A New-Found Love and Respect for the IRS
So, proposing an energy plan is easy (well, at least for those of us not in Congress), but the next thing I’d like to see our government do is a little more intrusive.
I know I’ve complained about this already, but I’m convinced that the United States tax code exists solely for the purpose of creating millions of jobs in the accounting industry. I’m guessing that once you pass the test to become a CPA, there’s actually an oath you have to take that makes you swear not to reveal the fact that there is no real logic or reason involved in the method for which ordinary citizens pay the price of public services. After all, once the masses figure out that it is only confusing for the sake of being confusing, then the jig is up.
Right now, we pay tax on income, purchases, property, interest, and just about everything in between. We’re so used to additional charges being added to everything we buy that most of us don’t even look at the bill anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I think having a certain few services paid for collectively is a good thing (sorry, but healthcare is still not on that list). For instance, I think everyone who drives a car should help pay to keep up the roads. But although I can agree that taxes are necessary, what I’d like to see is this…
First of all, I’d suggest eliminating the existing system altogether and moving, instead, to a national sales tax. I’ve put a lot of thought into the flat tax proposal, but to me, I’d personally prefer to shift the focus of taxes away from earnings, and onto spending. I don’t know what the final percentage rate would have to be (I’ve heard estimates everywhere from ten to thirty percent) but I’d rather place a burden on decadence than continue to try to get more blood from the middle- and low-income stones. Yes, the price of consumer goods will go up, but so too will your paycheck since the long list of withholdings will be eliminated. And if necessary, different rates can be assigned to different purchases, with a discount rate given to the essential and basic and an elevated rate to the luxurious and extravagant.
Second, I’d like to take a page from the feudal system of government. Instead of our tax dollars starting at the federal level and trying to make their way back to our individual states and cities, I’d rather have every dollar start at the local level. Each city would be responsible for collecting their local sales tax, then the state would have to tax the city, and the federal government would be completely dependent on getting its money from the state. Imagine if you will, a country where you no longer have to file even a single tax return (let alone three), and where the federal representatives have to justify their needs to each state, not just each other, whenever they need funding.
Now here’s the point where several special interest groups will point out that if this system were instituted, hundreds of thousands of accountants, and revenue collecting agents, will suddenly be out of work. But never fear, I’m not about to throw those hard working individuals out on the street.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the lingering arguments surrounding the problem of illegal immigration is the years of waiting and reams of paperwork that await anyone seeking the legal path. So here we are, all of a sudden left with a glut of detail-oriented people who specialize in scrutinizing over the minutiae of government requirements. Seems like a perfect fit to me. Instead of tax preparation stores on every corner, I foresee walk-in immigration shops. With this new army of I-dotters and T-crossers, getting a temporary work permit should be as fast and easy as obtaining a fishing license. And filing for citizenship could be accomplished while you wait for a pizza next door.
My next move would be to phase the Internal Revenue Service into the Immigration Regulation Service. While the accountants are tackling the mountains of paper, I’d set the IRS agents to work, sniffing out all the U.S. contractors and businesses that for years have unscrupulously profited from the illegal use of immigrant labor. I’d love to see those agents use the same fervor that used to be reserved for persecuting prospective tax cheats now targeted toward the people who’ve made a living out of short-changing people only looking for a piece of the American dream. The use of undocumented workers has been hurting us all and it’s time we put an end to the slavery of the 21st century.
And to make the punishment fit the crime, anyone caught hiring illegal immigrants would get mandatory prison time, in a Mexican prison. Once again, if we can outsource so many other things to foreign countries, I don’t see the problem with paying other nations to house our criminals. Especially in this case, where it would be like putting a member of one gang into a cell full of members of the rival gang, I can’t imagine a more natural and obvious deterrent.
Now I know I’m probably missing a few details here or there. Like I said before, I’m not an economist. But overall I think the strategy is sound. One possible exception might be to have a tax on property to address simple infrastructure needs; however, that tax would be at the complete discretion of the city and individual municipality. Overall I seek simplicity, efficiency, and a logical flow of time and money. Stop punishing people for working harder and make our nation dependent on prosperity, not tethered to mediocrity.