. The other 97% make less than $500,000 a year. Of that 97%, more than a quarter of them make between $75,000 and $200,000 a year. On average, those forced to pay this alternative tax were charged nearly an extra $5,000 on top of their regular taxes. Now that’s not to say those people won’t still have enough to live throughout the year – because they will – but what it does say is that a tax specifically designed to target millionaires was written with enough loopholes to let the richest out of its net and allowed it to ensnare those that were never meant to pay it. Again, that’s not right. It’s that perversion of the system.
In the book, “Government in America: People, Politics, and policy”, authors Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry write, “Jimmy Carter, while campaigning for the presidency, called the American tax system a national disgrace’ because of its special treatment of favored tax payers. Business people, he complained, could deduct costly three-martini lunches’ as business expenses, whereas ordinary workers, carrying coffee in a thermos and a sandwich to work, could not write off their lunch expenses.” It makes me sad to see that people who are among our highest ranking officials recognize the problem but still fail to do anything to rectify the situation. It also says in this book that even though tax loopholes may offend most Americans sense of fair play, it concerns the treasury department very little because most loopholes only apply to a small number of people. I believe this to be yet another slap in the face, showing us even more cause for concern in the process of taxation.
There needs to be a substantial change in the tax system. Something that is without prejudice. Something that is completely impartial to the concerns of the wealthy. I mean let’s face it, if there’s one thing we don’t need to be coddling the wealthy about, it’s money. I believe there needs to be a flat rate tax. A flat rate tax – whatever the number – would ensure fairness. No more loopholes; no more exceptions for this or that; no more tax shelters, and certainly no more generous breaks for corporations. Corporations will be subject to the same as Joe America; after all, they make money here they ought to pay taxes as well. The one exception in the plan I would propose would be that if you make less then $75,000 a year there would still be a few of the simpler tax credits: children, school, medical, but that’s it. It’s as simple as that. This would mean a huge redistribution of were the federal budget draws its funding. This would mean that the billions of dollars the corporations and the rich would now be paying could be removed from the burden of the middle and lower class.
The wealthy would argue that they’d be supporting more of the nation’s fiscal needs by having to pay a greater monetary amount. And, that argument would be true. But I think the simplest response to a statement such as that would be, since they enjoy more of the perks and benefits this nation has to offer they shouldn’t mind contributing more to its operation – if not just to ensure the wellbeing of those who either create, supply, produce, transport, sell, or buy that which makes them wealthy and allows them privilege, then out of sheer patriotism. Once again, it’s as simple as that. For that matter, one could even point out that a flat rate tax would be better for the wealthy than if we were to iron all the wrinkles out of the progressive tax system and restore it to its original design.
A flat rate tax is not a new idea, but a tax plan such as the flat rate plan I’ve suggested, with zero loopholes, would do away with the flawed nature of the American tax system. It would also appease the larger body of American citizens. Not only that, but a plan of this nature would deliver enormous amounts of money into the government’s coffers. So much so, they may not even know what to do with it all. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were the case?