Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taxed enough already

Yeah, yeah, think what you will of all the word associations that have been made recently to TEA Parties, but I count myself among them ideologically. The point I disagree with them on, though, is the "taxed enough" part. I mean, it makes for a catchy acronym, but I think the "enough" bit needs to be fleshed out some. I think it needs to be further nuanced - we need to be taxed fairly. I don't mean that in some hipply, lib, commie way, so hear me out.

I earn a little bit more than the U.S. median income, but because I am married, have three kids and am a homeowner, I actually get a refund on my taxes. Here's the rub, though, I didn't pay any federal taxes. Why do I get a refund? Of course, I'm a hypocrite. Although I'm disturbed by the fact that the government's giving me money for nothing, I willingly take it. In principle, it's wrong though.

So that's what I'm getting at. If we (the big, national we, that is) didn't pay out to folks like me who live at a certain income level and still qualify for refunds, we'd probably lop off a good bit of fiscal expenditures.

The second TEA Party ideology I want to talk about is one with which I'm completely on board: responsible spending. You can go ahead an talk about how bad the Republicans were with spending during Bush's administration and you'd be completely right. For those of us fiscal conservatives, it made us sick to see the fed grow and grow. It hurts people's feelings when we say that we can't or won't provide a service they want or that we have been providing, but the simple truth is that until we get our deficit under control, we have to reign in spending.

Although I won't be out carrying a sign today, I am with my countrymen in spirit.


Andy said...

Cullen, you make a good point about being "taxed fairly." That's why I'm for scrapping the tax code.

Everyone should pay something...even if just a small percentage. But, if we're not going to require that, at least take your suggestion of "zeroing out," and not paying people with no tax liability.

I don't think you're a hypocrite. The tax code is what it is, and honestly, it's always good to get money out of Washington, back into the hands of the citizens...even though it's a convoluted way of doing it.

My optimum would be a consumption tax, even though there are many problems with that.

I'm not much a believer in a flat tax, but it would beat what we currently have. I honestly believe it is immoral to extract over half a person's income in taxes...which is the case for many.

We gotta keep ringing the bell...

Cullen said...

Yeah, it's just not right.

Have you read Neil Boortz's books? I am completley behind the idea of aboloshing the national income tax and instituting a federal sales tax.

This is an explanation of the proposed system.

Andy said...

Yeah Cullen, I've read the fair tax books.

There are a couple of problems with it, but it's preferable to what we have...which truly sucks!

Heroditus Huxley said...

Any type of a VAT will kill businesses, as people start refusing to consume goods and services that are taxed to the point that prices skyrocket. Because there's no way the creeps in power will give up the income tax.

As for the refunds...ours worked out to exactly what my other half and I paid into Social Security and the other social safety net taxes. I have no problem with them giving us back now what's not going to be there for us when we retire.

Cullen said...

That's my one fear with a VAT (though, when it's in lieu of an income tax, I'm not sure it's actually a VAT), that they'll keep raising rates. Given how hard it is to raise a tax now, I still think the system would work better than what we currently have.

Andy said...

Cullen & Hux, you're both right. A VAT in addition to what we have now would be a true disaster.

We have got to scrap what we have, and head in a different direction. I doubt that it will happen, but one can dream, huh?

My memory is fuzzy on the Fair Tax, because it has been a good while since I read the books. But, I think my problems with it were that a statement of income would still be required from wage earners (still have to file a declaration similar to a tax return), and that lower income folks would get a debit card (or something like that..."prebate" maybe) to cover the additional taxes on the necessities of life at the point of sale.

That bugged me. It meant that people would still have to declare to some government agency just how much they made each year. I find that to be a true invasion of our 4th Amendment Right of Privacy.

And, if the plan works as advertised, what would be the need to subsidize lower income folks? Prices would not rise on goods, because the corporate taxes, FICA contributions, Medicare taxes, etc. would be gone. I could be wrong about the Fair Tax stuff, because it has been quite a while since I read it...and I'm getting old.

I know that there are MANY problems with a flat consumption tax, but those things could be thrashed out and fixed.

We've just got to get some serious humans elected to office that will roll up their sleeves and do it.