This opinion piece originally appeared at Reuters.com.
I rarely find myself in complete agreement with articles or commentary from columnists. But in this case, I absolutely agree 100%. The problem we have with taxes right now, at least the main problem, is that the tax laws are too complex. The tax code is too complex and too long. It’s main function is to provide work for tax lawyers and CPAs, not to mention economists and others, who add to the cost of the product, but don’t produce anything except more legislative exemptions, companies that pay little or no taxes, the rich who pay rates less than working people, and essentially make the whole system mind-boggling and unfair. In the end, they reduce tax income and rarely accomplish the intent, if it was a good intent, of the lawmakers — many of whom are in the pockets of these powerful, rich individuals or corporations. I’m all for reducign the corporate tax rate to a rate on par with what the majority of the world’s country’s impose, so that our companies and corporations may operate on a level playing field and they are incented to keep profits overseas or move jobs to other countries. But even more important is the absolute need for a simplified tax code. It would reduce the cost of goods right up frontf without taking away revenue from the government by reducing the number of tax lawyers, CPAs, accountants, economists, IRS agents, and burdens on the court system. All those things have to be paid for. And the exemptions they find and get through just reduce revenue and produce no tangible benefit. They are just overhead costs that add to the cost of goods and services. The way to add and increase the number of good paying jobs in America is to produce superior products, improve the efficiency of the manufacturing process, better train highly skilled workers, eliminate the unnecessary (but keep the needed) regulations. A simplified tax code alone, without all the exemptions, credits, incentives, and definitions so complex that not even the courts and the tax lawyers fully understand them, would automatically help the country and jobs. Our tax code is is a monstrous 70,320 pages thick, a bonanza of loopholes for rich individuals and corporations to find ways to avoid taxes. And that’s just legal ways. 90. The United States has the largest amount of tax evasion measured in dollars – $337.3 billion a year, of any country in the world. Get ric of all exemptions. Stop trying to incent this behavior or that. Stop trying to use the tax code to fix other problems that ought to be addressed directly. It’s Congress’ most coveted power because it allows them to dicker with and manipulate so many things in our society, often sneaking in provisions that go unnoticed and are not understood even by the legislators who put them in (often at the behest of lobbyists). Reduce individual tax rates to about 4 categories and get rid of all exemptions and credits. If you wnat to have more kids, or build green products, or produce energy through oil, gas, or solar panels, then do it. The same is true of coporations and companies. No exemptions or credits. Make it straight forward and clear and simple. We don’t need to incent these things, because every incentive ends up costing the tax payers. money and increases the tax burdens on all.
In view of events over the last three years I think the obvious solution is to eliminate the IRS. Why do we need taxes and the complicated laws and codes anyway? It appears to me that all the president has been doing is to keep ordering more money to be printed. That’s all he has been doing anyway and if you have the power to print the money, you don’t need mine. The largest National debt in history and he thinks the economy is fine. The president and the rest of the legislators should have to live on what the rest of the population lives on and have to pay their own transportation expenses and food and utilities. Maybe that would open their eyes.
How about mandatory wage and price freezes until things stabilize. No one likes it but it has worked in the past. Do these people ever read history?
I live in a community that had the brilliant idea that “tax abatements” would lure new businesses in. It surely did. As soon as the abatements ran out so did they, to another community that offered them. All we ended up with was vacant buildings and all the people they hired went back home to where they came from.
Let’s go back to what our Founding Fathers set up from the start. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights as written. These were brilliant men with centuries of foresight. Re-establish AMERICA. Re-establish a Government of the people, by the people and FOR THE PEOPLE. The rest will all fall into place and work if we let it.
Let Free Enterprise and competition determine how business runs, not legislators.
I fear that all legislators, from the president on down, have done is to dig a hole so cavernous, so abysmal that this Nation is going to be consumed by it, never to be seen again. I weep for America. It’s greatness, beauty, strength and image are being devoured by a select few that could not care less as long as their self serving interests are met. These legislators must be reminded they were elected to serve. Serve us, not themselves.
Common Sense, you are right, there is entirely too many tax exceptions and exemptions already. And every exemption, exception, loophole, etc. just giver Congress something more to dither and argue about. Yes, we need to bring back jobs to America, all kinds of jobs, not just manufacturing jobs. So lets get on with revising the corporate tax rate and see if we can bring back jobs to America instead of exporting jobs. The only place where we do not have a export deficit is in jobs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a Congressional committee) to see that we need to get the corporate tax rate settled and start rebuilding American business, whether they be manufacturing, technology, customer service (exported to India, China, Vietnam or wherever).