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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reuters

This opinion piece originally appeared at Reuters.com.

  • BobHoey

    This question cannot be entertained without some alternative being put forward.

  • LINDABENEFIELD

    KEEP SOCIAL SECURITY TAX ONLY. GET RID OF INCOME TAX. IT IS HURTING PEOPLE WHO MAKE UNDER 12, 000 A YEARS AND HELPING THE RICH GET RICHER. THE COUNTRIES WHO DO NOT HAVE INCOME TAX ARE DOING BETTER THAN THE USA. WE ARE HAVING A HARD TIME FEEDING OUR PEOPLE. I ALSO THINK EMISSION SHOULD GO BACK TO EVERY TWO YEARS. FOOD HAS TWO DIFFERENT TAXES. WE ARE BEING TAX TO DEATH. INCOME TAX WAS ONLY SUPPOSE TO BE FOR A WHILE, NOT FOREVER.

  • Michael Shaver

    Income Tax is the only citizens tax allowed.
    Any sustenance level taxation, is a direct sustenance encumbrance, and is contrary to equality in ’pursuit of happiness’. Any such taxation imposes unfair burden at the most fundamental rights of liberty and justice.
    Flat Surtax Code solves fairness problem by providing a income tax threshold well above citizen sustenance levels. It is self graduating because it is a surtax on the fraction of income above a set mimimum level. The threshold level can be controlled by plutrality vote, and that tax rate controlled by balanced budget dictate by the federal reserve board. It can be nationally applied, by alloting revenue 1/3rd Federal, 1/3rd State and 1/3rd city-county municipality. All revenue funds allocated based on voter turnout. This would balance the USA governments in a consititutional sense.
    a) Is it even possible to idealize a fair tax system across the upper class?
    b) Why do we tax industry, it becomes a hidden ta, raising the cost of goods, particularily sensitive to lower incomes.

  • JoePlompen

    A FLAT TAX RATE ACCROSS THE BOARD WITH NO EXCEMPTIONS,IT HAS NOT BEEN TRIED SINCE TAXACTION CAME INTO BEING.THE REASON BEING THE RICH WILL HAVE TO PAY THERE SHARE,THE MIDDLE CLASS MIGHT SURVIVE,AND LOWER INCOME MIGHT HAVE A CHANCE TO MAKE ENDS MEET WITH OUT HAVING TO WORK 20 HOURS A DAY.TAKE YOUR LOBYIST OF THE WASHINGTON STEPS,HAVE CONGRESS AND THE SENATE SERVE THE SAME TIME IN OFFICE AS THE PRESIDENT.THIS ALSO HAS NOT BEEN DONE,LET US RETURN TO A WORLD LEADING NATION,YES!!!!

  • JoePlompen

    DOES IT NOT SEEM STRANGE THAT WE Have A CONGRESS AND A SENATE FILLED WITH MILLIONARES,WICH REST ASSURED THEY WHERE NOT WHEN THEY MOVED INTO OFFICE.THANK GOD FOR THE MULTEBLE LOBYIST THAT KEEP FILLING THERE POCKETS

  • AliceWM

    Why do we tax industry and corporations? I answer a question with a question. Why do they have more rights and more political influence than humans? Hmmm. . . Maybe the wealthy (corporates) do get away with not paying taxes and social security. It’s easier than ever in a global economy. We as middle and lower class (the 99%) assume their costs for doing business anyway. Why shouldn’t some of those $M and $B go towards taking care of health, education and well being of US?

  • gpm25

    We can theorize all we want about tax codes, flat tax, graduated tax, national sales tax, etc. The difficulty: there will always be interest groups lobbying for their own interests and seeking special favors. AND, there will always be elected officials more than delighted to oblige. I have often thought that we spend too much time developing new “exceptions” with various credits and this becomes a shell game of sorts–out of this pocket and into that. Eventually no one knows whose pocket or what or where other than feeling it is always coming out of their own pocket.

    What would happen if…

    Let me speculate a moment for the sake of BEGINNING to unravel this very complicated issue:
    Let’s start with three parameters: 1) Flat tax on income (including ALL income on Capital gains, regular, foreign or domestic, corporate and business income, etc.); 2) National sales tax specifically geared to addressing a universal health care system (EVERYBODY contributes, everybody benefits); 3) Some modest exceptions to stimulate things such as home ownership, contributions to charitable causes, etc. determined right up front; and for protection: a super majority to prevent any erosion by those who have the means to lobby for future exceptions. Simultaneously develop a specific threshold that accounts for those living at or below an established poverty level; I expect this concept to be very flawed but an interesting springboard for discussion of how we address the basic needs of our citizenry and the nation—especially in the context of human nature. It would (initially) effectively reduce everyone’s current tax rate (except those who do not pay anything), and could have a “sliding percentage scale” built in to allow for additional tax revenue to be generated WITHOUT breaching the “exceptions” wall (which, I expect, would happen before the ink is dry). This is not a “Herman Cain” idea since it takes into account ALL income. We would be free to honestly discuss corporate investment that is in our NATIONAL interest—channeling incentives for job creation in value-added industries here.

    As my old philosophy professor would say: DISCUSS!

  • Gideon Fraenkel

    On the contrary. Keep the income tax. Keep corporate taxes. Abolish all deductions and credits. No special deals for hedge funds. No more just 15% tax on dividends and capital gains. Investment income should be treated the same way as income for work. Establish steep progressive income tax. It’s not just a moral issues. It is also the only way to raise sufficient revenue to provide the infrastructure and services which stabilize and facilitate development of the economy. During the Eisenhower administrations with 95% marginal tax rates we built the freeways. The benefit to the country was and is incalculable. It was especially good for business for obvious reasons. During subsequent administrations Republicans and Democrats established huge investments in research and education, medical care and housing, EPA and NPR. All supported by taxes and indispensable to the function of a modern economy. For example without publicly supported research there would have been no polio vaccine, no synthetic rubber, no cell phones, no jet aircraft and 19th century agriculture. Nowadays we can’t afford to keep all that up due to inadequate tax revenues. We already see the consequences of reduced taxes and spending. The extra taxes the wealthy would have to pay would be more than made up by the increase in the value of their assets because government expenditures from tax revenues are especially good for and indispensable to business. The Republican’s proposal for low taxes for the rich and limited spending are misguided. What they are not saying is that the services not provided by government will still be needed. They will instead be privatized. That sort of thing didn’t work in the past due to inefficiency, bureaucracy and minimum oversight. Just compare the relative efficiency of Medicare compared to the bureaucracy, inefficiency and run around one gets from private medical insurance companies. Beware the Republican’s proposals. We shall all go down the tubes together. Return to steep progressive income taxes.

  • ELAINE

    WE SURE DON’T NEED ANY INCOME TAX AT ALL US ARE TAXED TO DEATH ENOUGH ALLREADY !!!OUR PRESIDENT IS RIGHT NO INCOME TAX .

  • valszy

    Keep the income tax, make it progressive, eliminate all deductions except interest deduction on mortgage of primary residence, and have a cap on that. Start taxing churches and other non-profits, and cap dependent children at two. Have more children if you like, but only if you can afford to care for them. Then maybe we can afford good education and health care for all as a truly great nation should.

  • rustacus21

    … all understood the “unsavoryness” of taxation, but thought they had the problem solved by attaching a progressive rate monitor, which was defined by income. Fair enuff. What taxes do, however, is create a contingency fund for the nation, to pay for itself! Democracy, like “freedom” (I HATE that cliche, but it’s the only 1 some cognatively challenged Americans understand!!!) isn’t free. It has a price tag of which none of us should complain… EXCEPT when the clever & the criminal are elected or “criminally” inserted into civic government & allowed to loot, steal, bribe & make available, to their criminal “confederates”, all the treasure of the nation they’re able to make away w/. As a Progressive, Liberal nation, we have no business trying to configure conservative “principles” to the mechanical inner-workings of Democracy. They are naturally at odds. Conservatism is about taking “away” from; “reducing”; “lessening”. “Denying”. “Prohibiting”, which are ALL antithetical to the Liberal/Progressive principles, values & VIRTUES inherent to Democracy. The rich & corporations bitch & moan about taxes, so go live in Kenya, China or Vietnam, since those are places they love (to do business) so well! This is America. Lets never confuse this as meaning Liberty, opportunity, equality or, oh yes, the freedom of EXERCISE THEREOF, are negotiable or can be bought or sold. Civic “psychosis” ate Athens from the inside out, b/c of corruption, immorality & institutional injustice! It murdered history’s greatest philosopher (Socrates) b/c of the madness of allowing wealthy elites to “TRY” running a Democracy!!! Patriotic duty commands Patriotic diligence in ensuring America doesn’t turn out the same…

  • dpaano

    I don’t think you realize that income taxes pay for police, security, infrastructure, etc. We HAVE to have taxes paid into our government in order for them to pay for these items. I don’t mind paying my share, but I agree that individuals and corporations who get tax breaks for quite a bit are ridiculous! Those of us who are considered middle income do not have the ability to hire high-priced accountants to “hide” our money so that we don’t have to pay full taxes on it….we need the playing field leveled! We need deductions updated and tax breaks removed, especially for corporations and individuals in the 1%! They need to pay their FULL share just as the rest of us already do.

  • cemab4y

    Taxes are the bill we pay for what we euphemistically call “civlization”. Government cannot exist without taxes. Corporation taxes are not paid by the corporation, only the final consumer of what they produce and sell.

  • Jim Groom

    Before we begin to muck about with the tax code let’s take a look at a major part of the problem. The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. corporations are structuring their business models in such a way to avoid taxes, and that the practice has ‘skyrocketed in the part quarter century.

    In 1986, about 24% of corporations were known as nontaxable businesses–meaning the company themselves did not pay fed income taxes–instead they passed on the earnings to individual investors to pay taxes on. By 2008, these type of businesses accounted for about 69% of all corporations.

    Those yelling about frustration within the business community over the country’s high 35% corporation income tax rate are liars…period! In actual practice big business is paying much less. In fact corporate taxes for non-financial companies have fallen more than 13% since 2007, according to Bloomberg. At the same time the national dept grew to $15.23 trillion.

    Recent analysis of nearly 300 Fortune 500 companies by the Citizens for Tax Justice, the average company paid just 18.3%–a little more than half the official rate. Some like Wells Fargo, Verizon, Boeing and GE used techinques like industry subsidies, stock option packages, moving assets overseas where they can’t be taxed, and in so doing did not pay a single cent in federal taxes in 2008, 2009 or 2010.

    This trickles down to the state income taxes as well. Just last month a another study found that corporate tax avoidance cost the states $42.7 billion between 2008 and 2010.

    Before we start speaking of dismantleing our tax structure perhaps we should begin to correct the fraud taking place before our very eyes. Congress is suppose to be taking charge of such matters, but unfortunately they are just too busy worrying about the uterus and public radio.

  • Jim Groom

    That should have been Take a Deep Breath First. I should have followed my own advice.

  • AliceWM

    I lost my second breath, but thank you for clearing up what “trickle down” REALLY means. It certainly doesn’t have to do with jobs. . . HA

  • rustacus21

    … to believe “capital” is a greater concern over women’s health, a free & uninhibited, NON-Commercial news & information media, are less important than capital & “free-markets” (a curse upon commerce & NOT free to those locked out of the “network”), are the same banal apologists that thought the stolen 5 billion dollars flown – NOT e-transferred (as NORMALLY done!!!) that the wall st. journal failed to report on when it was “HOT” news – from pallets, in Iraq – an unprecedented & totally bone-headed procedure, was just part of the “free-market” at work, have run out of more than breath & cards from the deck! W/out a healthy mother, none of us would be here giving opinion or much of anything else! Similarly, the details of jim crow America, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Reagan admin’s supplying both sides of the Iran/Iraq war, or news coverage telling how the Clinton administration had already been over the Iraq weapon sites – 2, 3 times ea year & found nothing, leaving the choice of war an “option” – NOT a necessity, in response to on fabricated & non-immediate threat. These are ex. of tax dollars well spent, whether its “understood” or not, by all citizens. B/c at some point, there will be, oh, a fire, police/natural emergency, “legitimate” war, or a monumental science breakthru, that will aid ALL humanity – EVEN CONSERVATIVE humans!!! All b/c America was civilized enuff to promote a simple concept as a nations “…general welfare…” So U see, Liberals are brilliant b/c they’re always looking for benefits to ALL – not just “SOME” Americans… Understand, believe & then celebrate the the blessings. Liberals made all this possible & available even for treasonous conservatives – past & present! Some food 4 thought in this current election season…

  • cocosjungle

    Since Reagan invented “Trickle Down Theory,” it has proven only to move money up from the poor to the rich. Hence, it should be renamed to “Flush Up Theory.”

  • LaurenceCVezina

    ronald reagan said every dime of federal income taxes collected goes directly to the fed to pay the interest on the debt period!!! it does not pay for any federal programs what so ever NOT 1 they are all paid for by excise taxes on sales ,gas ect ect. kick the fed out like Andrew Jackson did they are ruining our republic!!!

  • Jim Groom

    In 2011 the Federal Reserve paid the federal government $76.9 billion, the second highest amount in its history. The central bank earned the money from investments made to bolster the U.S. economy. The highest was in 2010, in which the Fed contributed $79.3 billion.

    Part of that decline was due to the insurance giant American Int’l Group paying back a loan early last year, cutting the Fed’s interest earnings. All the recent efforts by the Fed have pushed the banks balance sheet to just over $2.9 trillion, more than three times the size of the balance sheet before the financial crisis began in the fall of 2008.

    The Fed is funded from interest earned on its portfolio of securities. After expenses the Fed dumps the remaining amount into the Treasury Dept. Contrast the last two years with 2008 when the amount was only $31.7 billion.

    Certainly this is a little off the topic of junking income taxes, but certainly of interest to those interested in the financial dealings of our government.

  • e.brucebarnes

    Should we tax individual and corporate income — or something else?

    We should tax individual and corporate income, since wealthy people and corporations pay the most of this tax and it is progressive taxation. It is time to junk payroll taxes. Payroll taxes are regressive. Wealthy people pay the most income tax. 75 % of workers pay more payroll tax than income tax. Workers making less than $106,000 pay the highest percentage of their income in payroll taxes. Cutting the payroll tax will help the economy by giving the average worker more to spend and will make employees cheaper for employers. Cutting payroll taxes will create more demand and jobs. Payroll taxes make American workers and companies non-competitive in the global market place. Now we know that payroll taxes are just like income taxes. They both go into the general fund and Social Security is paid from the general fund. The difference is that all workers and employers must pay into payroll tax but some wealthy people do not.

    Income is not a measure of being rich, net worth is. Taxes should be based on one’s ability to pay, not what one makes or spends. Each person, or business, with the same ability to pay should pay the same tax. We must not tolerate a system in which one family or company pays far more than another with the same income, thanks to all the fine print in the tax code.

    The payroll tax should be replaced with a progressive property tax on net worth of individuals and corporations having a net worth over $1 million. The individual net worth is $58 trillion and according to the IRS, corporation net worth in 2009 was $28 trillion. The top 5 % of individual families has 75 % of the net worth and the top 14,000 corporations have 70 % of corporation net worth. A 2 % property tax on net worth over $1 million will yield more revenue than the payroll tax now.

    A property tax is simple, easy to calculate and enforce, is transparent, and can be collected in 12 ease of payments. Corporations are fake people that can own property, they should be taxed like any other person.

  • KenJ

    I think we all ought to tithe. You, me, Exxon, General Electric, Warren Buffett…
    It seems to work for churches.

  • got2watch4

    I really don’t know, the government, states and cities need tax revenue.I was thinking that what might help is “port and starboard tax’s i.e.people and companies that names start with a,c,e,g,i,ect pay this year b,d,f,h,j ect pay next year. so everyone pays tax every other year instead of everyone paying every year.but no taxing seniors and retired persons.